55th Group Accounts 1932 – 1940

Cambridge District Scout Archives

The 55th Cambridge account book for the years 1932 (formation) to 1940 is a source of much information concerning a small group.  It was probably initially kept by W T Thurbon, variously ASM, ARL, 23rd Cambridge, the District Secretary for many years, author of the talk Archaeology of Scouting and a careful record keeper.  The information virtually disappears in the second year of the war and the pack was amalgamated with the 12th in 1943.  The end of the troop is not clearly documented.

Note on money: No attempt has been made to alter money into decimal equivalents

Pounds, shillings and pence        written    L.s.d.      ₤1/17/9½            1 pound 17 shillings and 9½d (known as pence)

  • Twelve pence to the shilling, twenty shillings to the pound

Money In

The Group started with funds from the Drill class 4/7 and a small donation 5/5 = 10/- or ten shillings or one half of a pound.

Initially the group raised money through subs and selling scrap metal and rags. This diminished as funds were raised by concerts and parent evenings but returned with need and possibly ready demand and access to buyers in 1939.

  • 1933                                                                           Rags                                   1/4, 2/-, 1/2      
  • 1939                                                                           Rags                                   8/1, +, +, +        
    • waste paper        ₤1, ₤2
      • jam jars                 3/-
      • bottles                   2/1
      • scrap iron             12/4

The troop also made paper flowers which it sold on.

 Subs starting in 1932 with a total of 3d a week it reached 2/- a week in 1937, diminishing in 1939 with a small rebound in 1940.  In 1939 the troop named 18 on the census, subs then being between 9d and 1/2 each week.

A concert raised  ₤6/17/0, a grant from the Cambridge and County Juvenile Organizations Committee for camp ₤1/10/0, a 1934 concert  ₤2/12/6, a scouts own 13/-.

Money Out

Postage                Each post was individually identified and kept to a minimum:  Regular recipients were Scouters Room, Feary and Mallett; letters of thanks and camp bookings at 1½d for letters and 1d for postcards.

Odd items

  • 1 galleon camouflage paint          10/6
  • Moustache                                         6d           (in close proximity to an entertainment)
  • Hire of Football pitch                      3/6

The Troop enabled at least one Scout to buy a uniform over a period of time.  Scarves were purchased and sold at cost 1/3 each.  Although the price rose to 1/6 and in 1940 to 1/9 but the scarf price to scouts remained at 1/3.  Assistance with camp expenses was also provided.

Money from the sale of salvage was passed to the pack, that from other sources was forwarded to charities.


Scout Proficiency Badges, cumulative totals indicating spread over several years

  • Cyclist                                         6                                   2d each
  • Gardener                                  4
  • Metal worker                          2
  • Ambulance                              5
  • Clerk                                           2
  • Reader                                       4
  • T/F, S/C, B/H              tentatively identifies as Tenderfoot, Scout Cord and Bushmans Thong
  • National Service badges                                           3d each     in 1940

The records are Troop centred and do not include Pack badges.

Trek Cart

The troop was refurbishing or building a trek cart.  Some entries were specific ‘bolts for Trek cart 1/-, some less so: ‘car axle and wheels 10/-‘and later ’motor cycle wheels (2) 5/-‘.  Tyres, tubes, tape, paint, hinges, screws spring, wood, draw bar and brackets, appear in one year for ₤1/12/1.

Books, posters and ‘snaps’

Frequent entries suggest that dressing the room was important as were camp reports.  The books are scouting topics and cover both badge work and wider scouting ideas.


  • 1½ lbs. each of sugar of lead and alum for waterproofing tents   3/1½
  • A pyramid tent  This repeat entry suggests that it is a hire price  ₤3
  • 9’ patrol tent                                                                                                      ₤1/17/10

This suggests that they owned some tents but hired other at need

Unclear entries

  • Power Hurricane Lantern                                                                              ₤2/-/-
  • Purchase of canteen for Whitsun camp                                                  12/-
  • and sale of a canteen                                                                                      13/11
  • Rings for lat. Screens                                                                                       3d


The Group met all year round.  

JWR Archivist Nov 2019