5th Cambridge: Perse

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The Perse school plays a very important role in the start and the early years of Cambridge Scouting.

Dr W H D Rouse, headmaster 1902 – 1928, hosted Baden Powell when he came to talk in Cambridge. Many others were invited from across Cambridge by the organising committee. The Perse founded one of the first Scout Troops following this meeting and Dr Rouse became co chair of the early Cambridge District.

An innovator and enthusiast he had a reputation for questioning established ways and was active in devising new methods in education. His ‘Direct Method’ of teaching languages gained financial support from the Government. His direct involvement did not persist beyond the first few years but Scouting was taken up by a number of long term teachers, perhaps most notably MacFarlene-Grieve.

A full history of the first fifty years has been compiled by the school, taken verbatim from, the school magazine entries. The first record in the magazine in Dec 1909 gives ‘Nearly 40 of our junior boys have joined Baden Powells ‘Boy Scouts’. They were camping by December 1910 at Houghton Island.

Items from the record have been used to illustrate the site. This lengthy record names, many leaders, boys and activities.

The considerable task of compiling the second fifty years from school records has not yet been tackled although many small pieces about the 5th Cambridge (Perse) Scouts have been pulled from District archives. They do not yet make a single history.

Selected and photographed by the local Field Commissioner, Mr. R Herbert a composite Patrol from the 5th was shown in January 1953 Scouter. Internal Perse commentary on the event was ‘at least no one will be able to say these Scouts were idealized.’

See also Structure/ University Scouts/ The Cairngorms Weather Survey 1953

JWR Archivist Sept 2020