Early establishment support

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The spontaneous adoption of Baden Powell’s proposals by boys and girls is the springboard of its success.  However, the early support for the movement by adults from the traditional establishment institutions is marked. 

These pages are not considering the Scout masters – the weekly facilitators and tutors, but those who were willing to offer their (good) name and time to the background planning and fundraising for the movement.

The support was probably initiated for many reasons.  ‘The Establishment’ is not a unified body of thought but rather a collective agreement to work towards their individual ends in a formal manner. 

The involvement of the Boys Brigade (see page on BB in Sections) was likely to be with an eye to Boys Brigade needs; that of the schools and in particular Dr Rouse of the Perse a genuine interest in a new form of educational development; that of the Colleges, through the Deans and Masters, both a longer term appreciation of the benefits of Scouting and a professional interest stemming from their individual areas of expertise. 

The steady involvement of the Police, often well beyond a watching brief or steering hand, is interesting.  The potential to reach boys that were outside the established catchment of the Churches was probably a strong reason to support the movement.  Boys Brigade, Church Lads and Sunday Schools were all from the same root, Scouting was a fresh growth. 

The Military involvement clearly carried negative associations post WW1 and in general a concern about over military tone to the movement is debated from the start . A closer examination of the Military men involved gives some depth to this debate.

Whatever the reasons each brought to the table they did not snipe from afar but were willing to be associated with the movement.

The representatives of institutions are easier to locate, at a centuries remove, than the individuals that sat alongside them whose worth was solely their own.  E O Church, a local worthy involved in several charitable bodies and an active supporter for many years, was not attached to any one institution and details of his life are hard to find.  Further work on these supporters is required.

1944 District Secretary (later Professor) Patrick Duff wrote of attending a High Sherriff Assize Luncheon and sitting between Lord Lieutenant R G Brisco “whom I last saw at a scout meeting” and the Vice Chancellor “who is County President”.

JWR Archivist Apr 2019