Cambridge District Scout Archive
Before 1935 Groups within Cambridge Town always had a number, even if it is not used in every document. Cambridge Town was within the town boundaries.
Groups in Cambridge District, that is those outside the town boundaries, were labelled with a number and village name as ‘6th Cambridge District (village)’. At the 1935 division many ex ‘Cambridge District’ groups took their village name either with or without a ‘1st’.
(Troops within Cambridge Town boundaries were ‘Cambridge’, those outside ‘Cambridge District’. This system was used elsewhere.)
More recent naming systems within the current Cambridge District (shorn of the town boundary division) have permitted the use of 1st village rather than 39th Cambridge (Village) – most recently the 44th Cambridge (Trumpington) became 1st Trumpington.
Many villages are recorded locally without a number – the very small village of Lode had only one Scout Group it did not need to be named as 1st Lode. Formal registration documents may name it 1st Lode.
‘1st’ list and ‘village’ list
Two separate lists may be found on adjacent pages. The ‘1st’ list identifies all Groups that have been found with a ‘1st’ or occasionally a ‘2nd’ in formal or erroneous recording. The village list discusses the presence of Scouting in villages alongside a list of known names.
History of changes
The change to location rather than number has occurred for a number of reasons and in a number of phases.
Groups located in the old Cambridge District included what are now Newmarket, Ely, Granta and Crafts Hill Districts. In the very early days even Wisbech was temporarily listed under Cambridge District. Some were founded after the split and have no previous Cambridge Number. Assume the records are incomplete.
‘Cambridge District’ troops were always listed with a location e.g. ‘2nd Cambridge District (Longstowe)’. Some, such as Newmarket before they formed a separate District, were 2nd Cambridge District (2nd Newmarket). Whilst the organisation may have recorded Troops as 56th Cambridge the locality did not need or use more than the name. Cambridge troops within the Town boundaries used sponsors (choirs, schools or churches) as individual markers of affiliation and location.
The move to Groups and the end of ‘District’ category in 1932 was not absolute, a few ‘District’ groups hanging on until the 1935 split of Cambridge District. The 1st Harston Log Books name the 56th Cambridge (Haslingfield) of which it was initially a patrol in 1934, but at some point in 1935 became 1st Harston. Nowhere does it name itself 1st Harston before the close of the log books in 1941. The newspaper cutting of South Cambridge activities lists troops (now Groups) by village name only.
Following the re-adsorption of Mid Cambridgeshire into Cambridge District in 1947 the groups, which had carried no number in Mid Cambs., were given numbers in the ’50’s’
One renumbering, as the boundaries of Cambridge expanded to include Trumpington, brought the response, ‘you may call us the umpteenth Cambridge, we will always think of ourselves as the first Trumpington.’
The other side of the coin is the 6th/17th Cambridge which is no longer in Cambridge District, but Crafts Hill.
JWR Archivist May 2020