Group Headquarters

Cambridge District Scout Archive

A group that owns a building as a permanent Headquarters is very well equipped to expand into many more activities than one who rents space. Many of the following are taken from Google Maps.

Over and above the blessings of storage (never enough) is the permission to place a ‘Scout’ imprint upon the space. The following snippets are intended to name the groups that have worked towards this step. It does not include groups provided with permanent space by a school.

Many of these buildings were constructed with volunteer labour, parents , Rover Scouts Crew or occasionally other volunteer bodies outside Scouting. The letter seeking support for building the 11th/9th HQ is directly alongside copies of the Jobsman Badge for the Scouts.

The 1970s were the main point of building. In 1979 the 4th, 11th/9th, 13th, 28th, and 57th were all building or just opened a Scout hut.

Not all fund raising plans end in a building, many such will have faded and been forgotten. The 27th Cambridge were recorded as funding raising for an HQ in 1968, but this did not result in their own building.

4th Cambridge opened 17th September 1977. 50 year lease from 1967. In practice reverted to Guide responsibility after the Scouts closed. Current in use by Guides and Flamsteed Explorers.

Built off Corrie Road/ Rustat Road with the 17th Guide Company this building still stands and is in use by Guides and Explorers. Came to be known as the 4th/17th generating confusion with the 6th/17th Cambridge which sits in Crafts Hill District, an amalgamation of two scout groups and the only one with their old ‘Cambridge’ label. The building was in use by the 23rd for a short period of time.

9th/11th Cambridge

Land adjacent to Newnham Croft school opened on June 21st 1975 by Lt Colonel Harry Mainwaring County Commissioner and one time S/L of 11th/9th. At the time home of 11th/9th Scout Group, 3rd Cambridge Guide Company 30th Brownies. The HQ of the 11th/9th was built for £5000 on the base of a Trust Fund set up by C T Wood, SM 9th, DC, CC (maybe £800). It required significant repairs to the under floor rafters after only 13 years.

12th Cambridge opened 11/6/1962 by J F Colquhon (Koko) Chief Scout Commissioner, at a cost of £3500. At opening £400 was still outstanding.

Impression of the 12th HQ
fundraising activities of the 12th
Diamond plaque dated 1961

Before 1955 and until 1984 the 12th leased land at Riverside Court behind the New Spring (later the Boathouse) and beside the Tivoli (for £13 a year between 1955 and 1969). They built a Boat shed there in 1955/56, costing £180. The first picture is dated to 1955/56 before the Adventurer was sold on.

13th Cambridge

1931  It was during this period the “Notts” legacy became available, and this was used to pay for the Marmora Road Headquarters.

1932 Land purchased in Mamora Road. By December a Rover den is named. Records of the late 1930’s mention a room, two gas lamps for heat, a separate Rovers den.

1958 A new hut was erected on or before 9th May 1958. A price of £202/10/0 ‘erected, complete with ceiling and internal lining’ was quoted but it is not clear that this was accepted. John Chambers and other members of the Rover Crew worked on the building which suggests otherwise.

1960/ 61 A wooden building was erected, much larger than the existing building. The extension of the Marmora Road Headquarters was opened on May 13th, 1961 This new part of the headquarters had already been in use for some months – much of the actual erecting, site preparation, etc., was carried out by John Chambers and his contemporaries (unrecorded hours of extreme hard labour of which few people know). From History of the 13th Rabbitmail.

Rebuilt in 1975 and opened by the Sister of the Nott’s brothers.

16th Cambridge

23rd Cambridge

Originally erected as St James’s Mission Church on Ainsworth Street after the end of Scout use. The building was possibly associated with St Matthew’s Church with which the 23rd were strongly connected. Known to the Scouts as The Ranch House, the interiors may be seen in Structure/ District/ Meeting Places/ Dens and Corners. The rear two windows are from the troop room, shown in these pictures. From the Evercircular letters we have a description of a ‘gas stove and an awful fug’.

From Memory Lane Cambridge Mile Petty

26th Cambridge

Moved in to the new building in 2000/2001

With minibuses

28th Cambridge opened   Nov 1978 by CC Harry Mainwaring. Built on a small old disused allotment in Flamsteed Road. The preliminary work involved removing a den constructed by local boys. Significantly rebuilt in 2014/ 15 with a Council grant on the original frame and concrete base.

29th Cambridge

1956 18th December 50 year lease signed with council at £5 rent/ year. Rodney Ison involved.

1960       East Barnwell’s new scout hall opened Stenesfield Road– 60 05 17 Mike Petty

2015 23rd March Rebuilt on a diminished plot with an entrance on Thoreley Road, new housing and a Section 106 grant funding the new building.

32nd Cambridge (Waterbeach)

Built on what was MoD land in 1973 and extended in the 1980’s, the hut replaced the previous meeting places of the school and the MoD gymnasium. Around this time that RAF left and the Army, who moved into the MoD property, had diminishing involvement. The building was built by Banbury Builders who also worked on the Abington Scout buildings and the 13th Cambridge around the same time. Opened by Hugh Vernon GSL, posted to Waterbeach for a considerable period of time.

44th Cambridge

On reforming in 1947 a Nissan huts style building in Anstey Hall became the HQ. A Scout Hut was built behind the Village Hall, Trumpington in 1957 and the Army Cadet hut alongside also taken over by the Scouts in 1978. These were demolished in 1998 at the end of the lease for which the Group were paying £2 a year.

The hut from contemporary report
Scout hut left, Army Cadet hut right

54th Cambridge

The 54th built a hut which was burnt to the ground in 1988. In a period of huge inflation they secured £300,000 for the land which they had paid in 1981 c.£3000 and, following a slump in property prices, were able to agree the building of a new HQ attached to a local school c. 1996. It has a 125 year lease and with remaining money a flat was purchased which brings in a steady income. It is now the District HQ.

57th Cambridge

The original hut was opened in 1968 and closed 14th September 2019 and the keys to the new building received by GSL Mark Claydon. Officially opened on 26th October 2019. The old building awaits demolition.

2020 Old building (above and top left below) awaiting demolition, 57th now housed in part of the new building, right, built on top of old Guide hut.

Old sign, new Headquarters


Further afield

1983 01 06 Scouts and Guides at Histon and Impington have a new headquarters in the grounds of Impington Hall thanks to a hard-working band of volunteers. In just three days they managed to erect their new building. A former storage hut at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, it had been dismantled and stored until the go-ahead was given for its erection. Scout leader Ian Ross and foreman Peter Collins celebrated with a beer. From Mike Petty Collection Cambridgeshire History Facebook

JWR Archivist July 2019