Incorporated Church Scout Patrols

Cambridge District Scout Archive

This belt, held by Cambridge District Scout Archive Collection and part of the John Chamber’s donation, records the short lived Incorporated Church Scout Patrols.  The organization was formed in March 1909 attached to the Church Lads Brigade and absorbed back into the Church Lads Brigade in 1913/ 1914 when it became Church Scout Patrols. The intention was that the Scout section was for younger boys and that they would move up to the CLB. Nationally 520 ICSP’s were recorded, one in Canada.

In 1912 a CLB Training Corps was introduced nationally for younger boys. It was to effectively replace the ICSP. This is not recorded for either Cambridge ICSP church.

The ICSP camped, as the CLB had done before Scouting, and carried out Scouting activities. They differentiated their Scouts with different badges and most obviously hats turned up on the left side in the Australian slouched hat style.

Johnny Conn of the Church Lads Brigade has completed a history of the ICSP and from his data base we know of eight patrols registered in the Diocese of Ely. The numbers given are for ICSP not CLB, the initial S and .0 differentiates between the two.

S.0116St Gregory/ St Peter, Sudbury< 14/1/1910
S.0128Potton Beds1/2/1910
S.0158St Mary Hadleigh11/4/1910
S.0299St Matthew Cambridge25/2/1911
S.0405S Cuthbert Beds19/3/1912
S.0425Ramsey & Bury Huntingdon28/6/1912
Johnny Conn

Thirty of the fifty Patrols between late 1912 to early 1913 (S.0455 and S.0504) are unknown, St Luke’s possibly amongst them. The known pictures of the St Luke’s Patrol in the County Archives are dated 1912 and show what appears to be a fully kitted troop of 20 in camp. The date of the photograph may be wrong, or the troop sprung largely complete and active from the existing CLB.

St Luke’s

All the information concerning St Luke’s ICSP comes from one set of photographs labelled as such in the Cambridgeshire Archives. It does not appear on central list compiled from original sources by Johnny Conn. The list is complete for the given dates of the photograph. There is no mention of an ICSP or CLB for these years in the book One Hundred Years in a Cambridge Parish that concerns St Luke’s although the formation of a CLB in 1917 is recorded.

From ‘100 years in a Cambridge Parish’ a history compiled by Canon Tibbatt (1974) St Luke’s initially had a Boys Brigade which became a Church Lads Brigade in 1917. This was, from other indirect entries, possibly not a direct shift. CLB was held to be much better than Scouting. The Church Council discussed taking on Scouts from (the) school around the same date. The school was possibly the Harvey Goodwin school which was later to become Harvey Goodwin home, or maybe the St Luke’s church school. Both are mentioned in the history. The CLB was generally listed in St Luke’s parish magazine as CLB Cadets which may suggest the younger age group (above), but they camped with other companies on an equal footing at this date which suggests otherwise.

St Matthew’s S.0299

No local information concerning St Matthew’s ICSP is known.

  • St Matthew’s registered as 14th Cambridge B.-P. Scouts in 1910 and nothing more is known of the troop.
  • By November 1911 the 14th number was attached to St Columba’s, a B.-P. Scout Troop.
  • St Matthew’s registered as an ICSP in February 1911.

The surviving parish magazines start in 1912 – but with no local Scout or CLB news of any sort. The Church ran a youth club from Nov 1913. It went on to host the very successful B.-P. Troop / Group from 1917, the 23rd Cambridge, at which time the Church was also hosting  a ‘Lads Club’.

JWR Archivist Feb 2023