Public School Appeal c.1927

Cambridge District Scout Archive

In the latter half of the 1920’s an appeal was made by the Boy Scout Association to Public schools ‘to put some of their senior boys in such a position that on leaving school they could do useful work as Scoutmasters’. This does not appear to have been a factor in the fee paying schools in Cambridge, unless the start of the 60th Cambridge at the Leys School was a late result of the initiative.

Public schools : For a definition of the terms Public School and Private School see Wikipedia.

Reg Ayres of the Leys school an d60th recalls attending Public Schools Scout Course in 1926.

At a Conference of Headmasters in 1932, Lord Baden Powell appealed to all Public Schools to give their older boys some form of Scout training to equip them for public service as scoutmasters. Soon 97 out of 160 schools had formed Senior Scout Troops.’ From a review of Scouting at the Leys dated 1968

From the Leys Archive we also have a Sunday Dispatch c. 1934, clipping that quotes 109 of 173 public schools, as recognized by the Headmasters Association, have active Scouts.

Public Schools ‘Elsewhere’

In following threads concerning individuals named in the Cambridge Scout Archives the archivists of the following schools have provided information about the Troops in their schools. This list will be extended should we receive information from other schools.

Some schools had already started Troops, notably Eton College which started in 1921. Schools that started around 1927 include

  • Radley College                  Troop started April 1928
  • Charterhouse                    Troop started 1927         
  • Winchester                        Troop started 1927
  • Fettes                                  No troop
  • Lancing College Group started 1933
  • Abingdon School Troop started 1948 (the school magazine reported town Scout trips)
  • Gresham Troop started 1929 (previously ran from 1914 – 1916?)

Radley College The digital records of Radley College contain the proposal by a student in 1909 that a Troop be formed for members of the OTC too small to carry a weapon. In 1913 it was proposed by another, unnamed, student that Air scouts be formed.

Eton College               Troop started 1921. This date was located whilst researching this page. No direct links to Cambridge Scouts have yet been located.

Winchester College Professor Patrick Duff, County Secretary, is not recorded as returning to his school in 1927 to support the foundation of the Troop. His brother J F Duff did on at least two occasions. Born in 1901 Professor Duff was no longer at school when the troop was in existence.

Abingdon School Robert d’Almaine, Deep Sea Scout on the Moronel, attended the school. No record of his being a Scout in the town.

Many of these schools have placed some or all of their school magazines online.

Cambridge Schools

These histories stand in direct contrast to the fee paying Perse School, Cambridge whose headmaster in 1908, Dr Rouse, invited BP to the school to speak and invited other interested bodies in Cambridge to attend. The Perse had a Troop later that year which ran for 100 years before altering to the very successful, in house, Perse Exploration Society. Dr W.H.D. Rouse (1902-28) introduced experimental teaching methods, notably the Direct Method of teaching foreign languages and attracted attention and talented teachers. The school flourished.

The other large fee paying school in Cambridge, The Leys, opened a Troop in 1933, registered through the District in 1937. It is possible that an independent troop not attached to the District Association was in existence in 1909/1910. The Stephen Perse Foundation, larger than the Leys, was for many years the Perse Girls School.

It should be clear that many local authority schools had Scout Troops and Groups from very early days. The 12th Cambridge started from and their HQ remains close to one such school. This page concerns the Public School Appeal as a later and separate initiative.

1935 Cambridge At the split of Cambridge District into South, East, West and Cambridge Districts the largest of these was the new Cambridge. The groups within this district were split into three; one subset of only three of the twenty one groups comprised the school groups, 5th Perse, 7th County, 60th Leys. These large troops were overseen by ACC Macfarlene Grieve who was long involved with the Perse troop and a teacher at the Perse. The 5th and 60th were fee paying schools. The specific thinking behind this selection has not yet been located.

JWR Archivist Jan 2020