Cambridge District Scout Archive

Telephones predate Scouting but the use of telephones by the Cambridge District Scouts has a slower history.

District Archives

1939    Heinz Resinger, an Austrian refugee brought with him a plan for the emergency call out of Scouts in Vienna.  In discussing the proposals it was assumed that phone ownership was lower in Britain than on the Continent.  The plan relied on a few phones and individual messengers branching out to contact 3 or 4 others. It did assume a high level of people being ‘at home’, and did not discuss work or other commitments.  However, in the proposal the example given was a gathering on the evening of the following day.  This plan was not put into practice.

1963    As late as 1963 the District enquired of Headquarters about the possibility of having an entry in the telephone directory.


1928 The newly purchased HQ in Grafton Street had a telephone installed in this year.

1932 Cambridge had 35 public telephones at this date. The one in Mill Road Baths had the number 27 although other phones in Cambridge at this date had three and four figure numbers. (I recall private numbers of four figures in Colchester, a town of similar size, in the 1960’s.)

1950    The Guildhall ‘Borough of Cambridge’ had only recently moved to a five figure telephone number and had ‘five lines’.

1952    The Guildhall, now ‘City of Cambridge’, had moved to ten lines

1962 IHQ had six lines

1963    Planned to place Boy Scouts in the telephone directory.  Discussed with HQ and later inserted an entry. This appears to be distinct from having a ‘phone installed.

c 1966 As a Wolf Cub and Cub Scout I recall making a call from a public phone box as part of the ‘Star’ or Arrow tests. I knew the mechanics but do not recall if I had ever done so before. It stands in contrast to teaching, as per badge requirements, the use of a mobile phone to Cubs well after they were very well acquianted with and increasingly owned such items. The pace of this social development was far ahead of the sluggish review of badges at this time.

Increasingly entries are found in records to announce that e.g. SM J Smith is on the ‘phone. 

1979 Following change of address ‘no telephone for 2 – 3 months’, being the time before installation.

JWR Archivist May 2019