Traditional Scout Uniform

Cambridge District Scout Archive

This photograph was taken in 23rd April 1967 at the Scouters home address.  It is not labelled ‘the last outing’ but the date, location and slightly stilted pose all suggest that it was taken purely for that reason.   It is certainly one of the last outings of the uniform hat.

This is the last form of a uniform that gently changed over nearly 60 years.  The leaders uniform had gently moved closer to the Scout uniform, first at camp, increasingly in public. The tunic shirt disappeared and a more uniform ‘Scout’ style became the expected norm. The home dyed army surplus working shirt was no longer seen.

Some changes had already been introduced following WW2.  Berets were introduced as an option, initially for Senior Scouts, and the three cords were reduced to one.  Long trousers became an option for Senior Scouts and Rovers in 1961. Some Scouters, writing during this period, did not mention the new options. Newsreel reports do occasionally catch both new and old styles but the old forms predominate on film.

The Advance Party report of 1966 made many recommendations some of which concerned this traditional uniform. The bulk of the recommendations were adopted in 1967. 

See General History/ Uniforms/ Scout Hats and Berets and General History/ Uniforms/ Scout Shorts

Whilst Ken North of the Cambridge Scout Shop was very concerned about the cost of the new uniform during this year the cost of the traditional uniform and in particular the hat, was high. The traditional optional items, haversack, staff/ thumbstick, cord at belt or axe, were no longer to be worn.

The image of the traditional uniform was a clear concern for the Advanced Party report.  They commented ‘wearing of shorts is one of the most damaging aspects of our present public image’.  

The wearer, Donald Beard, Cub Master of the 8th Cambridge (Romsey), had been a Scout for at least 18 years having originally joined the strong 23rd Cambridge.  He became one of the last Kings Scouts. He joined the 8th in the early 60’s and after it closed he is said by his family to have gone on to ‘Wesley’ (presumably 19th) and then ‘Victoria Road’ (presumably the 14th).

JWR Archivist Feb 2021