A History of Scouting in Barnet Borough

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Although Barnet Borough Scout District was only formed in 2008, Scouting begun here 100 years earlier.

There were three Districts that came together to form Barnet Borough District: Barnet; Hendon & Edgware; and Finchley, Friern Barnet & Golders Green.

You can click here for a more detailed history of Finchley, Friern Barnet & Golders Green.

If you’d like to produce something for the other former Districts please get in touch.

1908 – 1965

1908

First record of scouting in Finchley

1909

The Finchley Scouts were specially selected by headquarters to give a display of their work at South Kensington in connection with an entertainment and ball, to the junior branch of the Navy League.

1910

Following the establishment of The Boy Scouts Association, Headquarters provided the Finchley Local Association with a Warrant to manage Scouting within the District detailed Hendon and Finchley.

1920

Finchley and Hendon split districts

Scouting in Middlesex

This green and leafy suburban area of north west London was nearly all in the Scout County of Middlesex until 1965.

“Since the beginning of things, Middlesex has striven to play the game of Scouting as it should be played. Giving happiness, new experiences, new skills, a love of out-of-doors, loyalty, courtesy, and self discipline to thousands of boys, through the devotion of generations of Scouters.” By 1954 there were over 21,000 members in the County.

Scouting in the County of Middlesex

In 1922 the first Middlesex Training Ground at Waxwell Lane, Pinner, was inaugurated. This ground was rented, as were its successors at Hillingdon, Harrow Weald and Stanmore and it was not until 1945 that a permanent home for training was acquired by the purchase of a Training Ground at Elstree.

“Here at Elstree, Training Courses are held at regular intervals for Scouters in each section of the Movement – Cubs, Scouts and Rovers – and somewhere between a dozen and two dozen Scouters give up a whole week or perhaps four weekends of their precious time to come to Elstree to camp as their Scouts do, to attend lectures, to make notes for future reference, to learn practical Scouting and all the many things that will help them in the running of their own Groups.” This is a reference to the Wood Badge training scheme which leaders still undertake to this day.

1930

Edgware District Association is born, replacing a prior Harrow sub-district

1936

Then a part of the Finchley Boy Scout Association, Frith Grange Camp Site is opened. It has been a place for camping and Scout activities for over 80 years and today plays a key role as our District headquarters. You can read the campsite history here.

Frith Grange in full action with the site badge

District events

Edgware District St. George’s Day Parade c.1960

At District level competitions and events were organised for a smaller number of Scouts. Similar to what we do now, there were annual competitions for camping, hiking, handicraft, sports and swimming galas. There were also 5-a-side football competitions, soap box derbies for Rovers, bulb-growing and singing competitions for Cubs, and a couple of boxing tournaments for Scouts!

District Sports Day 1961

In the Harrow & Edgware District Groups would regularly compete to test various Scout skills to obtain the District Flitch. The names were carved over 10 pages of leather. Did your Group make it? Read the full list here.

1965 – 2008

1965

The London Scout Council was set up replacing the former Scout Counties of London, London over the Border and Middlesex. In its place were seven new Scout Counties, including our County today of Greater London North.

From the 1st of April what is our Borough today was then composed of three Districts: Barnet, Hendon & Edgware and Finchley, Friern Barnet & Golders Green. Some of the old competitions continued, as well as new ones being introduced.

1973

Stepping Out: the first of five District Shows presented yearly by the Finchley, Friern Barnet & Golders Green District

1976

The County Maypole competition started for Venture Scouts, a night navigation event via car.

1981

The Chiltern 20 Challenge Hike is launched. This continues to be an annual event for Scouts, followed by the Southern 50 Challenge for Explorers and Leaders.

Badges of our former three Districts (1965-2008)

2008 – present

2008

September: the three Districts amalgamated to form the new Barnet Borough Scout District

Our first District Commissioner is Charlie Rowell

2012

District Group Camp: Diamond Jubilee

2015

VE Day 70: Beacon lighting event at Frith Grange

2016

Promise Renewal event held at Frith for Queen Elizabeth IIs 90th birthday

80 Years of Frith Grange

2017

Frith Activity Day: Tracey Smith becomes our second DC

Barnet Mayor David Longstaff thanks former DC Charlie Rowell and welcomes new DC Tracey Smith (2017)

2018

District Camp at Tolmers: Barnet at the Movies theme

Remembrance Centenary: Special event at Frith; Explorers at Westminster Abbey service

2019

‘Save Frith’ campaign begins against plans from developers to build 6 storey flats along the border of the campsite.

Final Fireworks at Frith

An aerial photo sent to Barnet councillors

2020

Our members have supported us and got involved in campaigns and local council meetings to stake our objections. The development is going ahead but we have secured small changes, such as a wall of trees against the boundaries.

Global pandemic and national lockdowns sees scouting at home

Barnet Bulletin launches, our district newsletter

2021

Barnet Challenges launched for scouting at home

Virtual St George’s Day event over video call

2022

District Camp: Through the Decades at Gilwell

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee: Delegation at Trooping the Colour; Jubilee Garden Party at Frith

2023

First Squirrel Drey in the District opened at 8th Hendon (St Mary’s)

Coronation Garden Party at Frith, in celebration of Charles III

First District Fun Day at Frith

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    Discover more:

    Our photo archive

    Our newsletter archive

    How the face of the District website has evolved

    Finchley, Friern Barnet & Golders Green District history

    Scout Groups in Edgware

    The history of Scouting in London

    The history of Scouting in the UK (The Passing Years factsheet)

    Look up your local Scout Group, because you’ve got a safe, practical community who will encourage and support you.'
    Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls