District overview & the Groups

If you’ve got any information or photos that we could add, please get in touch.


Much can be found on the Internet about how Scouting started, Baden-Powell, Brownsea Island and ‘Scouting for Boys’. However, it is not currently clear as to exactly when the District of Finchley started.

In 1908, the year after B-P’s famous camp, ‘The Scout’ a penny weekly magazine was first published. This provided an important link for the rapidly increasing number of boys who were banding together to form Patrols of Scouts. By 1909 the Movement had taken firm root, with more than 11,000 Scouts attending a Rally at Crystal Palace.

The Boy Scouts Association was formed in 1910, in order to provide a national body in the United Kingdom which could organise and support the rapidly growing number of Scout Patrols and troops. It also enabled Baden-Powell to wrest control of the Scout Movement which was under the influence of his book publisher.

There is evidence that shows that the sequence of events mentioned also took place in Finchley. A letter states that in 1909 a local committee, that became Finchley Local Association, was formed to help the spread of Scouting amongst Finchley boys. This was done in the knowledge that activities had started in the area the previous year. 1909 is therefore considered to be the official year that our District was formed.

A newspaper article in 1909 mentions the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Finchley and in 1970 David Powell, an ex member of the 81st North London (2nd Finchley), donated the following two photographs of Finchley Scouts camping in 1909:

Finchley Scouts camping in 1909

In 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 Finchley and Hendon.

Thanks to Ivan Oakes we have a copy of a Leader’s Warrant issued in 1910 to his grandfather, Edward Oakes. A copy of this Warrant is here, and pictures of him camping on Brownsea Island along with some other photos can be seen by clicking here.Leader warrant

It is also known that as Groups were formed they were given the next sequential number. This is because, when the 10th Finchley started in 1914, they were advised that numbers 1 – 8 were already being used and number 9 was reserved for a Group that was about to start at St. Luke’s. To slightly muddy the waters it is noted that when the 15th Finchley started in 1919 they were originally known as the 15th Finchley & Hendon.

Following the news that the County boundaries were to change in 1965 and the creation of Greater London North County Scouts, arrangements were made for 5 North London Groups in the Friern Barnet area to join Finchley. In order for them to retain some of their own identity and common link they were to be renamed as the 1st – 5th Friern Barnet.

As a result the District was renamed Finchley and Friern Barnet and a new Warrant was issued by headquarters. On the 1st April 1964 when the Groups moved from North London their designated numbers were allocated according to their seniority. Therefore the 94th NL became the 1st FB, the 186th NL became the 2nd FB and so on.Finchley & Friern Barnet District warrant

A short while later the 6th East Barnet that was in Hertfordshire District also transferred and became the 6th Friern Barnet.

In 1971, as a result of some more restructuring within the County, a few Golders Green Groups joined and the District became Finchley, Friern Barnet and Golders Green.

Over the years several Groups have gone through stages of only having Cubs or Scouts and others have closed, only to be reopened later. The table below shows the Groups/Units that were known to have, at some time, been members of Finchley, Friern Barnet and Golders Green District. 

We are currently building information on as many Groups as we can. If there is nothing showing for the Group in which you are interested, please check back in a while.

If you’ve got any information or photos that we could add, please get in touch.

It should be noted that in 2008, when the District merged, only a handful of those mentioned below still existed.

1st Finchley 2nd Finchley 3rd Finchley 4th Finchley 5th Finchley
6th Finchley 7th Finchley 8th Finchley 9th Finchley 10th Finchley
11th Finchley 12th Finchley 14th Finchley 15th Finchley 16th Finchley
17th Finchley 18th Finchley 19th Finchley 20th Finchley 21st Finchley
22nd Finchley 23rd Finchley 24th Finchley 25th Finchley 125th Finchley
1st Friern Barnet 2nd Friern Barnet 3rd Friern Barnet 4th Friern Barnet 5th Friern Barnet
6th Friern Barnet
1st Golders Green 2nd Golders Green 3rd Golders Green 4th Golders Green 6th Golders Green
8th Golders Green 10th Golders Green 11th Golders Green
1st Finchley Air Scouts Finchley Sea Scouts
Avenue House VSU Speedwell VSU Whetstone VSU
Avenue House Service Team

The following table currently shows membership numbers for the District from 1921 – 2000. Please note all figures have been taken from the census returns apart from:

  • 1925 & 1937. Figures have been taken from the AGM Reports with leader numbers included with the sections. For 1937 there are an additional 94 members marked as ‘crew’ who are not included.
  • 1939 – 1942. No figures can be obtained.
  • 1988 – 2000. All figures have been taken from the AGM Reports.

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