Note: Based on some of our findings and the belief that Groups were numbered in the order they were formed, it is more than likely that there was an earlier Group called the 6th that closed prior to the formation of this 6th Finchley.
The earliest records found that relate to the 6th Finchley is a photograph of the Cub Pack camping in Worthing and, the census return for 1923 showing a Pack of 19 boys and 2 Leaders. Mr Isaacs is noted as being the Cub Master and William Kelsall his assistant. A year later the number of boys had risen to 24 but the 2 Leaders were now Mr & Mrs Isaacs. There are then more photographs of the boys camping at Stanmore during 1925.
There is no evidence to identify a founder of the Group although it is known that they were affiliated to St Mary at Finchley.
During 1926 the Troop gets started (or restarted, as stated in the District annual report), and by the end of September there were 14 Scouts and 2 Leaders, with Stewart Campbell as the Scoutmaster. The Group Scoutmaster was H Arthur Miller and reference to their meeting place, opened in March, is made in the Group’s annual report, which states ‘the first Group Den was above a slaughterhouse in Albert Place, Finchley’.
The Cubs had a good year and won the sports trophy. By now Miss Race had arrived at the Group and had taken over as the Cub leader.
Equipment for The Den was provided by a Group Committee, and this Committee evolved into a seemingly tireless Ladies Committee who organised fundraising events. An early Jumble Sale raised the sum of £12.10s.
Three weekend camps were held during 1927 together with a summer camp in Guernsey. The Scouts entered the sports competition in June but with such a young membership did not feature. District officials made the following comment in their annual report – ‘the Troop is now in a very flourishing condition’.
The ladies committee continued their fundraising work and a successful Bazaar was held in December that was followed in the evening by a Camp Fire Sing Song.
The fundraising continued into 1928 and the Ladies Committee organised Whist Drives, a Sale of Work (which had raised £35.00), a Rummage Sale and some Dances. However, there was always something that needed money to be spent, and with the Troop being £20 overdrawn and appeal for funds was made and some older Scouts sought jobs.
The Group held a successful summer camp in Looe, Cornwall and the Group continued to grow. The census figures for the year reveal that the number of Cubs was 20 and the number of Scouts was 26.
In December the Group turned their hand to entertainment and put on a show that involved all its members. Positive press reviews were published in the 3 local papers; Finchley Press, Finchley Times and the Hendon Times.
It is not known exactly when Khaki and Maroon became the official colours of the Group scarf but photographs up until 1929 would suggest that a different combination was being worn.
A Fish and Chip Supper had become a tradition with the Group and 1929 began with one of those occasions. It followed a visit from the London Rover Commissioner who gave an inspired talk to the Scouts and several other leaders from the District, including Dr Killingback, the acting District Commissioner.
The year continued with a Whitsun camp at Rickmansworth followed later by another at Stanmore that was styled in the form of an inter-patrol competition. The Cubs were not to be outdone and also went camping, but the location is not known.
The Group continued to grow with the number of Cubs being 30 and the number Scouts being 28. They both entered their respective sports day; the Cubs at Woodhouse School and the Scouts at Christ College playing fields, but neither did particularly well.
The main event of the year though was the World Jamboree held at Arrow Park in Birkenhead. District records show that Finchley joined forces with Hendon and Golders Green to send a contingent of 50 boys under the leadership of Mr E Tuck the District Scoutmaster. However, the 6th Finchley records say that their Group sent 20 boys, so it is not known if they were included in the 50 or managed to go as a separate contingent.
What the Group lacked in finances they certainly made up for in enthusiasm, with 1930 being one of their busiest years. The Troop managed a staggering variety of activities; camps, hikes, Fish and Chip suppers, a debating union and football to name a few. Not to be outdone, the Cubs were also kept busy with their programme including a display of country dancing!
After an Easter hike their focus was on the Scout and Guide week at the end of April. This was a joint event being run by the two organisations at a local level to stimulate more interest. Events were held every night of the week and culminated in a fair at the Saturday. The 6th were in action on the Monday taking part in a concert at the Victoria Hall, The Cubs performed ‘A catastrophe in Shadows’ and the Scouts performed a humorous playlet entitled ‘A man in a bowler hat’.
In May the Troop were declared the winners of the Cadogan Shield, a point based competition to determine the best Troop of the year. A celebratory supper followed.
At Whitsun the Troop camped at their regular Stanmore site and in June entered the District Sports. This proved more successful than on previous occasions finishing in fourth place. A few weeks later the District organised a Scout Rally and the Scouts gave a gymnastic display. It was then off the Jersey for their summer camp.
After the summer break extra activities included their own swimming gala, but with a difference, such as an obstacle race and one where the boys swam in their pyjamas and had to complete a length of the pool with a lit candle. And, in November another show that comprised of sketches and short plays.
1931 was another good year for the 6th, if only because they secured a new permanent home as their headquarters. The Group completed negotiations with the local Council and moved from above the slaughterhouse to the old stable block at Avenue House. When the owner, Henry Charles (Inky) Stephens, son of the inventor of the famous black ink died in 1918 he bequeathed Avenue Hose to the people of Finchley. It opened in 1928 nearly 10 years after his death with the stable block finally being made available to the Scouts. This really came just at the right time, with the number of Cubs having reached 30 and the number of Scouts up to 41.
It was converted by the Scouts themselves at a cost of £75 with the upstairs room being used as the Scouts Senior Troop Den: a ‘home from home’. £50 of the money was lent by St Mary’s Church and the Group set about raising the money to repay the debt.
In March another show was put on; ‘A performance of Plays’ which included ‘A catastrophe in Shadows’ and ‘A man in a bowler hat’ both having been performed during the Scout and Guide week the previous year by the Cubs and Scouts respectively.
The Seniors went hiking as usual over Easter, this time around Ewelme in Oxfordshire. Later in the month they attended the annual St George’s day parade and anxiously awaited the news as to who had won the Cadogan Shield. It was the 10th Finchley, although the 6th were the runners up.
For summer camp the Troop divided itself between Juniors and Seniors and the Juniors went to Bognor. However, the Seniors were more adventurous and embarked upon a tour of Switzerland. A full report of their expedition appeared later in the press.
In December the Group held another fundraiser that provided enough money to repay the Church. An ‘All British Bazaar’ was organised by the ladies committee and was opened by the film star Miss Dodo Watts. The ladies looked after the stalls selling a number of different items and the boys looked after numerous sideshows. Later in the evening Dance was held.
More to follow
To view associated photographs and press cuttings click here.