A Year to Remember

Every now and then an event, whether National or Scouting (either nationwide or locally), has resulted in members of the Movement in our District undertaking an activity that remains in the memory for many years.

Although some of these events, where applicable, have been mentioned elsewhere within our history project we are highlighting them below with additional information from the archives, press cuttings and photographs.

1908: Start of Finchley Scouting and publication of 'Scouting for Boys'

1951: Uganda Scouts visit Finchley

1951 will be remembered as the year that a Patrol of six Uganda Scouts visited Finchley and were given the ‘Red Carpet’ treatment.

The six Scouts – Paul Okene, John Ntimba, Patrick Naluswa, Samuel Odak. Mohamed Kyakonyo and Ikrum ul Haq – upon their arrival in Britain, spent a short time in in Cheam as the guests of Archdeacon E A Bawtree (Scout Commissioner for Uganda), who was on holiday there.

They were then brought to Finchley where they were cared for and entertained for 10 days prior to attending a 10 day International Patrol Camp at Gilwell Park.

The visit was extensively covered by the local press:

The visit began with a reception at Finchley Lodge, where they were provided with a tea and introduced to the families who they would be staying with while in Finchley, namely Mr & Mrs Brunt, Mr & Mrs Maynard and Mr & Mrs Hepworth. They also met the six Finchley Scouts – B Nally from the 7th Finchley, C Arnold from the 11th Finchley and B Beasley, K Burren, D Martin & A Shrimpton, all from the 10th Finchley – who had been selected to represent the District at the International Camp and were to act as a Host Patrol by accompanying the Uganda Scouts on some of the planned events.

On Sunday afternoon the visitors had a trip to London to see a number of famous landmarks. With Acting Scoutmaster Crouch of the 6th Finchley as their guide the sites included St Paul’s Cathedral, The Bank of England, the Mansion House and the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey).

On the Monday afternoon a Reception by his Worship the Mayor of Finchley (Councillor W J Enright JP) was held at Avenue House (now Stephens House).

 

 

 

 

 

During the Uganda Scouts’ stay in Finchley, in addition to the 6th Finchley visits were also made to the 2nd, 4th, 10th, 15th, and 18th.

 

 

After the camp finished on Saturday 1st September the Scouts returned to Finchley where they camped at the District Camping Ground before returning home.

The District AGM report for the year included a brief report of the event together with the ‘Thank You’ letter that had been received from the Chief Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of Uganda:

 

1957: 50th anniversary of Scouting

1957 was not only the Jubilee of Scouting but it was also the centenary of Robert Baden-Powell’s birth.  In line with the Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’ Finchley District spent several months ensuring that they were well prepared, having planned various events to sit alongside those that took place country wide.

In addition to the usual weekly meetings, camps and the District sporting competitions the events that ensued during 1957 certainly made it a Year to Remember.

 

During the afternoon of the 22nd February, the 100th anniversary of Baden-Powell’s birth there were local services of thanksgiving and in the evening there was a National Service held at Westminster Abbey. All the events received plenty of press coverage.

 

 

During the week of the 25th February to 2nd March the Scout Groups of the District opened their doors to the public. They hoped that many parents and other interested parties would pop along to one of their meetings to find out what the Cubs and Scouts got up to during their weekly meetings. The local press gave a brief report of some of the activities witnessed by the visitors.

 

After the successful open meetings the next event on the busy calendar was the exhibition, held at the Youth Hall in East Finchley. This proved to be well presented and again well received by the local press.

 

 

 

 

 

Three notable events took place during June. The first was the presentation of the Silver Acorn to Cyril Allen, the District Commissioner, at Finchley Lodge. He had been honoured with the award in the St. George’s Day honours list and had attended the Windsor parade, but was going to be away at the time of the national ceremony. 

The second was the completion of the floral tribute by the local council, situated on the Glebe Land close to Finchley Open Air Pool. And lastly, a special Camp Fire that was held at Camping Ground, that was now officially known as Frith Grange.

 

 

During July Finchley hosted an official visit by a contingent of Jamaican Scouts prior to their departure to Sutton Coldfield for the 9th World Scout Jamboree.

However, prior to their expected arrival two other smaller events occurred. First was the creation of a Camp Chapel at Frith Grange. It was consecrated by Rev W A Kerr during a short ceremony attended by about 40 Scouters and friends.

The second event, on the 17th, was the naming of a locomotive after the Chief Scout, Lord Rowallan. 20 Scouts provided a Guard of Honour for the Chief at Euston Station, 7 of whom were from Finchley – John Garside (5th), Alan Hall (5th), Roger Carter (6th), Victor Courtice (20th), John Davison (20th), John Kernot (20th) and Keith Bill (12th).

The Jamaican Scouts duly arrived, but were four days ahead of schedule due to the fact that their ship hit a reef eight miles off the coast of Bermuda and the remainder of their journey was completed by air.

 

A small number of formal events had been arranged for the Jamaicans, allowing them enough time to do some sight-seeing and to use the Open Air Swimming Pool which had been made available for them to use free of charge.

The first formal event, by invitation only, was the official welcome by the Mayor of Finchley, which took place at Moss Hall School on Saturday the 20th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the Jamaicans’ visit prior to the Jamboree the Liechtenstein contingent of 40 also stayed in Finchley, although for a much shorter period of time. They were specifically guests of the 10th Finchley with whom they had a special relationship following the introduction of Scouting to their country in 1931. The party was led by Prince Emanuel of Liechtenstein, their Chief Scout, and included three other princes, one of whom was Hans Adam the 12 year old Crown Prince and now (2024) the ruling Prince of Liechtenstein. The local papers provided several articles, all very much saying the same thing.

Although their stay was short a visit was made to Avenue House where the Mayor gave them an official welcome to the Borough.

 

 

As for the Jamboree itself, 13 Scouts from Finchley under the leadership of Trevor Hodges, SM of the 7th Finchley, represented the District. They set off on Monday 29th July and the contingents from Jamaica and Liechtenstein departed on Wednesday 31st. More information about this can be found in the section Jamboree Journeys.

However, it is worth mentioning here that, to coincide with the start of the Jamboree and as part of the Jubilee celebrations, the Post Office issued a set of 3 commemorative stamps. The Scouts at the Jamboree were able to send ‘First Day Covers’ with a choice of differently designed envelopes.

 

 

No further information can currently be found that relates specifically to events that may have taken place, either nationally or locally, as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

1958: The Chief Scout's visit

It is not very often that the Chief Scout honours your District or County with a visit, so when such an occasion occurs it could be considered a ‘Red Letter Day’ and one that would hopefully always be remembered.

On Saturday 7th June 1958 Lord Rowallan made such a visit. This was for the benefit of the Scouts of London (North West Area) made up by the Districts of Finchley, Finsbury, Golders Green, Hampstead, Hendon, Holborn, St Marylebone and St Pancras.  The event was held at Hendon Aerodrome, now the site of the Grahame Park housing estate and the RAF Museum; although no longer ‘operational’ it was at the time still in the hands of the RAF.

The event, organised by Stan Bennett the Assistant County Commissioner, took the form of a Rally and incorporated a number of displays and demonstrations by each of the Districts.

 

 

 

After the introductions and a review of the parade the Chief Scout ascended to the control tower balcony and gave an address to all those present. He then toured each District’s display area.

 

 

 

According to the local press – “The afternoon provided a unique entertainment for hundreds of visitors and demonstrated the strength and character of the Scout Movement, now entering its second half-century of life, with telling effect.”

1964: Creation of Finchley and Friern Barnet District

April: Five North London Groups join Finchley to form the new District “Finchley and Friern Barnet”. They are later joined by the 6th East Barnet from Hertfordshire District

1976: Cub Scout Diamond Jubilee

During 1976 Cubs celebrated their 60th birthday and a special badge was produced for each boy to wear on their uniform.

The theme for the year was adventure and throughout the year Headquarters issued ideas for eight projects that they hoped would enable every boy to experience more adventurous Cub Scouting.

While it was up to the Cub Scout leaders to deliver, the ADC’s responsibility was to enthuse and encourage, and to try and make sure that every Cub had the same opportunity to celebrate.

Thanks to a scrapbook kept by Barbara Warren, the ADC at the time, we are able to provide below details of the eight projects and two special District events that took place.

It should be noted that all these activities ran alongside the regular Pack, Group and District events that normally took place each year.

 

The eight projects were:

The Adventure Day was the first of the two events organised by Barbara Warren and her team. More than 400 Cubs, Scouters and helpers joined in the fun with the event receiving plenty of press coverage:

The second District event was a visit to the theatre. More than 350 Cubs filled the Mermaid Theatre to watch a performance of ‘The Point’, staring Wayne Sleep and Bernard Miles.

It is hoped that all the Cubs from our District will have happy memories of the Jubilee year and were able to tick off each achievement on the 8-Link card they were issued with.

2007: Centenary of Scouting

2008: Creation of Barnet Borough District

Barnet, Finchley Friern Barnet & Golders Green and Hendon & Edgware Districts are amalgamated to form one District which covers the whole of the London Borough of Barnet

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