The 16th Finchley was an Open Group sponsored by the Methodist Church in the High Road, East Finchley. An article on the church website states that they started in 1923 when the Rev. R D Moore was the Minister, but there are entries in the District census that show the Group as being active in 1921 and 1922. In 1921 there were 10 Cubs with one leader and 39 Scouts with 4 leaders and in 1922 there were 20 Cubs with 2 leaders and 37 Scouts with 3 leaders.
Meetings initially took place in the school hall but in 1923 moved to ‘The Annexe’, a hut built, as a temporary structure, next to the church for use by both the Scouts and Guides.
The Group scarf was green and yellow and according to the church records among those first connected with the Group were Mr. Waterfall, Mr. Marland and Miss Dora Griffiths. As the movement progressed so changes in the officers took place and for some time Mr. H. Bone and Miss Dora Griffiths were Cub Master and Assistant, while Charles Griffiths, Harold Gregory and Arthur Casburn became the leaders of the Scout Troop.
The church website also provides a number of different leaders associated with the Group but it is not clear as to when they held office, with some being before those recorded by the District. However, the 1924 census states that there were 26 Cubs and 36 Scouts, and it is also known that Harry Price was in charge of the Cubs with Dora Griffiths as the Assistant, and Harold Gregory was the Scoutmaster and Leonard Farrell the assistant.
During the next 2 to 3 years number fluctuated and again there were changes in the leadership team. In 1926 there were 27 Scouts and 23 Cubs and in 1927 Dudley Japes replaced Harry Price as the Cub Master, who had taken over as the Scoutmaster.
In 1928 the Scouts came second in the District Cross Country and in that year’s census they are recorded as having 6 Rovers along with 27 Scouts and 34 Cubs. The Rovers though appear to mainly consist of those that were also assisting with the sections, without warrants, but listed as Assistants by the church. Their leader is noted as Harold Gregory.
By 1929 numbers had dropped to 4 Rovers and 9 Scouts, and although the Cubs were down to 18 they managed to jointly win the inter pack competition with the 6th Finchley meaning that they held the trophy for 6 months.
In May 1930 the District approved warrants for Mr A J Jackson as Scoutmaster, Mr H K Boon as Assistant Scoutmaster and Mrs Maud Potter as Assistant Cub Master, who later became the Cub Master.
In July 1930 the Cubs won the Lady Peat Trophy at sports day and later won the inter pack competition outright. The church also records the Cubs having many ‘many happy evenings and excursions; with tracking and other cub ventures on Saturdays’. They also state that an annual concert was held and the boys assisting at Church functions, such as sleeping in the School Hall guarding the Bazaar “valuables”!
The Scout’s summer camp at Birchington is also recorded and the fact that many of the boys gaining their cooking badge, in continual torrential rain. Members of the Troop at that time included Dick Keen, Harry Batson, Arthur Notini, Dick Ranson, Don Harris and Ron Loveland.
Over the next few years the District records the Group as making steady progress and the church continues to note changes to the leaders. Firstly with Harry Price becoming the Scoutmaster with Mr Jackson and Stanley Farnell being assistants, and then Harry Price becoming the Group Scout Master with Mr Jackson stepping up as the Scoutmaster only to be later replaced by Leonard Farnell. Secondly, with Alec Nevols taking over as Cub Master from Maud Potter who is then succeeded by Miss P Harris and later by Arthur Notini.
In February 1938 Leonard Farnell was appointed the Group Scout Master and a few months later, as part of a round-up of Groups in Finchley, the press report the 16th as having been largely reconstituted and all three sections going ahead strongly.
In June the Group took part in the ‘Good Turn Rally’ that was held at the Camping Ground. This event was held to raise money for the Boy Scouts’ Fund, opened as a national tribute to the work of the Chief Scout, Lord Baden Powell, so that for all time Scouting would be financially secure. The Group’s contribution in the arena was an item called ‘Scouting with Good Queen Bess’.
Unfortunately the following year, upon the outbreak of war, the Group found it necessary to close down.
However, in September 1945 the church reported that it was a happy day when Mrs West restarted the Cub Pack and attended their first parade service, saying how good it was to see ‘The old green and yellow scarf about again’.
A few months later Arthur Notini returned from the forces, having served on a French submarine, and took over as the Cub Master again, travelling from Cheam each week to undertake the role. A celebratory party was held in April 1946.
More to follow.