2nd Finchley (81st North London)
This article is about the 2nd Finchley (81st North London) Scout Group although it was not always known as such. The Group originally started life as simply the 81st North London but by 1914 it was also known as the 3rd Muswell Hill.
The Group was founded by Mr H G Sommerfield and, as they celebrated their 21st birthday in 1931, this is believed to have happened in 1910. Their meeting place is thought to have been “The Better ‘ole” in Red Lion Hill, East Finchley. The colour of their scarf was Royal Blue with a Yellow border.
For many years it would have been impossible to mention the Group without making reference to Robert Fouracre, who was the long-time Scout Master (SM) and Group Scout Master GSM). He had initially been an Assistant with the Tollington School Troop (54th North London) but transferred to the 81st in 1914 and became their leader in 1915.
At some time before 1921 the Group joined Finchley District, and because there was already a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Finchley, became the 5th Finchley (81st North London). The census return for that year states that there were 30 Scouts with 4 leaders and 20 Cubs with 2 leaders.
By 1922 the number of Scouts had dropped to 17 and the
number of Cubs had increased to 30, but within a year the Group had merged with the existing 2nd Finchley and was operating under the name 2nd Finchley (81st North London) with Robert Fouracre named as the SM. Following that merger the Group numbers were 5 Rovers, 27 Scouts and 30 Cubs.
At this stage it should perhaps be pointed out that, apart from information in the District Census returns for 1921 and 1922, we have no other information about the original 2nd Finchley Scout Group. The records show that in 1921 they had 38 Scouts and 48 Cubs and in 1922 17 Scouts and 30 Cubs. A Mr Emerson was listed as the Scout Master.
Other than the census figures, which remained healthy, there is no other information about the Group that relates to events or activities over the next couple of years. However, in 1926 there is reference to a summer camp in Aberystwyth, and a number of other weekend camps at various sites.
During 1926 there were also some changes to the leadership. Mr Lamb resigned as the Cub Master (CM) and was replaced by Mr J Furness with Mr Crow as his assistant. A Mr Thomson also joined the Group as an Assistant Scout Master (ASM).
The 1927 Swimming Gala was entered by only 2 Troops, with the 2nd beating the 10th by a very small margin. During 1928 it was announced that the Troop had also won the Cadogan Shield for 1927.
The Group’s success continued in 1928 with the Cubs winning the Lady Peat Shield at their Sports Day and the Scouts retaining the Clarke Shield at the Swimming Gala. The District AGM report for that year stated that the summer camp was held near Plymouth and, in addition to a number of other weekend camps, the Group had a full programme of dances, whist drives and musical plays. At that time there were 18 Cubs, 43 Scouts and 8 Rovers. And, to cap off the good year the Cadogan Shield was retained.
Information relating to 1929 and 1930 is again a bit sparse although there is a note that says that the Scouts won the Swimming Gala again during October 1930.
During 1931 Robert Fouracre took on the role of GSM and three more ASMs were recruited: Mr A Swan, Mr G Edsen and Mr L Schofield. Summer camp was held at Hartfield, Sussex, and the Scouts won the Swimming Gala again.
There is no record as to how the Group celebrated their 21st birthday although the District AGM report stated that a birthday scheme was launched to build a new headquarters on land in New Trinity Road, to replace the existing meeting place that the Group had to leave.
Early in 1933 Robert Fouracre, whilst cycling from his home to Scouts, was involved in a traffic accident. He was taken to Finchley Memorial Hospital but sadly died a few hours later from his injuries. The accident, funeral, memorial service and obituary were covered by the local press and ‘The Scouter’ magazine.
A month later the Scouts won the District Cross Country and, during the same month Mr Thomson became the GSM. A couple of months later ASM warrants were approved for J O’Hare and D Whitton.
The Scouts continued to work on the new headquarters throughout the year but found time in October to try to prove their dominance in the swimming pool for a seventh year in a row. However, on this occasion they could only manage 2nd place, with the 10th Finchley winning the Clarke Shield.
The only facts known for 1934 are that Charles Lilly became the GSM and at the time of the census there were 11 Rovers, 20 Scouts and 22 Cubs.
1935 was a mixed year for the Group. At the start of May, in addition to taking part in the District events surrounding the King’s Jubilee, some of the boys also sold programmes along the procession route in aid of King George’s Jubilee Trust. They received thank you letters from Edward, Prince of Wales.
Summer camp was held at Beaulieu in Hampshire but there are no details.
In September it was announced that V C Hite, a Rover Scout, had been awarded the
Gilt Cross for his act of bravery in August, when he rescued a boy from drowning.
The census figures at the end of September showed that there were 11 Rovers, 24 Scouts and 17 Cubs. They also show that there were 3 Scouters looking after the Troop but it is not known who they were. Although R Peach and F Richter had warrants approved in June, it is not known which of the previous leaders had left.
The District’s AGM report reveals that the building of the new headquarters is still not complete and that the Rovers are to do more, enabling the Scouts to concentrate on activities and badges.
In October the Scout’s won the Swimming Gala once more.
It is not clear as to exactly what happened with regard to the Cub Pack over the next few months. Following the marriage and departure of their CM (J Furness) the Pack was disbanded. This was despite the fact that there appeared to have been assistants who could have taken over as the Akela.
Apart from the Groups contribution at the opening of the
Camping Ground, where the Rover Crew gave a display of tumbling and gymnastics, there is no other mention of the Group during 1936. In fact nothing else is reported until October 1937 when the Scouts jointly won the Swimming Gala with the 10th Finchley, and then in December when the Group’s new headquarters was finally opened.
In March of the following year the Scouts won the Cross Country, beating the 12th Finchley by 2 points. In June they took part in the Good Turn Rally, to raise funds for the Boy Scout Fund, with a Physical Training demonstration. And, in September the census shows that apart from the GSM there are 9 Rovers and 2 more Scouters looking after 26 Scouts.
The last noted record, prior to the start of the War was that John Denyer, having previously been a Scouter with the 9th Finchley, became the new SM.
More to follow