Around the Campfire

A century of Boy Scouts and other youth organisations

Scout Scoutmaster Woodcraft Folk Tent Boys' Brigade and Boy Scouts parade
Photos copyright © Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge; Glasgow University Archive Services; the National Co-operative Archive; and the University of St Andrews: these are links to larger images.

This month we celebrate the centenary of the Boy Scouts, and also highlight other youth organisations. The Boy Scouts were established as an organisation in 1908 by Sir Robert (later Lord) Baden-Powell (1857-1941), a cavalry officer and hero of the Boer War (1899-1902). Baden-Powell found his training manual Aids to Scouting, 1899, being used by church youth organisations such as the Boys' Brigade, and he was vice-president of the Boys' Brigade in 1903. It was in July and August 1907 that Baden-Powell held the first scout camp on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, and in 1908 he published the hugely successful Scouting for Boys, which inspired the formation of scout troops. By 1910 there were 100,000 Boy Scouts in Britain, and the movement has since established itself around the world.

Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes (1858-1945) founded the Girl Guides in 1910, and Lady Baden-Powell (1889-1977) was leader of the world Girl Guide movement from 1918. Specialist groups were also formed, including Sea Scouts and Air Scouts. A team of Scouts was recruited for the final voyage south by Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922), on Quest in 1921-1922.

We are also highlighting collection descriptions relating to other youth organisations: the Girl Guides, the Boys' Brigade, the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade, the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, and the Woodcraft Folk. And there are links to related websites.


  • Boy Scouts Association: this collection comprises of correspondence regarding the steam yacht Discovery, expedition ship to Robert Falcon Scott's British National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904. In 1936, ship was given to the Boy Scout Association as a training ship.
  • St. Mark's Church Stambermill and Lampeter Scout Troops: St. Mark's Church Stambermill Scout Troop was founded by Alfred Morris (1894-1971), later Archbishop of Wales.
  • Oxford University Scout and Guide Group: the first university scout club, founded in 1919.
  • Cambridge University Scout and Guide Club: formed in 1953, following the amalgamation of the Girton College Guides and Cambridge University Rover Scouts Crew, founded in the 1920s.
  • University of Birmingham Scout and Guide Club: founded in 1929.
  • City of Oxford and District Boy Scouts Association: papers 1908-42, including the the Sea Scouts committee, 1935-46
  • Caernarfonshire County Herb Committee: formed at the University of Wales, Bangor in 1942 by representatives of various organisations interested in the medicinal use of herbs and plants, particularly in wartime; this included the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides.
  • Durham University Library: albums including photos of Boy Scouts.
  • Norman Mooney (born around 1904): a patrol leader in the 2nd Orkneys Scout Troop and served as cabin-boy on Quest.
  • Thomas Corbett (1895-1977): Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth and Empire, 1945-1959.
  • Joseph Ross (died 1967): Ross was Organising Officer and Deputy Camp Chief of the Boy Scout Association in Central Provinces (Madhya Pradesh), India.
  • Patrick Wall (1916-1998): MP and keen yachtsman; worked with the City of Westminster Sea Scout and Sea Cadet organisations, and the London Sea Scout Committee.
  • James Marr (1902-1965): a patrol leader in the 1st Aberdeen Scout Troop and served as cabin-boy on Quest; later returned to the Antarctic as a marine biologist.
  • Richard Burdon Haldane (1856-1928): statesman, lawyer and philosopher; Baden-Powell discussed the scouting movement with Haldane when he was Secretary of State for War.

Other youth organisations

  • Eliza Orme (1882-1975): school teacher and missionary in North India; collection includes photos of Girl Guides.
  • Katherine Mary Briggs (1898-1980): studied folklore; involved in training Girl Guides and Brownies.
  • Youth Movement Archive: papers of the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, founded in 1920; and papers of the Woodcraft Folk, which broke from the Kibbo Kift was established as a separate organisation in 1925.
  • Co-operative Press Photographic Collection: includes photos of youth organisations such as the Woodcraft Folk.
  • Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade: formed in London in 1895.
  • Paton and Dingwall familes: Dundee families involved in the Boys' Brigade, the first such national organisation for boys, founded in Glasgow in 1883.
  • George M. Cowie (1902-1982): St Andrews press photographer whose collection includes images of Boy Scouts and the Boys' Brigade.

Related links

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