|Brownsea Island Scout camp|
|Founded||1 August 1907|
- Brownsea Island Scout Games
- Brownsea Island Significance To Scouting
- Brownsea Island Camping Scouts Badges
The Brownsea Island Scout camp began as a boys' camping event on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, southern England, organised by Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell to test his ideas for the book Scouting for Boys. Boys from different social backgrounds participated from 1 to 8 August 1907 in activities around camping, observation, woodcraft, chivalry, lifesaving and patriotism. Recognised as the world's first Scout camp, the event is regarded as the real origin of the worldwide Scout movement.
The Brownsea Island Camp is often called the first Scout Camp and Baden-Powell referred to it as a Scout Camp. This is sometimes contentious as the boys weren’t Scouts, they had not made their promise, but they were scouting by trialling the activity programme. Appropriate, since their audience consisted of 17 participants in the Scout reservation’s popular first-year-camper program called Brownsea. It’s named after Brownsea Island, the site of Robert Baden-Powell’s first experimental Scout camp in 1907. As the skit continued, Jeff Bedser looked on with amusement and approval.
Up to the early 1930s, camping by Boy Scouts continued on Brownsea Island. In 1963, a formal 50-acre (200,000 m2) Scout campsite was opened by Olave Baden-Powell, when the island became a nature conservation area owned by the National Trust. In 1973, a Scout Jamboree was held on the island with 600 Scouts.
The worldwide centenary of Scouting took place at the Brownsea Island Scout camp, celebrating 1 August 2007, the 100th anniversary of the start of the first encampment. Activities by The Scout Association at the campsite include four Scout camps and a Sunrise Ceremony.
- 2First scout encampment
- 3Campsite history
Robert Baden-Powell had become a national hero during the Boer War as a result of his successful defence of the town of Mafeking, which was under siege from October 1899 to May 1900. The Mafeking Cadets, made up of local boys aged 12 to 15, acted as messengers throughout the siege, and had impressed him with their resourcefulness and courage. Baden-Powell had also published a number of popular books on military scouting, including Aids to Scouting for NCOs and men, published in 1899. Though written for non-commissioned officers, it became a best-seller and was used by teachers and youth organisations. In the years after the war Baden-Powell broached the idea of a new youth organisation with a number of people, including William Alexander Smith, founder of the Boys' Brigade, with whom he discussed setting up a Boys Brigade Scouting achievement. To test his ideas while writing Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell conceived of an experimental camp, creating a program to take place on Brownsea Island during the summer of 1907. He invited his lifelong friend, Major Kenneth McLaren, to attend the camp as an assistant.
First scout encampment
Site and camp organisation
Baden-Powell had visited Brownsea Island as a boy with his brothers. It covers 560 acres (2.3 km2) of woodland and open areas, and features two lakes. The island perfectly suited his needs for the camp as it was isolated from the mainland and hence from the press, yet was only a short ferry trip from the town of Poole, making for easy logistics.
Baden-Powell invited boys from different social backgrounds to the camp, a revolutionary idea during the class-conscious Edwardian era. Eleven came from the well-to-do private boarding schools of Eton and Harrow, mostly sons of Baden-Powell's friends. Seven came from the Boys' Brigade at Bournemouth, and three came from the Brigade at Poole & Hamworthy. Baden-Powell's nine-year-old nephew Donald Baden-Powell also attended. The camp fee was dependent on means: one pound for the public school boys, and three shillings and sixpence for the others.
The boys were arranged into four patrols, designated as the Wolves, Ravens, Bulls and Curlews. It is uncertain if 20 or 21 boys attended the camp. At least four authors list attendance at 20 boys, and that they were organised into five patrols with Baden-Powell's nephew Donald as camp orderly. These sources included an article in The Scout (1908), Sir Percy Everett in The First Ten Years (1948) and Rover Word (1936), and E. E. Reynolds in The Scout Movement (1950). In 1964, William Hillcourt added the fourth Rodney brother, Simon, in Two Lives of a Hero, bringing the total to 21. This evidence was supported by the oldest Rodney brother, then the 8th Baron Rodney. The reasons why Simon Rodney was not listed by the other authors is not clear, but evidence that he was present and the 6th member of the Curlews Patrol, was recounted by scouting historian Colin Walker.
As this was the first Boy Scouting event, the boys did not have uniform shirts, but they did wear khaki scarves and were presented with brass fleur-de-lis badges, the first use of the Scout emblem. They also wore a coloured knot on their shoulder indicating their patrol: green for Bulls, blue for Wolves, yellow for Curlews, and red for Ravens. The patrol leader carried a staff with a flag depicting the patrol animal. After passing tests on knots, tracking, and the national flag, they were given another brass badge, a scroll with the words Be Prepared, to wear below the fleur-de-lis.
Each patrol camped in an army bell tent. The camp began each day with a blast from a kudu horn that Baden-Powell had found in the Somabula forest during the Matabele campaign of 1896. He used the same kudu horn to open the Coming of Age Jamboree 22 years later in 1929. The day began at 6:00 a.m., with cocoa, exercises, flag break and prayers, followed by breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Then followed the morning exercise of the subject of the day, as well as bathing, if deemed necessary. After lunch there was a strict siesta (no talking allowed), followed by the afternoon activity based on the subject of the day. At 5:00 p.m. the day ended with games, supper, campfire yarns and prayers. Baden-Powell made full use of his personal fame as the hero of the Siege of Mafeking. For many of the participants, the highlights of the camp were his campfire yarns of his African experiences, and the Zulu 'Ingonyama' chant, translating to 'he is a lion'. Turning in for the night was compulsory for every patrol at 9:00 p.m., regardless of age.
Each day was based on a different theme: Day 1 was preliminary, day 2 was campaigning, day 3 was observation, day 4 for woodcraft, day 5 was chivalry, day 6 was saving a life, day 7 was patriotism, and day 8 was the conclusion. The participants left by ferry on the 9th day, 9 August 1907. The camp cost £55 two shillings, and eight pence; after the boys' fees, and donations totaling £16, this left a deficit of just over £24. The deficit was cleared by Saxon Noble, whose two sons Marc and Humphrey had attended. Baden-Powell considered the camp successful.
Legacy and commemoration
Following the successful camp, Baden-Powell went on an extensive speaking tour arranged by his publisher, Pearsons, to promote his forthcoming Scouting for Boys, which officially began the Scout movement. It initially appeared as six fortnightly installments, beginning in January 1908, and later appeared in book form. Scouting began to spread throughout Great Britain and Ireland, then through the countries of the British Empire, and soon to the rest of the world. A reunion of the original campers was held in 1928 at the Chief Scout's home at Pax Hill in Hampshire.
A commemorative stone by sculptor Don Potter was unveiled on 1 August 1967 by the Hon. Betty Clay née Baden-Powell, younger daughter of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. It is located near the encampment area. There is also a small bust of B-P outside a wall of Brownsea Castle, flanked by two large information posters, and beside it is a copy of B-P's footprint.
In May 2000, twenty trees were planted, one for each boys who attended. During the planting ceremony, the Scout Chief Commissioner for England, along with representatives of the Scouts and the Guides, planted the trees on the seaward side of the original site. The trees were designed to act as a permanent memorial to the camp, as well as providing a series of future windbreaks against coastal winds.
From 1927 to 2000
After the death of owner Charles van Raalte in 1907, his wife Florence stayed on Brownsea until 1925. Mary Bonham-Christie bought the island at an auction in 1927. In 1932, Bonham-Christie allowed 500 Scouts to camp there to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of scouting, but shortly afterwards she closed the island to the public and it became very overgrown. In 1934, some Sea Scouts were camping on the island when a fire broke out. Mrs. Bonham-Christie blamed the Sea Scouts, although the fire did not start where the Sea Scouts were camping. The fire engulfed most of the island, burning west to east. The eastern buildings were only saved by a subsequent change in wind direction. Although it was not known how the fire started, Scouts were not allowed to camp on the island again until after Bonham-Christie's death in 1961. Her family becoming liable for inheritance tax on her estate, they put the island up for sale. Interested citizens who feared that the island would be bought by developers helped raise an endowment, and in 1962 the government allowed the National Trust to take over management of the island in lieu of the death duties.
The island was reopened to the public in 1963 by Lady Baden-Powell when it came under the control of the National Trust. She planted a mulberry tree to mark the occasion. The Trust has continuously maintained the island since then as a conservation area. In 1964, 50 acres (200,000 m2) near the original campsite were set aside for Scout and Guide camping. In 1973, a Jamboree was held on the island for 600 Scouts from seven nations, along with one of the original campers, then aged 81.
The National Trust maintains the Scout and Guide campsite, South Shore Lodge and the Baden-Powell Outdoor Centre where members of Brownsea Island Scout Fellowship and Friends of Guiding operate a small trading post. The Baden-Powell Outdoor Centre was opened on 14 September 2007. It contains a new camp reception, and new washroom facilities. The centre also hosts a small Scouting museum. The campsite is compartmentalised, with the memorial stone, shop, flags, and destination signs all in one area on the south-west corner of the island. Radiating off from this centre are many small camp zones, about a dozen acres each, surrounded by trees and fences. The area set aside for camping now covers 50 acres (200,000 m2) and there is room for between 300 and 400 campers on the site.
St. Mary's Church, located on the island about 0.2 miles (0.3 km) from the camp, posts Scout and Guide flags at the approach to the altar. In 2007, to coincide with the Scouting centenary, about 40 new kneelers or hassocks were given to the church, decorated with the 21 World Scout Jamboree badges and other Scouting, Guiding and island badges. The church is often used for services during large camps.
Brownsea Island is generally open to the public from March to October, via ferry from Poole. The island was reserved for Scouts and Scouters on 1 August 2007 during the Sunrise Camp. The National Trust operates a number of events throughout the summer months including guided tours, trails, and activities in the visitor centre.
Centenary of Scouting
Since March 2006, travel packages have been available for Scouts to camp on the island, and Scout and Guide groups can also book day activities. To celebrate one hundred years of Scouting, four camps were organised on the island by The Scout Association during July and August 2007:
Brownsea Island Scout Games
- The Patrol Leaders Camp, ran from 26 until 28 July 2007, was the first of the four camps and involved Scouts from the United Kingdom engaging in activities such as sea kayaking.
- The Replica Camp was a living history recreation of the original 1907 camp on Brownsea Island, which ran from 28 July to 3 August 2007, parallel to the other camps.
- The Sunrise Camp (29 July to 1 August 2007) hosted over 300 Scouts from nearly every country in the world. The young people traveled from the 21st World Scout Jamboree in Hylands Park, Essex, to Brownsea Island on 1 August 2007 for the Sunrise Ceremony. At 8:00 a.m., Scouts all over the world renewed their Scout promise, with a focus on making the world a better and more peaceful place.
- Finally, the New Centenary Camp (1 – 4 August 2007) hosted Scouts from both the United Kingdom and abroad, celebrating the start of the second century for Scouting. Scouts from all backgrounds and religions came together to show the world that peace is possible in the same way that Baden-Powell brought together boys from different classes for the first camp back in 1907.
- ↑'The Siege of Mafeking'. British Battles.com. Retrieved 7 July 2006.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑Boehmer, Elleke (2004). 'Notes to 2004 edition'. Scouting for Boys. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-280547-9.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 3.03.13.2Walker, Johnny. 'Brownsea and its significance - The world's first Scout Camp'. Scout and Guide Historical Society. Retrieved 3 July 2013.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑Jeal, Tim (1989). Baden-Powell. London: Hutchinson. p. 385. ISBN0-09-170670-X.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Brownsea Island Ferries, Poole Quay'. Brownsea Island Ferries Ltd. 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 6.06.16.26.184.108.40.206.76.86.9Woolgar, Brian; La Riviere, Sheila (2002). Why Brownsea? The Beginnings of Scouting. Brownsea Island Scout and Guide Management Committee (re-issue 2007, Wimborne Minster: Minster Press).<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'B.-P.'s Experimental camp on Brownsea Island'(PDF). The Scout Association. 1999. Retrieved 11 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 8.08.1Beardsall, Jonny (2007). 'Dib, dib, dib... One hundred years of Scouts at Brownsea'. National Trust Magazine. No. Spring 2007. pp. 52–55.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 9.09.1Walker, Colin (2007). Brownsea:B-P's Acorn, The World's First Scout Camp. Write Books. ISBN1-905546-21-1.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 10.010.110.2'Brownsea Island'. Scouting Through History. US Scouting Service Project. 1947. Retrieved 10 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 11.011.111.211.311.4'The First Camp'. thescoutingpages.org. Retrieved 11 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 12.012.1Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys, part VI. Notes for instructors. London: Pearson. pp. 343–346.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Betty Clay 1964 - 1984'. Spanglefish.com. Retrieved 15 July 2014.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑The inscription on the Stone reads:'This Stone Commemorates the experimental Camp of 20 boys held on this site from 1–9 August 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell later Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell Founder of the Scout and Guide Movements
- ↑Walker, Johnny. 'Potter, Donald Steele. 1902 - 2004'. Scout Guide Historical Society. Retrieved 3 July 2013.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Brownsea Island - History question'. Scouts Archive. Retrieved 11 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 17.017.1'Isle of Purbeck - Brownsea Island'. Isle of Purbeck Trust. Retrieved 11 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 18.018.1'A history of Brownsea Island'. National Trust. Retrieved 9 November 2014.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Camping'. Brownsea 2007. 2007. Archived from the original on 17 May 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Brownsea Island Scout & Guide Camp'. Brownsea Island Organisation. Retrieved 7 July 2006.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑Nigel, Lloyd (2004). St Marys Church, Brownsea Island Visitor Leaflet. Brownsea Island: St Mary's Church.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Opening times'. National Trust.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 23.023.1'Scout island focus of celebration'. BBC News. 21 March 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑ 24.024.124.224.324.4'Events'. Brownsea 2007. 2007. Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Scouts in centenary celebrations'. BBC. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑Harper, Alison (1 August 2007). 'From small camp to global phenomenon'. BBC. Retrieved 4 August 2007.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
- ↑'Scouting's Sunrise'. World Organization of the Scout Movement. 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2013.<templatestyles src='Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css'></templatestyles>
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Brownsea Island Significance To Scouting
MILESTONES to Scouting was originally chosen as the title for this series of articles to demonstrate that there was no single event that can claim to be the starting point for Scouting. It must be remembered that the Brownsea participants were not Scouts in the true sense of the word - they had not taken the Law and the Promise.Some did go on to become Scouts, but others did not join when eventually the opportunity was presented, preferring to remain in the Boys' Brigade or their School's Cadet Corps. All of the original participants that left any sort of written record seem to agree that what happened on Brownsea was very special and stayed with them throughout out their lives.
Baden-Powell was 50 years old in 1907. He had achieved world-wide fame as 'The Hero of Mafeking'. He had toured Britain extensively and spoken to a wide range of audiences about his ideas of using Army Scout training to motivate what he saw as disaffected youth. He had involved other youth organisations - notably the YMCA and the Boys' Brigade. He had a populist publisher waiting for the drafts of his latest book, which was a revision, designed especially to appeal to the young, of his army manual Aids to Scouting. He had the support of the great and the good throughout the land. What he did not have was practical experience in working with young people! True, his ideas had worked on Army Scouts. The Mafeking Cadets were, in the main, much younger and though inspirational were not trained by Baden-Powell. As far as boys of 'scout age' were concerned, B-P only had the word of others, young and old alike, that his ideas would work. Now he needed to find out for himself.
Brownsea Island Camping Scouts Badges
DURING a fishing holiday in May 1907 at Knocklofty in Ireland, B-P had met Mr and Mrs Charles van Raalte. They got on very well and invited B-P to visit them in their London home or at their castle on the 500-acre Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset.
As a boy, B-P had sailed in Poole Harbour with his brothers and made illegal landings on Brownsea Island's private beaches. It seemed to him to be the ideal place to conduct his experimental camp. On his return to London, B-P wrote asking for permission, and was sent back van Raalte's recently-published little booklet about Brownsea. Yes it had everything he needed, particularly isolation. He wrote,
'I was anxious to get away from outsiders, press reporters and other 'vermin', where I could try out the experiment without interruption.'
SOME press reporters must have become aware of the camp, because B-P replied to the Editor of The Daily Mirror from Brownsea on August 4th, 1907, on Brownsea Camp headed stationary (see later image). B-P insisted that the camp was a 'small experimental one' and in no way worth publicity at that stage. He skilfully manipulated the situation by promising full co-operation when 'the scheme' was in its complete form. I am sure that the Editor of The Daily Mirror understood by this that no such 'co-operation' would be forthcoming had he dared go against B-P's wishes and report on the Brownsea 'experiment'.
Baden-Powell invited some of his army chums to send their sons, but right from the start he was clear that Scouting was to be for all boys, not just a privileged minority. In Edwardian Britain this was a revolution in its own right. As far as education was concerned, youngsters from the different classes were well segregated. On Brownsea there were ten of 'town boys' and eleven were the children of his friends who were mainly at (fee-paying) public schools. To make this social mix a reality a 'sliding scale' of fees was charged, the 'town boys' paying three shillings and six pence (17½p) whilst the public schoolboys were charged £1 per boy. Baden-Powell intended that 'the troop' be 18 strong, but found that 21 boys wanted to attend, plus one he had not expected, his nephew Donald Baden-Powell - the nine-year-old son of his late brother George.
B-P could not of course run the entire venture by himself and so he invited his life-long friend, Major Kenneth 'The Boy' McLaren to accompany him on the venture. McLaren had served with B-P in India and in South Africa. He was wounded in the relieving of Mafeking and made a prisoner-of-war. B-P wrote to him every day and, knowing that the Boers would read his letters, B-P used them to give misleading information.
The 'town boys' were to come from Boys' Brigade Companies, seven from Bournemouth and three from Poole. B-P left much of the practical details to the local Boys' Brigade in the person of Captain Henry Robson of the Bournemouth Company and instructions were coming to him from B-P in London thick and fast. In a letter to Robson, dated June 19th, 1907, B-P asks him to supply six lads (this was later to alter) and, where he can, hire bell tents with flooring for sleeping and obtain a 'contractor for feeding and cooking'. There would need to be a flag pole and several other items that caused Robson to scratch his head; B-P wanted two rowing boats, a quantity of logs and some steel-tipped harpoons with an eye in the shaft so that they could be secured by rope. Harpoons were not common in Poole, and Robson had to have them speedily-made by a local blacksmith. In the same letter, B-P declared the purpose of the camp: 'I propose to teach them' [i.e Robson's Boys' Brigade boys] 'my new form of Scouting for Boys . . .' It seems likely that this might be the first use of the term 'Scouting for Boys'.
The photograph (taken after the Brownsea Island camp in 1909) shows two of the boys selected by Captain Robson - Sgt. Herbert 'Nippy' Watts (left) and Sgt. Herbert Collingbourne (right) of the 1st Bournemouth Boys' Brigade.
The venture needed food stores and catering facilities and in this B-P was lucky. Robson's friend, Captain G W Green of the Poole Boys' Brigade, was involved in the catering business.
In 1927, Captain Robson re-visited the island with 500 Scouters on the occasion of the Bournemouth Scouting Conference. He told the delegates of the 'marooning' of the provisions for the camp and, except for 'the mercy of providence' how they very nearly found a watery grave on their way to the island the night before B-P arrived. Unfortunately, I have found no further details of these dramatic events.
After correspondence with B-P, the two BB Captains supplied the names of the ten Boys' Brigade 'town boys'. B-P had written to Captain Robson on July 19th, to say he could take eight in total. He was under the impression that some of these would be from the Church Lads' Brigade. Of his friends's children, two came from Eton, two from Harrow and and two Cheltenham, one from Elstree School Charterhouse, the two remaining boys as were at that point being tutored at home.
William Stephens, the C.O. of the Coastguard Station at Sandbanks, near Poole, was contacted and agreed to be on hand to give demonstrations to the boys in First Aid and Firefighting.
B-P wrote letters of invitation to all the parents, they were explicit and promised ' ... wholesome food, cooking and sanitation, etc. would be carefully looked into ... ' The boys should be practised in three knots - reef, sheet bend and clove hitch - before arrival and they must be able to swim.
The camp was planned for nine days starting on Monday, August 1st, 1907, but both Baden-Powell and McLaren were on Brownsea before that, preparing for the boys' arrival, contrary to what some sources say - but the evidence is incontrovertible.
The first letter sent out from the Brownsea Island camp by B-P is shown on the right (John Ineson Collection). The postmark is '27 JY' and the letter itself clearly records the date as July 26th, 1907. The writing paper was obviously supplied by the van Raaltes. B-P wrote:
'Now I am down here preparing my Boys Camp. It is the perfect place for it - a splendid island, well-wooded and wild, giving plenty of scope for Scouting. I think we shall have a very good time if the weather is only kind, which it doesn't promise to be at the moment.'
In a subsequent letter, to a Miss Lyttelton, again written from Brownsea, dated July 28th, B-P gives an interesting insight on one of his pet hobby-horses:
'But I quite agree with you one wants to teach these boys the quality of not 'grousing' - and I think that may come as a result of such training as that of 'Scouts' - for they are not born grousing: there is hope if one catches them young enough . . . The Loafers are the grousers.'
During the Siege of Mafeking, B-P had been disconcerted by 'grousers' and had publicly remonstrated with them, threatening financial consequences should they continue! The success of the 'anti-grousing' training at Brownsea can perhaps be best demonstrated by the comments of one of the BB lads, who wrote to him afterwards.
'The most important thing that a great many boys need to learn is to look at the bright side of things and to take everything by the smooth handle. I myself found that a great lesson . . .'
THE Projected Schedule for the Week, as quoted by Sir Percy Everett. Note that this must have been written in advance, as the actual camp lasted for 9 days - longer for the first arrivals.