2nd Amersham on the Hill Scout Group

The history of the 2nd Amersham on the Hill can be traced back to November 1923, when the Scout Troop was registered with the Imperial Headquarters, as it was then known, of the Boy Scouts Association, followed by the Wolf Cub Pack in 1925, and it has been in continuous existence ever since. Initially the Scout Troop and the Wolf Cub Pack (the original name of Cub Scouts) was controlled by the Free Church then in Sycamore Road, and they held their meetings in Sycamore Hall.

However this connection was severed in 1928 and the Group was re-registered as an Open Group. th On July 6 1929, the new Scout Hall was formally opened on Glebe Land, at the top of Rectory Hill. The cost of the building and equipment was believed to be less than £1,000. About this time a Rover Crew for those aged 18 years and over was formed.

Prior to the Second World War the Troop camped with some of the other local troops in the District including 1st Chesham Bois and 1st Amersham. The founding of other Troops nearby did have an adverse effect on 2nd Amersham on the Hill, but an active recruitment campaign soon corrected this.

The war brought changes to the Group. The girls of Chiswick High School were evacuated to Amersham and used the Scout Hall on weekdays. The Hall was also used by the Girl Guides, the Home Guard and a Royal Artillery Unit. The windows were blacked out to avoid any lights being seen.

All this time, Dorothy Norris led the Cubs as Akela and Mrs Defriez continued as a non-uniformed helper and very active member of the Group’s Parents Committee. Meanwhile the Troop grew under the leadership of a Scoutmaster (again the original term) Kim Grundy, who was temporarily working in Amersham. A new Section was also formed for boys aged between 15 and 18 years known as Senior Scouts. Close co-operation also continued with 1st Chesham Bois, particularly with camps, to ensure the Group continued.

In 1951 Lilian Greaves joined as an Instructor with the Cubs and remained with the Pack for over fifty years. Her service, as well as Dorothy Norris’s service, was acknowledged by the award of the Silver Acorn in 1987 and 1968 respectively.

In 1964 the Scout Hall of 2nd Amersham on the Hill was almost completely destroyed by fire but plans to rebuild the Headquarters of the Group, numbering nearly one hundred boys (a large number for a Scout Group in those days), was set up at once. With the co-operation of other Scout Groups within the District and the use of auctioneer Pretty and Ellis’s basement, all sections continued to meet. Several ideas for the raising of money towards the rebuilding of the Headquarters were proposed including a “Money Mile” of coins in Amersham on a Saturday morning, only a week after the fire. During this time Scouting continued, ten Cubs moved to the Scout Section all with the Leaping Wolf Award, then the highest that Cubs could gain.

I can still recall travelling on a bus nearing the top of Station Road and seeing the Scout Hut on fire, I believe we were returning from the fair in Old Amerham and I was 6 years old. I also remember the line of old pennies along Hill Avenue. Jim…

 

Jubilee Hall, Rectory Hill. Amersham

Jubilee Hall, Rectory Hill. Amersham

Plans for the new Headquarters, on the same site, allowed for the new Hall to be about a third larger than before. This Hall was officially opened by John Brazil, the Group President and Ralph Reader of Gang Show fame on March 26th 1966. During this time Len King was Group Scoutmaster, at a time when Scouting under went much change: shorts and big hats were replaced by long trousers and berets; Scoutmasters and Cubmasters were more appropriately named Scout Leaders and Cub Scout Leaders. There were also great changes to the programme structure to give Scouting a more adventurous approach in keeping with the modern age.

Why was it called the “Jubilee Hall”? Because the opening occurred in the Cub Scouts Golden Jubilee Year, again the time when their name was changed from Wolf Cubs.

Extract from “A History of Misbourne Valley District Scouts” written and researched by John F Harley 2007

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