The history of 1st Lacock Scout group
The Founding of the Group
The history of 1st Lacock Scouts is difficult to ascertain. Written records from the Scout Association are patchy at best.
What is known is that the group was founded somewhere between 1910 and 1916. Written records show evidence of the group in 1916 and there are no leadership warrents issued for anyone in Lacock before 1914.
What adds to the confusion is the return in 1910 for the North Wiltshire Association that specifically mentions Lacock village but that does not include the names of any groups.
Our 1st recorded mention is 1916 but it is extremely likely that we were formed some time before that. The most conservative estimate is 1914 but it could have been as early as 1912.
The 1910 Return for North West Wiltshire mentioning Lacock village but not naming any specific Scout groups. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
The Early years 1910 - 1929
Before 1919 all records were kept at a local Association level. Most of these have been lost or destroyed.
The earliest reference to a Lacock Group is the 1916 Local Association Register.
It is difficult to make out the name of the first leader on this form but it appears to be an E. Chivus. We'd be grateful if anyone has any more information.
The 1916 Return for North Wiltshire showing the existance of 1st Lacock. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
A 1928 the Wiltshire Scout News gives the name of the second known leader for 1st Lacock Boy Scout Group: J. E. Kitts.
Mr Kitts' name also comes up on an undated form from the 1920s and a 1929 Annual Group return. John Kitts lived on Bewley Crescent and we'd love to know if anyone alive knew him or has a photograph from this period. From this we also find our first recorded meeting place: Days School on the High Street Lacock. It is known that during this period that the Group also at least occasionally met in the Tithe Barn as can be seen from photographs in the Fox-Talbot museum, Lacock.
The first known closure and the second incarnation 1933 - World war II
It is known that the Group closed at some point before 1932. The record below is the registration of a new group; 1st Lacock Boy Scouts on the 1st January 1933. This time the Group meets somewhere in Church Street and the leader is Reginald Bush of East Street, Lacock. As with all the names we'd really love it if anyone out there has information on him they'd like to share. The Group is believed to have closed during the Second World War.
The 1933 registration of 1st Lacock shows that it closed before 1932 and names the third known leader. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
The Abbey Tithe Barn where the Scouts were known to have met in the 1920s (photographs in Fox-Talbot museum) and in 1949 (Group Registration Form).
The current group 1979 - today Another Registration Form shows that the Group reopened on the 17th December 1979. The leaders this time are Patricia Selman, Roseanne Cowdery and
Kendrick Cowdery all of Corsham Road, Lacock and Leslie Cox of Folly Lane, Lacock.
The meeting place is now listed as the Village Hall which is where we still meet today.
It is worth noting that there is both a Cub Pack and a Scout Troop listed now.
The 1979 registration of 1st Lacock. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association and the Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
In this incarnation 1st Lacock is primarily a Cub Pack. A return in 1983 shows that 1st Lacock had a Scout Troop in 1979 and 1980 but that it was gone by 1981.
The 1983 return from 1st Lacock. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association and the Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre.
The District Census reports for 1983 until 1993 show that the group has on average around 20 Cubs in the Pack over this period (about the same as today). The Scout Troop returns in 1986 with 8 Scouts but this has vanished again by 1987.
Another point of interest is the status of the Group. For most of its existance the Group has been Open meaning it had no sponsorship or restrictions but between 1988 and 1990 the Group is Sponsored by the National Trust. This arrangement only ends when the status question is removed from the Census forms suggesting that all groups are now Open.
Unfortunately no records have been unearthed that let us know when the Beaver Colony started. Beavers were announced in October 1982 and the County started to really pay attention to them in 1985. Our census returns don't mention Beaverswhich means ours had to have started after 1993.
Lord Robert Baden-Powell
The founder of the Scout Association
The 1924 Return for North West Wiltshire with Lacock removed from the list. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
Despite this 1916 evidence the Group is not recognised by or fully registered with the Boy Scouts association until 1924 (stamped by the Association 18th August 1925). It should be noted that in the early days many Groups were only loosely associated to the main organisation. The earlier 1924 return shown above may suggest that the group had closed and reopened since 1916.
Lacock High Street site of the earliest known meeting place of 1st Lacock Scouts, the Day School see 1929 records.
The 1929 Annual Group Return form shows the existance of 1st Lacock and names the second known leader. Also shown on the enlarged version an undated form naming the Days' School as a meeting place. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
The second known closure and the third incarnation 1949 - 1956
Reginald Bush returns again on the 11th January 1949 opening another new version of the Boy Scout group as shown on a new registration form. Now we find out that Mr Bush lived in Church Street (probably the reason this was given as the HQ on the previous form) and that he has been joined by W. Wootten (of Raybridge) and P. Butler (of the High Street).
We have another meeting place listed now: The Abbey Tithe Barn. As mentioned before we have evidence of the Scouts meeting there in the 1920s too.
The 1949 Local Association registration also states that the whole of North West Wiltshire was registered as forming in 1924 which explains the earlier confusion over 1st Lacock existing from around 1914 but not being registered until 1924.
Unfortunately this group registration form was cancelled in 1956 meaning the group had shut.
The Village Hall, Lacock where 1st Lacock has met since 1979.
The 1979-80 Wiltshire Scout Report also mention Pat Selman and Rosanne Cowdery, the opening of the Cub pack and the hope that a Scout Troop would follow soon.
The 1979-80 Wiltshire County Report mentioning 1st Lacock. Image used with thanks to the Scout Association and the Swindon and Wiltshire History Center.
The 1986 Census mentioning 1st Lacock having a Scout Troop. 1988 and 1990 Censuses showing 1st Lacock sponsored by the National Trust. Images used with thanks to the Scout Association and the Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre. Click on any image to see an enlarged versions. If you want these images in higher quality please use the contact form on the history page.
Wiltshire Scout News from July 1987 tells us that Lacock Abbey and Church played host to the Chief Scout that summer. Chief Scout Major General Walsh gave out 52 Chief Scout awards and 1 Queen's Scout award.
Roger Reeves, John Newton and their teams were thanked for their help. If anyone has any information about this event or these people we would be extremely grateful.
The following year the same publication tells us that the Chief Commisioner (England) John Derben visited and gave out 60 Chief Scout Awards to local Scouts.
There are no photographs of these events but we're currently liaising with the church to see what we can find out.
Islay, Darlene and Rosemary kept a vibrant and exciting group moving from strength to strength but in 2011 Darlene retired from Leading and Islay moved onto a position within the District Leadership Team.
These losses and the additional losses of several other adult helpers meant that in November 2011 1st Lacock were forced to hold a Emergency General Meeting to discuss their leadership situation. We faced the very real possibility that the Cub group that has run continuously since 1979 would be forced to close.
Now? We have a new Group Scout Leader, a new Beaver Leader, an ex Beaver Leader returning regularly to help and an excellent Assistant Cub Leader. We are also looking at starting a Scout Troop for the first time since 1986.
It is an exciting time for us and we are still facing enormous challenges but the future is bright once more. We need more leaders. Simple as that. Can you help? Are you ready to join the adventure?