28th Wakefield (Scissett) Scouts (Heritage Article)
We are trying to clarify the situation regarding the first Scouts in our cachement area. Certainly there were Scouts meeting in Huddersfield 100 years ago. However, the first record of a Troop locally was the 1928 registration of Scissett Scouts, a controlled group linked to St Augustine’s Church in Scissett, the neighbouring village.
However, the father of one of our long standing helpers was actually a member of the Scissett Troop, and we have camp records and images going back to 1924. The first camp he attended was at Monsal Dale in 1924. As the report recalls this was not actually a Scout Camp, but a camp for a group of lads called the Knights of the Round Table. This is how Scouting began, local groups of lads, getting together, an adult or two looking after them, and eventually becoming a Scout Group.
Here is the Camp Report:
Monsale Dale (extract)
The first ever camp of the Knights of the Round Table. We had no experience of camping and I remember that Mr T Morley and perhaps some others went in the lorry with me to see that the tents were put up safely.
It started to rain when the tents were being put up and maybe with the exception of one afternoon, around Thursday, it rained continuously.
Thursday was just about the only 0ccasion on which there was any bathing. The rope across the river was a barrier beyond which we should not bathe because of the depth of water.
In this camp we took from Scissett all food etc. except milk, each of us had a tea chest full of bread, bacon and jam etc.. We all had to make our own meals somehow.
The register for the camp included:- S. Wray, C. Mitchell, W. Shaw, N. Beaumont, D. Wilkinson, W. Hardcastle, K. Hardcastle, J. Battye (sic), C. Shaw, H. Aitkinson, J. Wray, J. Hudson, E. Craven, G. Barraclough
The available notes for the camp reports suggest that in some ways the Scouts of the 1920′s operated on a very similar basis to our Scouts today. However, camp life was just that camp life, it revolved around cooking swimming and playing a few games – largely self amusement – which was not always in the best interests of safety, perhaps – such as the incident at Eadale, where much time was spent rolling boulders down Loose Hill!
There was no call in those days for a wet weather programme. The Scouts just stayed in their tents and played cards. Today we would have to provide some form of alternative entertainment.
Camp costs look cheap, but perhaps in context they might not have been quite as low as the report from the 1930 Sandsend Camp suggests.
The £1.13.8 ( £1.64) per head for the camp seems very reasonable, but when one considers the cost of a loaf of bread in 1930 was only 4d ( about 3p) for a 2lb loaf and today we would pay at least £1.20 for a 1lb loaf ( £1.4.0 in old money or weight for weight a 1930′s loaf would cost £2.40 today!) Beer was only 2p per pint.
The Knights of the Round Table camped at Monsal Dale in 1924, Edale in 1925 and 1926, and as Scouts at Prestatyn (Gronant) in 1927. Scarborough followed in 1928, Penmaenmawr in 1929, Sandsend in 1930 and Criccieth in 1931.
The first sponsor of the Group was the Rev. H. Libby of St. Augustine’s Church and the group was church controlled(sponsored). The Scoutmaster was a Frank Ashton, and the Assistant Scouter was Stephen Wray. The Troop opened with 19 Scouts and Rover Scouts.
It was re-registered in 1928 as part of the Kirkburton Area with Frank Ashton remaining as the SM, and the Assistants were Stephen Wray and Jack Ashton, with Frank Leake joining as Rover Scout Master (probationary). There were now 4 Leaders and 21 Scouts and Rover Scouts.
Throughout this time the Troop was listed as being in Kirkburton Area, despite being titled the 28th Wakefield ( Scissett) Scouts – St. Augustines, the sponsoring church is in the Wakefield Diocese, hence the Wakefield registration.
However, in 1944 the then vicar at St. Augustines relinquished control and Scissett Scouts became an open Group on the 28th March 1944.
The Scout Association holds no record of the Scissett Troop disbanding, and the Troop Flag is held at Bradley Wood Campsite.
It was interesting to note that one of Clayton West’s first Leaders when the current Group was established was a Mr Robert Leake – could this be another link between the modern Clayton West Scouts and the old Scissett Group?