Home > 10 Historical Scouting Places In The UK

10 Historical Scouting Places In The UK

08/09/2016 | News

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell was born at 6 Stanhope Street (now 11 Stanhope Terrace), Paddington, London on February 22, 1857. He was the sixth son and the eighth of ten children of the Reverend Baden-Powell, a Professor at Oxford University. The names Robert Stephenson were those of his Godfather, the son of railway pioneer George Stephenson.

Baden-Powell was given his first lessons by his mother, and then he went to Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, where he gained a scholarship to Charterhouse School. Based in London when he first attended, it relocated to Godalming, Surrey, a factor which had great influence in his later life. He was always eager to learn new skills. He played the piano and fiddle.

Whilst he was a scholar at Charterhouse, he began to exploit his interest in the art of Scouting and woodcraft. In the woods around the school, BP would stalk his masters as well as catch and cook rabbits, being careful not to let the tell-tale smoke give his position away.

In 1907 Baden-Powell held an ‘experimental’ camp on Brownsea Island in Poole, Dorset, to try out his ideas and brought together 20 boys from a variety of backgrounds. The success of the camp spurred him on to finish what would become a classic book of the 20th century. Scouting for Boys was published in 1908 in six fortnightly parts at 4d a copy.

What had been intended as a training aid for existing organisations became the handbook of a new Movement, which secured the royal seal of approval the following year when King Edward VII agreed to the introduction of the King’s Scout Award.

Gilwell Park was bought in 1919 by Scout Commissioner William de Bois Maclaren and given to the Scout Association of the United Kingdom to provide camping to London Scouts, and training for Scouters. In 1921 it held the first Gilwell Reunion, an event that still exists today.

As Scout Leaders from all countries of the world have come to Gilwell Park for their Wood Badge training, it is one of the landmarks of the world Scouting movement. In 2001 HRH The Duke of Kent opened Gilwell House, the new Scout Association Headquarters.

The attractions to see at Gilwell Park include the Gilwell Museum. There are also plenty of historical objects around the grounds. There is the bronze bust of Baden-Powell was presented by the Scouts of Mexico in 1968 after the Olympics.

The Buffalo Lawn at Giwell Park is so called because of the replica of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Silver Buffalo Award that was presented to the Boy Scout Association by the BSA in 1926. Located there is a signpost with the directions and distances to all the World Scout Jamborees from Gilwell Park.

A copy of a statue by R. Tait McKenzie called The Ideal Scout stands near The Lid. This is also known as The Boy Scout. The BSA donated the statue in 1966. The original stands outside the headquarters of the Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and another copy outside the BSA headquarters in Irving, Texas.

The caravan trailer, presented to Chief Scout Sir Robert Baden-Powell, along with a new Rolls-Royce car, during the 3rd World Scout Jamboree in 1929 is now on display.


In 1920 the first World Scout Jamboree was held at London’s Olympia. Around 8,000 Scouts from 34 nations across the world gathered to celebrate international unity and the growth of their great Movement. It was here that Baden-Powell was given the title Chief Scout.
The Olympia arena was filled with a foot-(30 cm)-deep layer of earth, which was turfed over, enabling the Scouts to pitch tents within the glass-roofed hall. 500 Wolf Cubs perform a Grand Howl in the arena at Olympia.
However, around 5,000 of the Scouts were encamped at the Old Deer Park in nearby Richmond. The Scouts rotated in and out of Olympia to give them all the opportunity to participate in the events there.

Arrowe Park was the home of the 3rd World Scout Jamboree in 1929 where over 50,000 Scouts attended. This jamboree commemorated the 21st birthday of Scouting, counting from the publication of the book Scouting for Boys by Baden-Powell. Therefore, this jamboree is also known as the Coming of Age Jamboree. There is a monument in the park which commemorates this event.

The Prince of Wales attended the jamboree and awarded Baden-Powell the title of Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell -Gilwell Park being the International Training Centre for Scout Leaders.

A memorial service to commemorate Baden Powell’s death was held at Westminster Abbey in 1941. To follow this service a memorable plaque was unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester at Westminster Abbey in 1947.
Westminter Abbey is used as the venue for a number of key events and church services – In February 1957 a thanksgiving service was held at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Baden-Powell.
In 1981 after Olave Baden-Powell’s death a memorial stone was unveiled at Westminster Abbey.


Baden-Powell House, also known as B-P House, is a Scouting hostel and conference centre in South Kensington, London, which was built as a tribute to Lord Baden-Powell. The house, owned by The Scout Association, hosts a small exhibition relating to Scouting in its current form and a granite statue by Don Potter.

The building committee, chaired by Sir Harold Gillett, Lord Mayor of London, purchased the site in 1956. The foundation stone was laid in 1959 by World Chief Guide Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, and it was opened in 1961 by Queen Elizabeth II. A casket was buried under the foundation stone which held 1959 Scout mementoes, stamps, coins, photographs, etc., and a programme of the ceremony.

The Scout Association’s National Headquarters moves from Buckingham Palace Road to temporary accommodation at Baden-Powell House in 1974, until a new purpose built extension to B.P. House was completed in 1976.

In April 1934 the First National Scout Service took place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Baden-Powell chose Saint George to be the Patron Saint of The Scout Association. He felt that the Saint George legend set a good example of faith, courage and perseverance for future generations.

In 1909, King Edward VII approved Robert Baden-Powell’s request that boys who passed special tests for efficiency be ranked as “King’s Scouts”. A badge with a crown signified the award as a “King’s Scout. After the succession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, the award was renamed “Queen’s Scout” in 1953.

In 1972 the Duke of Kent reviews 500 Venture Scouts who have gained the Queen’s Scout Award, in a new style ceremony at Windsor Castle on St. George’s Day. This event still takes place annually at Windsor Castle.

The 21st World Jamboree was held at Hylands Park, Chelmsford. It formed a part of the Scouting 2007 Centenary celebrations of the world Scout Movement. The event was hosted by the United Kingdom, as 2007 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Scouting on Brownsea Island.

Over 40,000 participants were at the Jamboree with Prince William and the Duke of Kent at the opening ceremony. The theme was “One World, One Promise”.

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