The First of the Scout Troops

BROADSTONE holds a unique place in the history of Scouting.
Scouts of BROADSTONE are privileged to live on the doorstep of what is regarded to be the “FIRST AND ORIGINAL SCOUT CAMP” organised by Lord Baden Powell on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour from 1st to 9th August 1907. Broadstone Scouts are also, part of a Troop that was amongst one of the FIRST EVER SCOUT TROOP’s to have been formed, this being BROADSTONE SCOUT TROOP.(1)
One of the twenty boys who took part in the “First Scout Camp” was Arthur Primmer. He wanted to start a Scout Troop in Poole but received very little interest in his efforts. Arthur was friendly with a Broadstone Boy, Victor Watkins. Together with the help of the Curate, Rear Admiral Thring RN (Rtd) and Colonel Edwards (both Broadstone residents) they formed a Scout Troop within a few weeks of the original Scout Camp.

The first Scout camp at Brownsea Island, 1907

The Very First Kings Scout in the World

Victor Watkins can also claim to be the FIRST KINGS SCOUT, the highest honour a Scout can obtain. This was to have been presented at Windsor Castle by King Edward Vll in the summer of 1910, but unfortunately the King died in May of that year. This award has been known, in the years since, as The Queens Scout Award, and is now returning to the original Kings Scout Award.

July 1908 – 2008 – 100 Years of Scouting in Broadstone

The first recorded meeting, of Scouts in Broadstone(2), took place in the Curates study. After which regular meetings were held at the home of Rear Admiral Thring with tent pitching on the lawns of Colonel Edwards. The first permanent headquarters was a small hut sited on what is now Upton Way, in Broadstone. The Scout Master was a Miss Chataway (of the Christopher Chataway family). On her death the family presented the Scouts with a New Headquarters of ex-army prefabricated construction.

Alex 'Skip' Wilson stone
Alex ‘Skip’ Wilson’s inauguration Stone

The building was moved in 1932, but by 1950 was in a very poor condition. Fund raising was started and in 1954 the Scout Group were able to purchase the old (1852) Congregational Chapel in Upper Blandford Road for just £500. With its Cob walls and hall size of just l6ft x 25ft it proved a difficult building to manage. Especially as by 1980 the Group units consisted of two Beaver Colonies, four Cub Scout Packs and three Scout Troops. (In excess of 300 boys, leaders, helpers and executive Committee).

In 1995, after a magnificent fundraising effort and a great deal of help from many Broadstone residents, the present headquarters was built on the site of the old tennis courts adjacent to Broadstone Bowling Club in Dunyeats Road. The late and greatly missed Alex “Skip” Wilson (long time Scout Leader of the Group) laid an inauguration stone during the building. The Chief Scout visited Broadstone and officially opened the Headquarters on 25th November 1995.

The Group Today

The BROADSTONE SCOUT GROUP still consists of over 200 young people and is now also home to a Poole District Explorer Scout Unit. There is a waiting list to join the Beaver Colonies, Cub Scouts and Scouts sections. There is always a need of adult help, both in uniform and in supporting roles.

Broadstone Group Scouts, Cubs and Beavers have achieved distinction in many District and County Scouting events. Broadstone continues to be a driving force for Scouting in Poole Scout District. Boys and girls of all ages, enjoy activities such as Air Rifle Shooting, Archery, Backwoods cooking, Bivouacs. Camping, Camp Fires, Canoeing, Climbing (indoors and outdoors), Computing, Conservation Work, Cooking, Cycling, First Aid, Football, High Ropes, Hiking, Incident Hikes, Kite flying, Leadership Training, Model making, Map and Compass work, Night Hikes, Pioneering, Rafting, Safety training in the use of hazardous equipment, Skating, Survival Training, Swimming, Wide Games and of course the traditional Knotting and Rope work (only once and a while now!). There have been camping and expeditions in Snowdonia, Dartmoor, Cornwall, Bodmin Moor, the New Forest and the Purbecks. There is Badge and Award Work at the headquarters during colder weather. Older Scouts undertake the Gold Chief Scout Award.

The Group today is open to all, and is inclusive.

There is something for everyone, no matter what age, in Broadstone Scouting. (Sadly I have no reports of little old ladies being helped across the road, whether they wanted to or not!)

The Statue of Baden Powell at Poole Quay

The Scouting Movement has evolved considerably since Arthur and Victor started their Scouting 1907. However the Aim of The Scout Association (3) remains basically the same. That is, to promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potentials, as individual* as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. The Method of achieving the Aim of the Association is by providing an enjoyable and effective scheme of progressive training, based on the Scout Promise and Law and guided by adult Leadership.

Broadstone (and Poole) has a lot to be proud of in its links with the World Wide fellowship of Scouting.
Original author:

(2008) John Bright, former Scout Leader,
Springdale Scout Troop
Broadstone Scout Group
with extensive reference to research(4)
undertaken by Alex ‘Skip’ Wilson.
Acknowledgements and references
(1) Scout Association, Fact Sheet FS29503 – ‘The First Troops’
(2) The Parish Magazine of St John the Baptist, Broadstone. July 1908
(3) Policy Organisation and Rules of the Scout Association
(4) Flagstaff – Newsletter of Broadstone Scout Group