18TH ST ALBANS

SCOUT GROUP

EARLY GROUP HISTORY

This is taken from "Always a Scout", a book about the history of Scouting in St Albans, written in the early 1980s.

Young troop offered good scouting, GSL rescues scout from canal

The Group was formed in 1950 under the auspices of the Homewood Road Presbyterian Church (now United Reformed Church) with whom it has maintained strong links as an open sponsored group ever since. The first meetings, with four Wolf Cubs, were held in the home of the Group Scout Leader, Bill Brown, at 211 Marshalswick Lane, under the guidance of the first Akela, Mrs. Gwen Brown. For many years the Group met in the Church Hall, Homewood Road, and camping equipment was stored in the air raid shelter that stood on the corner of Sandpit Lane and Homewood Road. Later, the Senior Section used the shelter as a meeting place.

Representatives of the Group attended the Jamborees in Canada, Greece and America and, of course, in England. First rate camping expeditions were made to Vomp, a small village near Innsbruck, and then to Vaduz, in Liechtenstein. Following the latter, the Group received a letter of good wishes from Prince Emanuel of Liechtenstein, who was then Chief Scout of that country.

On the Group's 10th Anniversary, no fewer than 240 Old Scouts and friends of the Group held a Fish and Chip Supper. The scene in the kitchen during the preparation of such a vast quantity of helpings can well be imagined!

In 1962 the Group put on a Gang Show at the Culver Hall in aid of its headquarters fund.


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In 1967 the Group's present headquarters in Hall Heath Close, a former site hut from the first stages of the M1 construction, were opened by the County Commissioner, Melville Balsillie, who had been the G.S.L's patrol leader in a North London troop some 45 years previously.

The Group celebrated its 21st Anniversary in 1971 with a dinner in the Church Hall, at which Melville Balsillie was the chief speaker, and several of the original members were among the guests.


A second Cub Pack was started in 1978 to accommodate the increasing number of boys wanting to join. Named the Homewood Pack, it emphasises the association with the Homewood Road area and the Homewood Road Church in particular, that the Group as a whole has maintained. The original Pack was named after one of the original members, Neville Douthwaite Hodges in memory of his outstanding career in the Group.

In 1979 Mr. D.M. Thompson, the G.S.L., was awarded the Certificate for Meritorious Conduct in recognition of his prompt action in rescuing a boy from the canal near Napton.

Despite its relatively short history compared with other Groups in the District, the 18th has been consistent throughout its life in being among the most successful Groups in St. Albans, and is determined to maintain with pride the reputation of local Scouting in the future.