Founded in the middle of the second world war, the group’s early years were disrupted by air raids, bomb damage to premises, by the evacuation of children from the area and by the drafting of scout leaders into the war. But this didn’t stop the group from expanding from the original pack of nine Cubs.
Two years after the pack started, in 1944, a scout troop was added, with eight Cubs moving up to join the group. Senior scouting sections were later added, and by the late 1950s, the group was providing scouting activities for a full range of ages.
We are lucky to still have the leather-bound logbooks that record the group’s early history in beautiful copper-plate handwriting. Highlights include the Cubs’ first camp, held at Polyapes, near Oxshott, in 1954. Records of that camp include a receipt from J Simmonds and Sons for 16 hot cross buns and an alarming account of how the campfire was started with the aid of can of “magic firewater”. Other excursions during the 1950s included a weekend trip to the Lake District, and in 1959, the scouts enjoyed a two-week trip to Norway.
Some of these early events have become traditions that are carried on to this day. Polyapes is one of several regular venues for group and section camps, although the cubs are no longer startled with magic firewater. The description of an improvised form of indoor cricket played at a meeting in 1960 also sounds quite similar to the activities you might find at the start of a Cubs meeting today.