Archive for June 4, 2014

The Brownsea Island camp

Posted: June 4, 2014 in History

Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset
Brownsea Island
Phot by Allwyn Ladell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/alwyn_ladell/)

The largest of the islands in Poole Harbour is Brownsea Island. As I previously blogged this is now owned by the National Trust and managed as a nature reserve. However, perhaps Brownsea Island’s biggest claim to fame is that it was the site of the boys camp, which led to the formation of the Scout Association.

Lt General Robert Baden Powell had served in the British Army in India and South Africa and become something of a celebrity following his accounts of the siege of Mafeking. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1903 and continued to write books on military training methods.

Bust of Lord Baden-Powell on Brownsea Island

Bust of Lord Baden-Powell on Brownsea Island

One of these books was called ‘Aids to scouting’. He was subsequently surprised to find out that this book had a readership far beyond the military and was being read by many young people and those involved in the leadership of youth movements. Baden Powell became involved in the boys Brigade and in August 1907, held a camp on Brownsea Island to try out some of his ‘military learnt skills’ in a youth work environment. This camp consisted of 8 boys from local boys brigade companies and a further 12 sons of friends.

The flag marks the site of the campsite on Brownsea Island

The flag marks the site of the campsite on Brownsea Island

Stone marking the first scout camp
Monument to first Scout Camp
Phot by Matt Brown (https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/)

The following year he rewrote his book specifically for young people and called it ‘Scouting for boys’. Following the publication of the book, boys and girls began forming Scout troops, and it was from this that the Scout Association was formed. Today worldwide The Scout Association has 161 member countries and an estimated 36 million members worldwide.