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1st Heworth Scout Group: A short History.

Note that this is just a consise history of the happenings at 1st Heworth. The numbers of Children and adult leaders that have been involved with Heworth over the years must number into the thousands. If you have been a member of Heworth Scout Group we would love to hear from you. Memories, photographs, anything that could fill in the gaps in our history. Please get in touch with us at info@1st-heworth.org.uk.

The group was started on the first Saturday in December, 1919 by Mr Ivor Spence with Mr Fred Smith, who became known in Scouting circles as Fox. The Group was at first attached to the Church and was known as 1st Heworth (3rd York) Parish Church Group. The clubroom was in a loft over the coach-house at the vicarage.

Fox took over as Assistant Scout Master in 1922, before becoming Scout Master and finally Group Scout Master when that office came into being. The Cub Pack was started in 1922, the first Cub Mistress being a Miss Johnson . She was succeeded by Miss Margaret Smith (Fox's sister) in 1925. She was known as Akela throughout her period of office with the Group, which lasted until the early 1960's, when she became Assistant District Commissioner (Cubs) for York East District.

Eagles 1921

By 1930 the Group had become independent of the Church and moved to a clubroom in Heworth Road between Heworth School and what was then the Police Station. During the 1930's the Group was well to the fore in York District Scouting and was represented by a large contingent of Cubs and Scouts at the 1933 Rally on Pontefract Racecourse, where they were inspected by our founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell. Later a team of Scouters and patrol leaders attended a St. George's Day Parade at St. George's Chapel Windsor, where they were inspected by the King.


The Group had a good sporting record and were always prominent in both athletic and swimming sports, in 1938 winning the York and District Trophy by a large margin of points. Cubs and Scouts also played in many inter-group football matches and the troop were always keenly represented in the annual Camper-craft Competition.

A harmonica band was formed in the late 30's which played at many events and took part in Gang Shows, which raised money for the York District association. The last one of these shows ran for a week to full houses at what was then the Rialto Cinema. During 1938 Heworth Wolf Cubs were awarded a 2nd Class Certificate for their sword dancing team by the Yorkshire Folk Song and Dance Society, a feat surpassed some fifty years later when the Heworth Cedars Cubs were awarded a 1st class certificate at the Whitby Folk Dance festival.

At the outbreak of war, Fox and many other Scouters, Rovers, and Senior members joined the armed forces and the Troop was run mainly by S.M. Baines and A.S.M. Paxman. Fox resumed as G.S.M. after war service, when a good core of the senior members returned. Fox left York in 1948 when his railway employment took him to Newcastle. He then became G.S.M. of Whitley Bay Group before being appointed A.D.C.

In the late forties, the Scout Leader was Mr C. Waite, who became Lord Mayor of York in 1986-87. Mr Waite was succeeded by Mr S. K. (Jack) Ross around 1950. In the early fifties, the Group moved its H.Q. to Bad Bargain Lane in a hut bought for them by an anonymous benefactor.


By the mid-Sixties it was becoming clear that the wooden hut was in need of replacement. A large fund-raising effort was instigated and between 1968 and 1970 the £2,500 needed for the first stage of a new brick built headquarters was raised with many a novel fund raising activity. These included a piano push from Malton to York, and a football match between the York City F.A. Cup giant killers of 54-55 and a team of professional all-star wrestlers. The present hut was opened in 1970.

By early 1971 Cub Scout numbers had risen so much (one hundred Cub Scouts were on the Heworth waiting list) that it became clear that a second pack was needed. Heworth Cedars was formed to meet on a Monday evening. This Pack ran successfully until 1992. One of the founding leaders, Mary Wilson, later went on to found Christ-Church Cub Scout Pack during the mid-seventies.

The Scouts were also very active during the seventies. Attending the National Jamboree at Chatsworth park in 1974 where they were inspected by the then Chief Scout, William Gladstone. They also won a County Competition during this year for spending the most nights under canvas.

Into the Eighties and Heworth still kept busy. Both Cub Scout packs were at times runners-up at the York District football competition, and the Scout Troop joined in annual Summer camps with other troops from throughout the Country, including Edinburgh, Ben-Rhyding, and Workington, run by camp chief Don Penty. These camps have been running since the forties, and are still being attended by Heworth today.

By the late eighties, Heworth saw the retirement of two of its main Cub Leaders - Ann Wedge after eleven years at the helm of Cedars, and Sue Robson who had been involved with Oaks since the early sixties.

As we entered the nineties the Group expanded still further with in, 1991, the formation of our own Beaver Colony. The nineties also saw the Oaks winning two major York trophies. The Guy Haw trophy in 1991, for their scrapbook based on the 75th Cub Scout year. This was the second time it had won this trophy - it won it in the mid-eighties, for its project making bibs and musical instruments for Galtrees School. In 1993 Cubs from Heworth won the Hergarth trophy, giving the leaders the dubious honour of organising the 1994 event.

1994 saw Heworth very busy organising events to celebrate our 75th anniversary.

We started off the year of events with a group camp in Dalby Forest, open to all lads within the group, and their parents. 74 people attended for the weekend. The rest of the year saw a variety of events - a hike, a barbecue, a treasure hunt around York, a meal for all past leaders and helpers, as several other events. The year was rounded off by another group camp - this time at Hasty Bank. 96 campers attended for the weekend!


Party Time!
As the year drew to a close it was our 75th Party held at the newly built Tang Hall Community Centre, with lots of food, games, and dancing into the small hours.

Around 1995 the scout hut had a major refurbishment:

Heworth went from strength to strength, with a popular Beaver Scout unit, two Cub packs, Oaks and Elms, and a Scout Troop running at near capacity with four patrols and (on some evenings) getting close to ten leaders standing out at the front in a line which stretched from the flag into the leaders den!

At this point the scout group setup a Venture Scout unit, for those in the 16-21 age group. The leader was Graham Bruin, a scout parent. The Venture scout unit had a strong membership of former Heworth scouts, Andrew Shaw, Chris Beilby, Adam Cisek to name a few, and several young people new to scouting.

Around 1996 the national scout association had a major re-organisation of the movement, and changed the age range to its current format. This had the effect of splitting the scout section in two, and removing the short lived Venture scout unit from Heworth’s control.

As the millennium celebrations passed, Heworth continued to offer the young people a diverse program of activities and events. For the first time Girls were allowed to join Scouts, and Heworth had several join, giving the boys in the troop some competition!

Today as the group aproaches 100 years old we still have a thriving Beaver colony, Cub-Scout pack and Scout troup. Hopefully we will be around for another 100 years. Only 1st York is older than ourselves. Even they had to move from the centre of the City as populations moved outward, to the suburb of Poppleton. 1st Heworth has remained loyal to Heworth and our headquarters have moved no more than a few hundred yards in all our one hundred years.

1940  group


Finally we have a plea: If you have been a past member of 1st Heworth Scout Group we would appreciate your memories, please get in touch with us at: info@1st-heworth.org.uk


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