The Eighth Hampstead Scout Group began its life in 1924 after Mr E.V. Millard, Scoutmaster of the 25th Hampstead Scout Troop, came to the Hall to talk to the boys about Scouting. About 30 boys attended, and the Headmaster, Mr Gladstone, readily agreed that a Scout Troop should be formed at the school. The subsequent history of the Group would take up too much space on this website but, for those interested, it is well documented in the excellent School Centenary Book “One Hundred Years in Hampstead” edited by Paddy Heazell (page 233 onwards). What follows is a brief resume of the Group’s development to date.
From its beginning, the Group grew dramatically and was recognised as a very viable part of Hall School life. The Headmaster recognised its value and school staff were involved in running the Packs and Troop. In 1925 there were 85 members and it is interesting to note that the membership today is much the same. 30% of all boys of eligible age in the school are in the Group.
Many members of staff were involved in the early days and several are mentioned in the book. One person deserves a special mention here – Jimmy Earle, senior master – who steered the Group through successes and diversities for well over 30 years. His contribution was invaluable.
In the natural order of events and development of the school, the demands on teachers made it less and less practical for them to be so involved in the Scout Group. So, in the early sixties, parents and old boys came on to the scene. The Group developed very much as an extramural activity, fully sponsored by the school, but with greater independence. In 1960 Barbara Frais took responsibility for Black Pack, and, within a year, her husband Tony re-started a second Pack (Tawny Pack). They ran these Packs for 35 years. Their younger son, Ian, returned to the Group as an adult and took over the Scout Troop which he has been running for the past 30 years and continues with great enthusiasm.
Barbara and Tony Frais maintained a keen interest in the progress of the Group even after they retired. They continued to accompany the Scouts on a few of their summer camps, notably those in the Isles of Scilly. Sadly, Tony Frais passed away in October 2009.
In the late seventies, our Scouts camped in Holland and made contact with a Dutch Group. A great friendship developed and two years later the two Groups decided to enter a twinning arrangement. The relationship developed so well that our Group was re-registered at Scout H.Q. to include the Dutch name. Permission was granted to wear the Dutch name on our uniforms. Frequent joint camps and visits have continued and family hospitality on both sides of the North Sea are greatly enjoyed.
Both Cub Packs continue to thrive as a succession of parents, ex-parents and old boys generously volunteer their time as leaders. Current Cub leaders are ex-Hall boy Ian Green (Akela Black Pack), Fiona Green (ex-Hall parent), Mouli Gani and David Snijders who are current parents.
The Scout Troop is run by Ian Frais, assisted by Sara Antunes. We also have Young Leaders who are ex-Hall Scouts now in senior school.
A Group Scout Executive meets once a term to discuss matters relating to the running of the group, and is made up of current and ex-Hall parents, as well as a representative from the school:
Group Chairman: Philip Heyes
Group Secretary: Nici Audhlam-Gardiner
Group Treasurer: Cameron Chartouni
Membership Secretary: Sarah Auerbach
Group Scout Leader: Mei Ling Routley
In 2004 the Group celebrated its 80th Anniversary. Archive material of the Group dating back to the late 1960s and early 1970s can be found at Burgh House Museum, New End Square, Hampstead, London NW3 1LT http://www.burghhouse.org.uk. An annual report has also appeared in the school magazine, of which samples from 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1991 are reproduced here.
In 2012 the Group celebrated Ian Frais’s 30 years in Scouting. We are of course looking forward to celebrating the Group’s 95th Anniversary in 2019!