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The Rushden Echo & Argus, 1st December 1939, transcribed by Gill Hollis.
Rushden Stronghold of Scouting

New Headquarters Opened by County Commissioner

Courageous Policy

Rushden’s Boy Scouts at last have the headquarters for which they have striven so long. A solid looking building, it stands just off Skinner’s Hill, on the site of the original headquarters, and was declared open on Saturday afternoon by Lieut. Colonel Frank Penn, M.C., the County Commissioner. It now remains for the Scouts to raise approximately £555 in order to pay off the remainder of their debt, a task in which, they believe, they will have the support of the public of Rushden.

Before the opening of the headquarters, Scouts, Cubs, and Guides paraded from the Station-approach, those taking part being the 1st, 2nd, 3rd,4th and 6th, Rushden, 1st Higham Ferrers, 1st Chelveston, and 1st Newton Bromshold Boy Scouts troops, each troop being accompanied by Wolf Cubs, and the 1st and 2nd Rushden Girl Guide companies.

As the nearby church clock chimed the hour of three, the colours (a Union Jack and a green and gold Scout pennant) were broken by Dr. D. G. Greenfield, the key of the building then being handed to the opener Councillor W. E. Capon. The door was unlocked and the building entered.

Scouting Value

Home Close Cottages
Home Close cottages belonged to the Rushden Hall Estate. The new Scout Headquarters was built on this site.

The area now covered by Orbit Tyres was used as a bus park by United Counties, before they built a new depot in Newton Road.

The Scouts used the ground as a parade area to form-up before church parades or town carnival events and to practise marching.

Dr. D. G. Greenfield (president of the Rushden Boy Scouts Association) presided over the proceedings, and others on the platform were Lieut.-Colonel Penn, Mr. R. Cook (Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts), Mr. T. Baxter (Assistant District Commissioner for Cubs), Mr. F. E. Preston (District Commissioner), Mr. D. Winters (Assistant District Commissioner), Councillor W. E. Capon (chairman of the Rushden Boy Scouts Association), Mr. R. B. Cave (treasurer), Mrs. D. Winters (secretary), Mrs. E. A. Sugars (wife of the Urban Council chairman), Mr. O. Claridge, Mr. B. Marriott and Mr. O. A. H. Muxlow. The colours were grouped on either side of the platform.

The chairman said he was sure it was a very happy day for Rushden Scouts because they had around them the building for which they had striven for a long time. He was one of those who were fully convinced on the value of scouting. He felt that everybody in the country should, before they had the right to full citizenship, perform some from of service to the country, such as scouting.

Dr. Greenfield went on to say that he had felt for a long time that they should have a hall. They had taken their courage into their hands some time ago, and he was perfectly certain that in trying to clear the debt they would have a very generous response from the people of Rushden, because so many people felt that the Scouts were a very great asset to the town.

“Show” District

Lieut.-Colonel Penn described the new building as “a most splendid thing.” “Those of you who remember it as it was before,” he went on, “will see the difference of the present building.”

He had been asked to tell them something about scouting, but he absolutely refused to do so because he thought the people of Rushden already knew something about the subject. This fact was evident from the number of members the troops had, and from the way they carried on.

Rushden was one of the show districts in Northamptonshire so far as scouting went. In 1934 there were 161 Scouts in Rushden; in 1939 they had 311 – an increase of about 150. this increase had taken place under most difficult circumstances.

In many parts of the country, unfortunately, scouting was going down, but not in Rushden. They had 140 Cubs, which meant that they would have something to work on if the number of Scouts weakened.

Mrs. Sugars said that her husband wished her to apologise for his absence. He had visited the new building earlier in the day and thought they were to be congratulated on having such a splendid headquarters. He wished to thank the officers and Scouts for the many services they had rendered since the outbreak of war.

Second to None

Mr. R. Cook stated that during his travels he had from time to time heard the opinion that scouting was falling off owing to lack of leadership and support. Rushden, however, instead of moaning about it, had got on with the job and was training a body of scoutmasters second to none in the county. The new building would ensure that they were safely anchored in the town.

The total cost of the building and equipment stated Councillor W. E. Capon, would be about £700. They had had a good send-off with £100 from the Parents’ Committee, including £50 from an anonymous donor. Since then they had received other gifts bringing the total up to about £185. It would be necessary, on occasions, to organise events in the town in order to pay off the remaining debt.

A gift of £10 10s was then presented on behalf of the 2nd Rushden Boy Scouts Parents’ Committee, and a gift of £1 5s by Brownie Marion Winters. A collection was taken in aid of the building fund.

A vote of thanks to the opener and chairman was proposed by Mr. T. Baxter and seconded by Mr. F.E. Preston, who referred to the generosity of the Parents’ Committee.

Scouts and Guides who had taken part in the ceremony were at a camp fire concert which was held in the evening under the direction of Mr. W. S. Jarvis. A social evening, arranged by the Parents’ Committee, followed.

On Parade! The new HQ, behind Orbit Tyres.
Scout Headquarters 1939
Photograph taken from the Church tower
shows the building now hemmed in (2008)

A double-decker standing on the parking area c1950. This is where the scouts paraded until United Counties gave up the space, and it was sold to Orbit Tyres in the 1960s.
News Echo, Thursday March 18th 1976, transcribed by Kay Collins

Scouts’ HQ to double in size
Work on a major scheme that will virtually double the size of a scout district headquarters is expected to start by the end of next month.

The scheme, for the Rushden and District HQ in Skinners Hill, Rushden, aims to extend the present main hall, provide better committee rooms and generally improve washing and toilet facilities. Contracts for the building work went out to tender last week.

A special committee Scout Headquarters Appeal – Headquarters Extension (SHARE), set up last year has already raised £14,000 towards the cost. This includes grants and contributions from the scouts district fund.

Mr Alec Coggins, chairman of SHARE, said it was expected that the committee would continue to raise cash funds for another 18 months, although funds were now sufficient for building work to start.

The headquarters currently serves more than 500 scouts and cub scouts in the Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Raunds and Irchester area.

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