Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Something For The Boys

Our Sepia Saturday photo prompt this week is a group of scouts. It’s a hundred years since the scouts and guides movement began so this was a fitting choice. At that time my grandfather and his brother were committed members of the Boys Life Brigade, a Christian youth organisation which formed after the original Boys Brigade 

The latter had begun in 1883 and Baden Powell, who was the Vice-President, used its influence to promote the idea of scouting and outdoor pursuits. The Boys Life Brigade was a similar movement to Boys Brigade, but the organisation objected to the dummy rifle drills and indeed any representation of weapons. The section for 8-12 year olds was known as the Life Boys for many years before being restyled as the Junior section. The Wolf Cubs of the Boy Scouts catered for younger members and so demand had also grown within the Boys Life Brigade.


I wrote about Granddad and his brother in a previous post, 'Drum Roll Please’. in which my own father also featured due to the drum connection, but I didn’t post a picture of Dad in his Life Boys uniform. So, to make amends, here it is. A simple rosette was worn as an identifying emblem in the early days and this later extended to a belt, haversack and pillbox cap worn over the boy’s everyday clothing.

I asked Dad what he remembered of his Life Boy days  and he told me that there were always plenty of opportunities to take part in competitive sports and gym circuits. This would have suited him down to the ground as he always excelled in these subjects. He also remembers playing the kettle drum, which began his lifelong love of the instrument, which he went on to play in RAF bands. Another memory Dad has of his membership, is that on Friday evenings they were allowed to attend the local baths where for one old penny they could have a proper bath. Mum also recalls that this was a great privilege as at that time families would use a tin bath. It must have been a luxury to have a cubicle of your own and running water. Mum remembers paying three pence, so it seems there was some sort of discount for the Life Boys members.






Mum was in the Girl Guides but was never a brownie. She attended St.Saviour’s Sunday School in Nottingham, where her aunt was a teacher and I suppose there was only so much free time that youngsters had in those days. She remembers going on outings and picnics with the Sunday School, but when she eventually joined the 3rd Nottingham Castlegate Girl Guides Company, she threw herself into all the activities on offer. Mum has always been a joiner-in, and still is at the age of 91. Some readers of this blog may remember her from her Red Cross and Dramatic Society activities whilst a teenager. She went on to become Patrol Leader, but for some reason, my grandparents wouldn’t give permission for Mum to attend camp. I’m sure she’d have made the most of it. There are no pictures of Mum in Guides uniform but she does still have her badges.


My older brother was a Boy scout in the fifties when we lived in Kendal in the Lake District. I have a hazy memory of visiting him when he went to camp at Tarn Hows. And here he is with his friend about to go canoeing - I’m assuming this as they aren’t wet yet!


My brother also kindly sent me this scan which is the  only picture of him in his uniform which we can lay our hands on at the moment, but it’s how I remember seeing him when I was a little girl and he was my big brother. He is eight years older than me so I wasn’t really a suitable playmate for him but I remember him patiently teaching me boyscout campfire songs .

"Ging Gang Gooly Gooly Gooly Gooly Watcha Ging Gang Goo, Ging Gang Goo.”

Ah, they really don’t write them like that any more!

For more campfire curiosities trek over to Sepia Saturday where our Scoutmaster Alan will introduce you to some more jolly boys and girls.

16 comments:

  1. Great post! All the boys in my family went to BB. It was founded by a Scot - Sir William Alexander Smith in Glasgow.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  2. I don't think there was a BB where I lived. Great post Nell. Hope I'm still joining in at 91!

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  3. Hi Nell, this was awesome. How we take our baths for granted these days. I enjoyed your pictures and scouting stories this morning. Those boys in the last picture look pretty proud of themselves!

    Kathy M.

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  4. Wonderful bit of history. That Gooli-Gooli song sounds familiar. Now it's going to worry me all day until I figure it out.

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  5. Your Dad looks really cute, though I am always amused at hats that are worn on the side of the head rather than on the top. You seem to be the only member of your family not belonging to scouts or a similar group.

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  6. That photo of your Dad is adorable. I love the hat!

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  7. He looks like a bellboy, new at his job, with his hat on the side. Great photos.

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  8. Spiffy outfit your dad had there. In digging through a digital archive, I came across illustrations of the Girl Guides. They were featured on tobacco cards!

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  9. They really don't write songs like that these days, thank goodness. Great post!

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  10. How amazing that you still have that darling photo of your dad. That uniform is so cute. And that hat!
    And to think your mom still has her g.s. Pins and badges. What treasures.
    Nancy

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  11. Love the pill box hat, certainly adds to the cute factor. Your photo of your Mum's Guiding memorabilia (marvellous she still has it) reminded me I have my Aunt's girl guide penknife.

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  12. That song does seem familiar. No, the one I'm remembering went "Zoom gully gully..."

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  13. Yes, our posts are like two bookends, two little lads wearing pill box hats. I do like the vision of your Mum and Dad waiting for the weekly call in order to see what the next Sepia Saturday subject will be and ready to dig deep into their memories. It is, the very essence of what Sepia Saturday is all about.

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  14. Nice to see a family being part of a tradition. Thanx 4 sharing!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  15. The pill box hat is just so cute - great post and so wonderful as always that you have these pictures and family history :o) Scarlett x

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  16. My dad taught me Ging gang gooly gooly! Isn't there a bit that goes 'Haylah, haylah, shaylah'? A great gibberesh song. I was in Brownies and Guides, loved it. I think I still have my golden guides badge like your mum's.

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