[ScoutLogo] 4th Newbury (St. Johns) Scout Group
History Of 4th Newbury (St Johns) Scout Group

The earliest actual record of Scouting at St Johns is recorded in Cosburn's 1921 Newbury & District directory. It lists under St. John's Church a group known as the Boy Scouts Patrol - Leaders being Miss Edgell & Miss H Thoyte, however no other details are listed.

In 1928 a Scout troop the 33rd Newbury (St. John's) was definitely in existence and the Scout Master was Ernest P.C Preston. We believe that Mr Preston worked for Bateman's the opticians in Craven Road Newbury. Records show that the following Scouts were 4 of the original members : Gerry Bradford, Ernie Slater, Norman Knapp and Ron Bolton. The Troop originally held meetings in the Iron Room which was in the grounds of the old St. Johns School. It appears that Mr Preston was particularly keen to teach the Scouts boxing.

In 1928 the 33rd Newbury attended a Jamboree at Stockcross ( Just outside Newbury) where the linked with a Group of Norwegian Scouts. It appears that at the Campfire the two Groups produced possibly Newbury's first sighting of a steel band by turn over their billy cans and playing tunes on them with their knives and forks.

Originally there was no Cub Pack at St. John's however in January 1929 the first Cub meeting was held in the St. John's schoolroom with 4 boys under the leadership of Akela Marjorie Preston (Wife of the Scout Master). The original 4 Cubs were : Reggie Sollis, Eric King, Hector Woodley & Desmond Gibbs. The following week 8 boys attended and from then on they met in the Iron room. It is recorded that Cubs finished after "Grand Howl" at 6.55pm. All the members of the newly formed pack were enrolled on St. George's Day (23rd April 1929)

During the years 1929/1930 the Scout Troop moved meetings to St. Bartholomew's Mission Church in Boundary Road as the majority of the troop lived in this area. The 33rd Newbury Troop and Pack continued until early 1933 when Mr & Mrs Preston left the Newbury area. Although replacements were found the Summer of 1933 was particularly hot and numbers dwindled. By the autumn of that year the group ceased to exist. 1935 saw the revival of interest and membership of the troop under Scout Master F.J Ford who lived in Jubilee Road Newbury. In 1938 the Rev.B Bennett (Assistant Priest at Wash Common) took over running of the Troop. Although no details of the Cub Pack activities are available there is little doubt of its existence during this time. The outbreak of the Second World War saw the closing of both the Troop and Pack.

Early in the 1950's a new Troop and Pack were formed and known as they are today as the 4th Newbury (St. John's) meeting in the Iron Room as before. However under pressure from local Youth Clubs they only survived for a short period.

Both the Pack and Troop were started again in 1987 still as the 4th Newbury (St. Johns). Since then the group has gone through various leader changes, although changes in personnel has not affected the outcome. That of successful and thriving Beaver, Cub and Scout sections providing the chance for youngsters to take part in the Scouting programme.

© 4th Newbury (St. Johns) Scout Group, 2024