Most of the information in this summarised version has been taken from the full length history of Staplegrove Scout Group, researched and written by Martin Allen. To read the full history of our group, by kind permission of Martin Allen, please click here: 'Staplegrove Scout Group- Village History'
The first recorded reference to Scouts in Staplegrove was an event on 9th October 1909, 2 years after Baden-Powell’s experimental camp on Brownsea Island. Troops from Staplegrove, Wilton, Queens College and Pitminster were recorded as being present, but there seems to have been no formal Troop number or name, so they were probably operating as enthusiastic kids rather than as a led Scout Troop.
The first ‘real’ troop was formed in 1932, as the 35th Taunton (Staplegrove), meeting in the stable block of what was then the Rectory, and has now been converted to Cloisters. The Rev J Storey was instrumental in forming the Group, along with other groups for members of the village, and donated the use of the stable as a meeting place. After the Scout Troop left the Rectory stables they moved, in 1935, to a piece of land at Westerkirk, thanks to Lt-Commander Campbell-Holmes. He allowed the Troop an area of land to build on and the use of his paddock, which is the area of land that the scout hut is situated on now.
The ownership of Westerkirk changed hands and in 1963 Miss Williams left Westerkirk to return to Falmouth and with that the land on which the scout hut stands was formally gifted to the Group. There is a plaque to commemorate this on the wall of the hut to this day, and it is good to say that the donated land is still being used for the purpose for which the gift was intended almost 50 years later!
During the intervening years there have been a huge number of leaders joining and leaving the Scout Group. Also different sections have come and gone, mainly due to the demands from the fluctuating numbers of youngsters in our village. The sections have also experienced various changes including: -the names of the sections (‘Wolf Pack’, the Rover Scout Section etc) -uniforms have also altered (different coloured neckerchiefs and where have those green ‘garter tabs’ gone?) -the badges and awards have also changed dramatically (the tenderfoot award, the bronze, silver and gold awards have disappeared and now the badges are made mainly out of cloth rather than enamel)
In 1971, the 35th Taunton (Staplegrove) group merged with the North Taunton Scout Group and the Group became known as ‘North Taunton (Staplegrove). According to records, in 1981, there was a split up between the newly formed North Taunton Scout Group and Staplegrove went their own separate way and formally took control of their own headquarters again (officially this was recorded as: 3 wooden huts, worth nothing!)
The present scout hut was officially opened on 23rd September 1983. In the spring of 1997 the saggy-old ceiling in the hut was removed, and the whole hut re-roofed with the help of a grant from the National Lottery. The hut instantly became warmer and lighter, but also noisier as the old roof tiles proved to have been the only sound absorbing surface in the hall, so every little footstep now echoes around the hut! In recent years many alterations have taken place to the hut and a garage has also been built (from the proceeds of one of our annual bonfire and firework displays) to store much of our camping equipment. As our ‘unique hut’ is now showing its age, I am sure there will be many more ‘first aid and patch-up jobs’ required before the inevitable and difficult decision will have to be made…. Do we keep repairing or do we knock it down and build another Scout Hut? At least we have a permanent base that we can call home - on a small piece of land; in the middle of the village; alongside our famous ‘ wood’ that was kindly donated to Staplegrove Scout Group all those year ago, by Miss Williams. Hopefully, Scouting will continue in the village of Staplegrove well into the next century?!