The history of scouts in Hontion

An old photo of the Honiton Scouts

An old photo of the Honiton Scouts - Credit: Honiton Museum

Margaret Lewis, curator of Honiton Museum, writes for the Herald.

Margaret Lewis (outside the Honiton Museum) is keen for the building to host the town's new TIC. mhh

Margaret Lewis (outside the Honiton Museum) is keen for the building to host the town's new TIC. mhh 25-16TI 2287. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Colonel Bernard chaired a meeting in November 1910, when it was unanimously agreed to form a troop of Boy Scouts in Honiton.

The headquarters were to be at Mr Mutter’s Hall, later called the Drill Hall in Kings Street. Richard Marker of Coombe was elected as president and Edward Marker and C Dean were appointed scoutmasters.

Within a month twenty seven boys were sworn in. General Sir Richard Harrison addressed them saying “The boys should always be kind and humane and assist people every way. Especially they must render aid in the time of accidents and help the afflicted.”

A logbook which records Honiton Boy Scout troop events between 1936 – 1941 has just been donated to the Museum Collection.

The most interesting entries are:

“Skipper officially announced that the headquarters was now our own property, the generous gift of the landlord Mr Cottrell of Marwood House. We are at present working at full steam to get it spick and span for the opening ceremony which is hoped to take place soon.”

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“Thursday, December 3, 1936 was a red letter day for the 1st Honiton Troop, for it marked the handing over of the Old Drill Hall in Dowell Street for use as our Headquarters."

A large gathering attended the ceremony led by Colonel A. Acland. Mr Cottrell was unwell, so his son represented him. After the dignitaries‘ speeches the Reverend Fane de Salis dedicated the building.

The entertainment included The Wolf Cubs Grand Howl, an investiture ceremony when Reggie Thomas was invested, and a lantern lecture illustrating the Honiton Scout Camps from 1924 onwards.

Mr Tucker worked the slides and Scoutmaster Lane gave a commentary. The evening concluded with camp songs and ‘God Save the King.’

Francis Cottrell was born in Uffculme in 1851 and he became a successful builder.

He ran an extensive business in Middlesex for over fifty years.

One of the highlights of his career was building the palatial Y.M.C.A. club at Hornsey, which was opened by the Duke of Connaught. Many Honiton charities benefitted from Mr Cottrell’s generosity.

When he died in in Marwood House in 1940 he left £100 to Honiton Nursing Association; £100 to the Honiton Y.M.C.A. and £100 to Honiton District Boy Scouts’ Association.