8th Holborn was formed in 1908, making us among the first Scout Groups to be registered.

Founded on the street corners of Holborn, the group is one of the last remaining of the ‘cosmopolitan and somewhat unruly’ Holborn District, which was the source of the original Gang Shows and many gallantry medals during the Second World War.

8th Holborn at camp at Totteridge, 1934

We are currently working to compile a better history of the Group. If you were a member or leader at the group please do get in touch and help us to fill in the missing gaps.

Our official name is 8th Holborn (Lady Peat’s Own) Scout Group.

You can read more about our very long association with Coram’s Fields here.

25 thoughts on “History

  1. I was interested to come across your website, because my grandfather Percy Gillbe was one of the first Scoutmasters in Holborn, receiving his ‘Assistant Scoutmaster’s ‘warrant on 4.10.1910.(which I still have today) However it only says ‘Holborn’on it, and not which Group. I have photos of his of a Holborn District camp in 1910, although more mention is made of the leaders from 1st and 2nd Holborn and 7th, rather than 8th. He later became involved with the 10th Finsbury – (I think this may have been the Group at the ‘Holy Redeemer in Exmouth Market?) I have his Scouting photos from the 1920’s also, and I have a later ‘Warrant of Honorary Rank’ when he was Cubmaster of the 10th Finsbury dated 30/9/1938.
    All three of his sons, including my father, were in the Finsbury cubs and scouts, in the 1920’s and early 30’s (In the 1980’s I continued the tradition by becoming a Cub Leader in Hertfordshire where I now live.) I send my congratulations to you all on your centenary!

  2. I was a member of the 8th City of London from 1947 until 1956/57. Rev Norman Bagely was the GSM and Harry “Slim” Cotton was the SM. Within the Group at the time, were Ken Krelle, who took over as SM when Slim Cotton died. Sid Holyland was also a member. He was my Bestman at my wedding. Sid also did much charity work for Rev David Shephard when he Bishop of Southwark. If this is of help in your history, please get in touch

  3. I have been a member of Canberra Gangshow for many years in Australia, its nice to learn where it all began. i am now a member of Well Station Scout Group in Canberra as a cub leader in training.

  4. I was a member of 8th Holborn from 1935 until WW11 (1940). Before the Scout and Guide HQ was built at Coram’s Fields we were meeting at various venues. I was a Rover Scout until I joined the RAF. Alf Wingrove was Scout Master and after WW11 he was camp leader at Gillwell , Alf was a dedicated leader and the HQ at Corams Fields was open every night for scouting activities . Jack Olden became Jamboree coordinator at Scout HQ after a superb service spell on Sunderland flying boats.
    Ko Ko Colhoun who was chief Cub at that period was our District Comissioner.
    The 8th including myself were in Ralph Reader’s gang show at the Scala ( 1938)
    which was the last one before WW11, and we had a principle lead in the show.
    From Easter to Autumn we camped at Totteridge.

    We enjoyed the space at Coram’s Fields and there was an indoor swimming pool there which we were allowed to use.
    We had a 8th Holborn reunion 1946/7 and all the returning scouts were home safe from the war. I am still in contact with a John Lacey in Florida who is a retired Episcopalian minister and I met him about 4 years ago.
    I have always been an admirer of Thomas Coram’s noble work and would like to make a donation to keep this charity going.

    Sidney Wood

  5. If you visit the RAF museum at Hendon the Sunderland Flying Boat there was the one that Jack Olden a 8th Holborn scout flew during WW11 from RAF Castle Archdale Northern Ireland It was bought from Norway and restored

    Sidney Wood

  6. I came across your website by chance, and was delighted to read about the 8th Holborn. I lived in Coram Street during the ’50s and early ’60s and Coram Fields was my ‘patch’. I was a member of the 8th Holborn Cubs (tawny six) and the 8th Holborn Scouts (panther / springbok). Regrettably I never quite made Queen’s Scout but have fond memories of the time and of the camps. We be of one blood, ye and I.

  7. I have just discovered your website after googling “Alf Wingrove”. Alf went onto becme DC for Chingford District and I am very pleased to say that his great niece is a Beaver Scout in Chingford District.

  8. Thanks Chris

    Delighted to hear that a Wingrove is carrying on the scout tradition.
    I found an old letter from Jack Olden this week informing us of Alf’s death on the 28th December 1964 after watching the Spurs play at Tottenham.
    He was a great person and devoted his life to the movement.
    The 8th had a great tradition of gang show participation up to 1938 and wartime service by so many of its members

    Sidney Wood

  9. Looking at the posts mentioning my father-in-law Jack Olden and the history of the 8th Holborn. It may be of interest to note that his great grand-daughter is in the 8th Longthorpe Scouts and has just completed her second gang show. Jacks great-grandson is also in Longthorpe Beavers, so long may the tradition continue. Sad to hear about the passing of Peter Collins.

  10. In the ‘History’ photograph of the 1934 Totteridge camp are there any other members of the 8th still around apart from John Lacey and myself?

    Sid Wood

  11. Sid – one of our Assistant Beaver Scout Leaders is going as a member of the International Service Team.

  12. Great to hear that we will have a Holborn representative at the coming jamboree.
    I have a neighbor Boy Scout who will be going with the Northern Ireland contingent of 40 and have been supporting their fund raising .
    I had the privilege of attending the 1937 World Jamboree in Holland with Alf Wingrove Jack Olden and several of those in the Totteridge camp photo in the History section

    Sid Wood

  13. Are there any 8th Holborn members going to the World Jamboree in Japan this Summer?

    If you Google 1937 world scout jamboree Holland, then click Pathe news there is short film on the jamboree ; Baden Powell’s address and a march past which includes the UK contingent and I picked out John Lacey , myself and other members of the 8th.

    Sid Wood

  14. My Grandfather is in this photo! His name is Stanley Newton, he’s now 94! He is an amazing person but unfortunately has dementia. He recongnises himself in this photo but doesn’t remember much else about it.

  15. Hi Melina
    I was at school with your Grandfather and lived in Swinton Street just up from him.
    I am the same age 94 going on 25 but apart from a new heart valve, pacemaker and poor mobility, the legs and back are worn out I am coping. My wife died 3 years ago, I live on my own but can still drive locally to shop and I have 3 wonderful neighbours that keep an eye on me
    In the photo I am in the back row right end leaning into the photo maybe he will recognise me.
    I recognise most of the others especially John Lacey who lives in Florida , he worked in the USA and and Canada and in middle age went into the church, I visited him several years ago but he has dementia which has worsened I lost touch but have traced him again he lives with his wife in care in Tennessee near his daughter. I wrote to them last week and sent a copy of the photo I hope he will recognise himself and others, I will let you know if I hear from him.
    Let me know Melina if your Grandfather remembers me and give him my regards.
    Most of us were in the 1938 gang show and when we had two Scout reunions after WW11 it was great that we all got back home.
    Keep in touch

    Sidney Wood

  16. Dear Sidney,,
    Sadly my Granfather Stanley passed away a few weeks ago. He was living in a home in Exeter. My grandmother is still with us, living on her own in the village of Kenton.
    He did remember you!
    I think it’a remarkable that you are living on your own still and manage to drive!

    I’m sorry I’m just replying now, I hadn’t seen your message till now. My aunt alerted me to it.

  17. Dear Melina.
    I was saddened to hear of your Grandfather’s passing.
    They were happy days in the 8th Holborn and I wonder if there are any others still alive of that era.
    I always enjoy reading about their activities in the newsclips , they seem to be thriving like so many other troops around the country.
    I never had the pleasure of meeting your Grandmother but I wish you botevery happiness over the coming Christmas.
    Keep in touch
    Kindest Regards


  18. Dear Sidney

    During our Summer Camp this year we met a lady – who I think said she was related to you – during our visit to Stone Cross Windmill. If so, it is a small world…

    Scout Leader, 8th Holborn, 2004 to present (and group member since 1990)

  19. Dear Sidney,

    Thank you for your message.
    His funeral is on the 22nd. Would I be able to have your email address?
    I would love to hear about your stories from that time.
    Kind Regards,

  20. Dear Sidney,

    I’m not sure if you read my last message.
    I hope you’re well and had a nice Christmas and New Year.

    My aunt read out some memories about my grandfather at his funeral, and of course the days he spent as a scout featured heavily.

    If you read this I would love to hear some more about that time.



  21. Dear Melinda
    I don’t have your email address, if you let me have it I can give some storiries of the 8th in your Grandfathers and my time.

  22. Reading my grandfather’s letters from 1927-1930s to the person he married Seldon Farmer who was Secretary to Baden-Powell and my grandmother Edith AJ Quinton (known as Quin) was a cub leader, I believe at Holborn from the letters. I wonder if anyone remembers, I understand that Frankie Howerd was there as an attendee too, from family recollections. Wondered if any records still exist, sadly my my mum died in February and clearing her things found these letters! Please get in touch if able to help.

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