History

A little bit about our History:

It is widely known that the first experimental Scout Camp was held on Brownsea Island in Dorset in 1907 by Robert Baden Powell. However, 66th Bath’s history doesn’t quite go back that far, despite there being Scout Groups active in Bath by 1910.

Despite being one of the newer Groups in the district, we do meet in the oldest building though – with parts of our hall dating back to 1817… more about our hall below:

It is intended to fill this out with a greater degree of information throughout 2016 as our research leads to more names, dates and events.

Early Days

1958 – 66th Bath Scout Group is registered with Scouting HQ. Meeting at the Weston Free Church (now the Moravian Church at the far end of the High Street). The Group Scout Master and Cub Leader was Jeanne Arnold

The Group continued to meet at the Free Church until the 1960s

A New Home

In the early 1960s a new school, Weston All Saints, was built on Broadmoor Lane. The existing premises belonging to the School, the Infant and Junior Schools in the High Street, were transferred to the church.

On 5th December 1966 the smaller of the two buildings, the Infant School, was leased to the Scout Association Trust Corporation, for the use of 66th Bath Scout Group, in return for a payment of £1000, along with a yearly rent of 10 shillings. The lease was backdated to 1965, leading to the assumption that the group had been using the hall from 1965 prior to a lease being confirmed. The lease remains valid for 99 years, and will terminate in 2064.

Meanwhile the larger of the two buildings, the Junior School, became the All Saints Centre

18th Bath is Born

In 1982 a new Scout Group was opened in Larkhall, just around the corner from the present 21st Bath. This group, the 18th, was based at (and sponsored by) Claremont Methodist Church. The Group Scout Master was Gerald Kelson. The group appears to have reused a number vacated by a much earlier Scout Group, the original 18th Bath being located in the Percy Institute, the site of the current Percy Centre and Elim Church in Charlotte Street. Although founded in 1924 it is not believed to be related to the later 18th.

The Joining of the Ways

By the 1980s, 66th Bath Scout Group had declined in size, and two key decisions were made. The first was to sublet the Scout Hall premises during the weekdays to Pinocchio Day Nursery (1982), and then in 1994 the group merged with 18th Bath which had also seen a decline in numbers, creating “66th18th Bath” and meeting in 66th’s HQ in the high street, Weston.

The Group Scout Leader of the new combined group was Rhys Williams.

Decline

Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s the group was in decline. By 2007 the group consisted of two leaders, Rhys Williams and Graham Sharman (who had recently joined the group following the closure of the City Centre unit), and around 7 young people in a combined Cub-Scout Section, with no Beaver Colony.

The decision was made by the District Commissioner, Rod Habicht, in 2007, just as Scouting was celebrating its centenary, to close the remaining section, and the group became Dormant, acting simply as a management committee for the property. One of the final Cubs was a boy called Ben Brook, who is now a leader with the group.

Revival

In 2011 a new District Commissioner, Steve Collins, made the positive decision to attempt to restart Scouting in Weston Village. The neighbouring group, 69th, had extensive waiting lists, and a Wednesday Cub Pack was opened at 66th, initially led by Mark Erickson (ADC Cubs) and a succession of assistant leaders. Beavers quickly followed on a Thursday night, initially lead by Roger Peabody and Chris Donovan.

In 2012, Dan Spencer replaced Mark Erickson as Cub Leader, initially for an interim six month period before moving permanently to the group. In September 2013 the new Scout Troop opened on a Thursday Night led by Kat Reynolds, Rhys Topping and Jon Wiltshire.

Growth and Progression

By Christmas 2013 the group had grown to over 60 young people, and waiting lists were beginning to develop for the lower sections. A new Group Chair, Fran Parsons, and Group Treasurer, Vicky Davis, had been appointed. However, we still had no permanent GSL with Deputy District Commissioner Simon Crowden acting as GSL for the group. In January 2014 Dan Spencer was appointed as Group Scout Leader.

2014 onwards has seen the group continue to grow with ambition. The launch of a second Beaver Colony in September 2014 was the first commitment to “doubling” the Group’s sections, taking our eventual membership to around 160 young people. November 2015 saw the second stage of this, the new Tuesday Cub Pack, open, and the group already has plans for a new Monday Scout Troop in September 2016.

Home for another 50 Years

In 2014 the Group began a massive fundraising and building programme designed to make Weston Scout Hall fit to be our home for another 50 years. In July 2014 the Nursery School moved out of the building, allowing former storage cupboards to be converted into office and meeting space, as well as allowing the Scout Group more storage, better use of outdoor areas and the hall, and the ability to use the facilities during the daytime.

several years of the group being dormant, had led to the building being in a sorry state. In 2015 major repairs were carried out to make the roof watertight, and the electrics and heating were overhauled. A new commercial kitchen was also installed, along with new flooring throughout the kitchen and corridor.