Girlguiding Radlett District 1919-2019
The first Guide unit in Radlett was registered on 10th October 1919 under the captaincy of Mrs Betty Twinch with the doctor’s wife, Mrs Cooper, acting as District Commissioner. Two medical students, Win Everett and Billy Sanderson, used to cycle over from Elstree to help, and it was help indeed, for Win was the daughter of Lord Baden Powell’s right hand man Sir Percy Everett. She remained an enthusiastic member of the Trefoil Guild well into her late life.
Business in India took Mrs Twinch away after fourteen months but she returned in 1925 to start the highly successful Ranger Company. Meanwhile in 1922, Miss Muriel Wheatcroft, who had been guiding in Derbyshire, moved to Radlett to look after her brother’s motherless daughters and she was to be at the heart of the movement in Radlett for the next 33 years during most of which she was District Commissioner.
She started a holiday company in 1924 for the boarding school girls whom she saw as future leaders and, by this time, there were several Brownie packs in the area including 1st and 2nd Aldenham. Soon after the new Headquarters in Watling Street was opened in1926, there were 12 units in the District:
1st Radlett Rangers
1st 2nd and 3rd Radlett, 1st and 2nd Aldenham, 1st Park Street Guides
1st, 2nd and 3rd Radlett and 1st and 2nd Aldenham Brownies
Since then, Bricket Wood and Shenley Guides and Brownies have been included in the District at various times, and Rainbows began in 1991.
During the 1939-1945 war, Radlett Guides collected waste paper, sent magazines to the troops, lent their camp equipment for a canteen for those who had lost their homes to bombs, and continued to learn Morse Code, first aid and message-carrying to prepare them for future service. They welcomed evacuees into their midst forming 4th Radlett Guides to cater for them and including 42nd Croydon Guides (a school evacuated to Edge Grove) and 1st Tufnell Park Rangers in their District Activities. In 1947 Phyliss Landragin became the first Queen’s Guide.
In 1985, amongst numerous Girlguiding National 75th Anniversary Celebrations, our President HRH Princess Margaret lit the Guiding Flame at Buckingham Palace. Weekly meetings continued as before with the 2nd Radlett Brownies knitting blankets for the orphaned victims of the Columbian volcano disaster and the Guides relishing the results of their patrol time cooking skills. A Festival of Praise was held in St Albans Abbey where Radlett and Shenley Guides were in the orchestra.
By 1989, there were six Young Leaders in the District and this tradition of girls coming back to help as Young Leaders and Leaders has continued since then. In June of this year, the Brownies celebrated their own 75th birthday with a party. In November, the Trefoil Guild invited current members to a luncheon to celebrate 70 years of Girlguiding in Radlett.
In May 1991, the 1st Radlett Rainbow Unit opened. We now have over 60 members in our Rainbow units with many more wishing to join.
After years of planning, the official opening of the new Guide Headquarters, Woodland Lodge, in Scrubbitts Park Road was held in September 1992. The guests of honour were Blue Peter Presenter, John Leslie, and County Commissioner, Mrs Barbera Hurford. All the units gave demonstrations in the hall and there were challenges for the girls and a campfire to round off the proceedings.
1994 marked the 75th Anniversary of Girlguiding and Scouting in Radlett, with a very successful Country Fair on Christchurch field followed by a reunion buffet lunch in November which was attended by ladies who had been Guides in every decade since 1919.
Activities during the millennium year came thick and fast, culminating in the Remembrance Day Parade.
And so onto the 21st Century…..
In more recent times, both Leaders and Girls have continued to learn and practise countless life skills, whilst developing friendships which we hope will last a lifetime. Opportunities for Girlguiding camps and holidays both nationally and internationally in destinations as far afield as Iceland, Switzerland, Scotland, USA, Japan, Uganda, Austria, India, Mexico, and Sweden help our members develop as confident young women who we very much hope will continue to shape the future.
Our recent Vote 100 event and community poppy display in Tykeswater reinforced Girlguiding Radlett District’s commitment to the local community and, as we embark on our own Centenary this year, we have plenty of plans in place to make more lasting memories for our members and the community alike.
Girlguiding continues to grow and thrive in Radlett. We are a movement for all girls, whatever their background or circumstances. We offer them fun, exciting activities and the chance to make lifelong friends. We give girls their own space – a place where they can really be themselves with other girls and share the experience of growing up as a girl in today’s world. We give girls a voice along with the confidence, skills and information to make informed decisions. We change as the lives of girls change and are relevant to today’s girls because our girls matter!
Rainbows (aged 5-7) have their first sleepovers, Brownies (aged 7-10) learn body confidence, Guides (aged 10-14) abseil down walls they have climbed themselves and Rangers (14-18) have amazing experiences no other organisation can offer, travelling the world, learning to lead, raising their voices on issues important to them whilst building their CV.
Girlguiding Radlett District is fortunate to have a group of fantastic trained volunteers and new volunteers are always welcome and receive full training and support.
So Join US – both girls and adults – in this our Centenary year. We want to share the fun we have together. Girlguiding’s website contains all of the information you need to get you started www.girlguiding.org.uk We look forward to welcoming you!