1909 Crystal Palace Scout Rally

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1909 Crystal Palace Scout Rally

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting, organized the first rally for all Scouts at the Crystal Palace in London on Saturday, 4 September,[1] 1909, precursor to the later World Scout Jamborees. The gathering attracted 11,000 boys. This was only a year after the publication of "Scouting for Boys", and only two years after his first experimantal Brownsea Island Scout Camp attended by fewer than 25 boys. This rapid expansion shows how popular the innovation was.

The concept of the Scouts' Own, a simple, non-denominational religious ceremony, was also introduced by H. Geoffrey Elwes at this rally.[2]

Members of the local Scout Troop, 2nd Croydon (1st Crystal Palace Patrol), formed part of the flag party for Princess Christian, the member of the Royal family in attendance. As a result, the Group, which is still in existence, has the right to call themselves Princess Christian's Own. The Group still meet near Crystal Palace Park and regularly use Crystal Palace park for Scouting activities.[3]


A number of girls also attended, dressed in uniform and calling themselves "Girl Scouts". This was the first time Baden-Powell was able to discern how many girls were interested in Scouting, leading to the formal founding in 1910 of Girl Guides under his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell.[4][5] Girls had wanted to become part of the movement almost as soon as it began. A contingent of girls from Pinkneys Green, Berkshire spoke to Baden-Powell at the Rally and asked him to let girls be Scouts. Baden-Powell decided to create a similar program for them. In those days, for girls to camp and hike was not common, as this extract from the Scout newspaper shows: "If a girl is not allowed to run, or even hurry, to swim, ride a bike, or raise her arms above her head, how can she become a Scout?"[6] In 1910, Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell introduced the Girl Guides, in some other countries called Girl Scouts, a parallel movement for girls. Agnes Baden-Powell became the first president of the Girl Guides.[7]

Attendees who later had an impact on Scouting and Guiding included Nesta G. Ashworth née Maude,[8] later instrumental in the setup of Lone Guides[9] and Nella Levy, a pioneer of Guiding in Australia.

To commemorate the event, Girlguiding UK open a Centenary Maze in Crystal Palace Park in September 2009.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0. 
  2. ^ "Guides Own". Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  3. ^ http://1stpurley.org.uk/?page_id=116
  4. ^ "Baden-Powell and the Crystal Palace Rally". Baden-Powell Photo Gallery. Pinetree web. 1997. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2007. 
  5. ^ "History of the Girl Scouts Movement". Girl Scouts of the Philippines. 1997. Archived from the original on 5 March 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2007. 
  6. ^ Headquarters Gazette 1909
  7. ^ "Girl Guides seek leading light", couriermail.com, 28 February 2009
  8. ^ http://www.bc-girlguides.org/welcometoguiding/history/history.html
  9. ^ http://www.guidesvic.org.au/_uploads/516362_Guiding_Traditions.pdf