1909 Crystal Palace Scout Rally
The Crystal Palace Rally was an historic gathering of Boy Scouts and unofficial "Girl Scouts" at the Crystal Palace in London on Saturday, 4 September 1909. The rally demonstrated the rapid popularization of Scouting with an estimated 11,000 boys attending with the prominent presence of Girl Scouts also being significant for the start of Girl Guides/Scouts. The rally was held a year and a half after the publication of Scouting for Boys and The Scout magazine, and two years after Robert Baden-Powell's demonstration Brownsea Island Scout Camp.
Some controversy occurred with attempts to exclude girls and Boy Scouts from the British Boy Scouts, Church Scout Patrols and other Scouts not registered with what would become the Boy Scouts Association, leading to challenges regarding the 4th Scout Law that "A Scout is ... a brother to every other Scout".
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.
Several hundred Girl Scouts also attended, including one group under their Patrol Leader Marguerite de Beaumont. They dressed in the Girl Scout uniform as given in the Scout handbook, and called themselves "Girl Scouts". This was the first time Baden-Powell was able to discern clearly how many girls were interested in Scouting, although he knew there were several thousand. The media coverage of this rally, along with that in "The Spectator" magazine in October-December 1909 initiated by Miss Violet Markham, led to the formal founding in 1910 of Girl Guides under his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell. Girls had been part of the movement almost as soon as it began. A contingent of girls from Peckham Rye spoke to Baden-Powell at the Rally. In December 1909 Baden-Powell decided to create a similar but separate programme for girls. 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?", though it is a curiosity, as in those days many girls and young women belonged to bicycle clubs. 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.
Attendees who later influenced Scouting and Guiding included Nesta G. Ashworth née Maude, later instrumental in the setup of Lone Guides, Rotha Lintorn-Orman and Nella Levy, a pioneer of Guiding in Australia.
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- "History of the Girl Scouts Movement". Girl Scouts of the Philippines. 1997. Archived from the original on 5 March 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2007.
- Headquarters Gazette 1909
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- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 April 2011. Retrieved 2009-08-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)