31st Midlothian Scouts

The foundation of one of the troops - then the 31st Midlothian Scout Group - was laid in 1924 when the Scout Troop was started in St Margaret's Parish Church hall. The Scoutmaster was William Steven Junior of the Police Station, Juniper Green and there were 21 Scouts. Later on W J D Graham of St Anne's Mount became Assistant Scoutmaster.

In 1926 the minister of St Margaret's Church, W B Buchanan, took over as Scoutmaster followed by J A Muirhead and the Troop membership rose to 32.

Cubs were started the same year, 1926, by the Cub Leader, Miss H M Clark, of Hillegarth, Juniper Green and the Assistant Cubmistress was Miss D Clark of Heath Cottage, Juniper Green.

he first trek in 1926 was the subject of a postcard when 10 Scouts and a leader left from St Margaret's Church for a camp at Cockburnhill (see the image above).

St Boswells was chosen for the 1927 Scout camp. In April 1928, as quoted from the Troop log, "the great 1928 Scout Display took place. The village and all inhabited places for miles around were dragged to the place of entertainment. The hall was packed by hundreds upon hundreds of old and young". The concert, in the Parish Church hall, raised nearly £20 which constituted a substantial donation to the Manse Fund. The weekend following the concert six of the Scouts and Assistant Scoutmaster Bogie went to camp at Stoneypath, West Linton.

The following weekend the Troop was at camp again at Burnwynd, along with the Colinton and Currie Troops. This was the first time the three Troops had camped together.

The next significant event in the Troop's history was the 3rd World Jamboree at Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, Liverpool in 1929. Six 31st Scouts attended: Patrol Leaders Dea and Montgomery, Seconds Bruin and Traill, and Scouts Campbell and Brown.

Diamond Scout ReunionThe Group started Rover Scouts in 1929. The following year the Rover Scouts and Scouts went on "The German Trip" to Hamburg from Leith in July/August and according to the logbook had a fantastic time. There were 21 in the party.

The Group continued to grow in numbers and the Rover Scouts took over a joiner's building on the present site on Lanark Road West and worked hard altering and cleaning the premises.

In 1939 the Second World War saw many of the Rover Scouts volunteer for the forces and leave within the next few months. During the war years the Cubs and Scouts kept going but, with leaders leaving, numbers declined and at one time the Troop consisted of only five Scouts. By this time, the Group had moved from the Parish Church hall up to the Rover Den in Lanark Road West.

The Group eventually built up and early in 1950 there were 29 Scouts, 28 Cubs and five Rover Scouts. Members of the Troop began to gain many badges and in 1951 John Black became the Group's first King's Scout. The Cubs had their first camp at Boghall and the Scouts camped at Biggar.

The first Queen's Scout Award was presented to Donald Woodburn in 1956 and he was followed by Robert Fordyce and Ronnie Nicol.

In 1954 the pageant, "A Midlothian Story", was performed at Laurieston Castle in the presence of the Chief Scout, Lord Rowallan. The 31st Cubs opened the pageant and the Scouts took part in the Battle of Rullion Green, with others involved in a model camp.

In 1957 the 50th anniversary of Scouting was celebrated with a Searchlight Cavalcade at Edinburgh Castle and again the Group played a prominent part in the proceedings. The same year the Troop visited Holland and the neckerchief was changed from khaki with a black border to maroon for the trip. The addition of the Juniper Bush to the neckerchief was made the same year.

The next to become a Queen's Scout was Mike Barrie in 1959.

The current hall, built on the site of the old joiner's premises, was opened in 1971 after a huge amount of work by a small group of parents. In 1984 a diamond jubilee reunion was held and some of the old troop met up again after many years' absence.

Trips abroad have continued to be a feature of the 31st programme including visits to Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Arizona in the USA. Leaders and young people have also represented the 31st at World Jamborees in Australia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Chile and England in 2007 - the centenary of Scouting.

Among the Silver Acorns awarded to leaders for especially distinguished service to Scouting, two were presented to Vi Goodall and Muriel Mitchell.

The group currently has a Beaver Colony, a Cub pack and a Scout troop.

 

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