To contact Martyn, our archivist, please email him. We love to hear any snippets about our history. To jump straight to the content, click these links:
Message from Martyn:
Welcome to the digital archive of Woodlarks Campsite. Below you’ll find a growing list of links that will turn you into a time traveller!
The physical archive consists of documents, photos, old cine films, annual reports, newsletters, scrapbooks, newspaper cuttings … you get the idea. Some materials date back to the 1930s and are now very delicate, so we’re delighted to be able to share them with you digitally.
Of course, not every page of every newsletter over the last 85 years is available, but we hope that there’s a good selection.
The starting point if you’re just browsing should be the three scrapbooks covering the first 60 years! We must thank the founders of Woodlarks for these wonderful books.
You might then want to look at one or two of the old cine films.
We must also thank our previous Archivists … I’m honoured to have known them all; Hugh ‘Gwidge’ Gwither, Derek Travis and Jim Cooley. Gwidge in particular did a monumental job of collecting and organising almost everything here over a 35 year period. Deep boots to fill! What none of my predecessors were really able to do was share all this wonderful history with everyone. The digital age, and particularly the smart phone has changed all that. You’ll be able to watch a 1936 Woodlarks film wherever you are, to download and read any or all of the 85 Yearbooks, to download pages of interest from the scrapbooks.
Right … there’s more for me to do, so I’ll leave you browsing! Please come back to the page occasionally to see what other gems have been added.
Woodlarks Yearbooks (originally Woodlarks Reports)
Woodlarks Notes 1 2 and 3 – 1946 – Fascinating accounts of starting up again after the war, and preparing to build a swimming pool, the cook house, and to start a residential workshop.
Pathfinders Camp for Girls was started in 1956 by Alexine Strover. From 1965-83 Ali Cann was Camp Leader and here’s a link to her photo albums. The photos are numbered and a listing of dates and names for each photo can be found at the end of the album.
Prince Edward visits Woodlarks – July 2007
Woodlarks Hosts Evacuees – 1939 – Another fascinating glimpse of the efforts that Martyn Strover and others involved with Woodlarks went to in order to provide an evacuation possibility for disabled adults from London. The whole process seems to have begun in Jan 1938 … and on 27th August 1939 the Adventurers Camp was cut short, in order to accept a group of disabled girl evacuees from London.
Many of the early volunteers at Woodlarks during the 1930s were men from Rover Scout Crews. In 1939 they decided to form a special group dedicated to serving at Woodlarks. The first Chairman was ‘Bosun’, otherwise known as C.F.C Steward. The Group holds three Working Parties every year and continues to this day. Bosun served until he passed away in 1950. After his death, his wonderful Scout Staves were presented to the group. During Group meetings the Staves are used to signify the opening and closing of the meeting. Many thanks to Group Member Dave Dawson for tending to the Staves recently.
Here are some photos showing the detailed whittling and decoration on the Staves, and a few fascinating references to Bosun himself found in the archives.
Films are in chronological order where the dates are known. Undated films are at the bottom of the list.
Pioneer Camp late 1950s/early 1960s Alexine writes …“I’ve run this one through twice. From the opening shot the camp leader is clearly Stan Pain, making the salute as Alex Pratt pulls up the flag. Other people I recognise are Harvey Miles (large, in khaki), Victor Griffith in wheelchair, possibly one of the Routledge brothers at the sale table, Bramble (Hugh Morgan) also in that scene, Steb (Michael Stebbings) as a helper in the sports scene. The three leaving the chapel are of course Keemo, along with Rev Eric Jennings who was vicar of The Bourne, and what looks like Harvey Miles again.”
Adventurers Camp 1961 – Full length version
During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the Adventurers Camp Leader, Dennis Webb, took lots of cine film to promote Woodlarks and to raise awareness about the abilities of disabled people. It seems that Dennis edited together clips and scenes from various eras, continually adding to and improving a core film called ‘Conquer Through Courage’. Here are some scenes from one such edit, primarily shot in the mid 1970s. A number of us remember these camps well, and recognise some of the boys featured.
The Chief Scout visits Adventurers Camp 1986 Martyn Allen, our archivist writes, “I built the bridge you’ll see at the end. For H&S reasons I stipulated only One person to be on the bridge at any one time. However, Festus wanted to impress the Chief Scout so he got as many wheelchair users on as possible ? And after 30 years I’ve discovered that it was all caught on film !”
Queens Award for Voluntary Service We received this honour in 2009.