THE CHRONOLOGY OF WOODLARKS
3 acres of land purchased from Waverley Abbey Estate on 17th November 1930
for £675. Financed mainly by Col. and Mrs Strover and Mrs Tisdall, who
became the first Trustees. (The land between the road, and the valley,
and up to the present dining room and dormitory.)
Brick shelter built, 30ft x 15ft, with a door in front facing the valley.
Cost £241-13s-2d. A Built by Mr. Mills (who donated £20). Windows had
“up and down” flap wooden shutters. ‘Used as dormitory.
Cooking place, built behind the shelter, with fireplace and corrugated
Mains water laid on (by Mr. Dalrymple)
Metalled approach road constructed (including use of rubble from the
Farnham Old Town Hall at 1/6d a load.)
Trust formed and registered as a Charity.
3 camps took place (2 Guide Camps — the first being Central Fulham
District – and 1 Blind persons’ camp — East and South East Post Companies –
with 50 campers).
Total of 90 campers.
Carved panel (made by Miss Burmest—Holland) presented by E. and S.E.
Post Guides (and now on the wall over the fireplace) :-
The Cornerstone in Truth is laid
The Guardian Walls of Honour made
The Roof of Faith is built above
The Fire upon the Hearth is Love
Though rains descend and loud winds call
This Happy House shall never fall.
First covenanted donation received of £20 p.a from the Walter Hines Page
Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution.
(Col. Strover – Keemo — had a badly damaged arm in the first World
War, and his doctor and friend was Dr. Mennell – after whom the old
Workshop Hostel was named. His wife was an American, and a member of
The Daughters of the American Revolution, Walter Hines Page being
the president of the U.K Chapter)
First Report issued in November.
Further one and a half acres of land purchased.
Keemo presented an iron cross for the chapel, made by two brothers in
Colchester, together with statues of a kneeling Guide and a Scout.
Temporary wooden block constructed for ablutions-and toilets – six
lavatories, eight wash places and two baths, together with main drainage
Second cook place constructed outside, plus an incinerator.
Dining shelter constructed with 9 ft pine trunk posts and a corrugated
roof, with tarpaulins for walls if necessary (where the kitchen now
Appeal made for a total of £2500 for land purchase, new buildings and a
Donations received from various areas resulting in named areas of the camp
~ e.g. Suffolk, New Zealand Pine etc.
Postcards produced for sale (45d each)
Three ordinary Guide Camps and three crippled Guide camps (156
handicapped). Charges were 5/— for water and 4d per head per weeks’ rent
(later, water charged by meter, rent became 6d, including straw for
Local Rovers started coming down for maintenance parties e.g cutting paths
through the woods, particularly Chertsey and Guildford and Hounslow (“The
BOMS”). References can be traced in the 1930’s to Bert Collier, Dickie
Lowne, ‘Gig’ Williams, ‘Moth’ Eaton, ‘Bosun’ Steward, ‘Hathi’ Searle,
Harvey Miles, Stan Mason.
Approach road improved.
Eight camps held (including one ordinary Scout Camp). ~(Total 200
First “individual” camp – i.e. not a specific group or organisation, run
for Guides by Mrs Strover, called “Woodlark” camps (charge 12/6d per head
for ten days, Guiders 17/6d). (54 campers from seven counties,
including Yorkshire, Lancashire and Gloucestershire).
First “Fair” held to raise money. Opened by Lady Perceval, £32.00 net
profit. Included an exhibition of pictures painted by Mrs Strover.
Final five acres of land purchased by guarantors, by a loan of £545,
including the chapel (which had previously been on loan 9. £900 donated
by a local lady.
Huts erected for storage of equipment and straw (for palliasses).
Fair, opened by Sir Montague Burrows (first Patron, and a well-known name
in the Oxford Health and Hospital world and H.Q Commissioner for
‘Handicapped Scouts’) raised £101.
Bridge Drives and other events held to raise money.
Weekly Handicraft and Toy Making Classes started for local handicapped
girls (Fern Owl Homeworkers). Instructor — Captain J.V. Woolgar of
Farnham, Lady Blenkinsop helped with lunches. (Forerunner of Workshop)
Seven camps held, 200 campers – (including the first Adventurers Camp
– 16 boys, some from London After Care (including Victor
Griffith, looked after by his two brothers) and some Special Test Scouts.
This camp was reported in The Times. Boys’ camps ran for two weeks each
before the war.
Committee formed to assist Trustees in day—to—day running. Chairman C.F.C
Steward (Bosun)(A.C.C Rovers, Hampshire).
Electricity laid on, funded by gifts from Miss Agnes Baden-Powell (sister
of Lord B.P and Mrs Strover’s “adopted” grandmother I), and the Guide
County Executive Secretaries who held a conference at Woodlarks.
Eight camps held, including two boys’ camps, (1 Scouts, 1 non-Scouts) and
three non—Guide girls’ camps. Total 238 campers.
Lady Baden—Powell became President (for three years) after making
Death of Sir Montague Burrows, first Patron. _A framed photograph was
presented by the Special Test Scouts of England.
Small piece of land sold to Electricity Company for £50(invested in
£43.18.10 in 3.5% Conversion Stock
Fair opened by Sir Percy Everett — very little profit due to bad weather.
Gang Show held at Haslemere for benefit of Woodlarks.
Tents, blankets, cutlery, crockery purchased and hired out to camps.
Seven wheelchairs purchased. (£10 received from King George’s Jubilee
Memorial Fund started (firstly in memory of Sir Montague Burrows, and
then to become the Endowment fund to pay for children too poor to pay for
Toy making doing well, as a cottage industry – Storage hut erected.
Chief Guide visited 13/7/1936
Dance held at Lion Hotel, Guildford, and other events in aid of Woodlarks.
First film was made.
Seven camps held, including two boys’ camps. 240 campers. Most campers
came from London, about one-third being non-Scouts or Guides. 100 helpers
came from all over the country, including eight unemployed Rovers, who
cycled from Ystradgynlais (near Brecon in Wales)
Final 5 acres of land now paid for — Strip along Western Boundary £394 –
Southern slope £668
Visit by the Walter Hines Page Chapel of the Daughters of the American
Plans and models for a double extension.
Water and firewood paid for by donor.
Exhibition of Toys at Aldershot Show.
Talk to Haslemere branch of National Council of Women by Mrs Strover s
very good report of background of campers, and shows work done by Col. &
Good article in Toc H Magazine “The Log”
The word ‘Handicapped! rather than cripple creeping in.
Working party log book started (October 1937 — Chertsey Rovers, including
L. Williams – ‘Gig’).
10 Camps – including 3 boys’ camps. 365 campers.
New larder. (breeze block) erected.
Electric water heater installed.
More tents and equipment purchased.
Gift of £900 finally cleared the land debt.
Rovers put in 100 hours’ labour between Easter and Summer camps.
Party of 50 handicapped children to daylight rehearsal of Aldershot
Lots of working parties.
Exhibition of Toys at Farnham Castle, opened by Mrs McMillan, including
Woodlarks (Fern Owl Toymakers)
Premier of a play (“Ann’s First Job”) by John Sterndale Bennett,
produced by Brig. Fanshawe, put on in Farnham for benefit of Woodlarks.
Also a dance and other fund raising Activities.
9 camps, including 2 boys. 381 campers.
Biggest advance in development since 1930.
New brick built dormitory, ablution block and first aid room. (£846)
16 beds. Sliding windows. Opened by the President, R.C Elmslie. (a
surgeon) It was wet!
Extra door at east end of shelter, henceforth used as dining room.
Old dining shelter became the kitchen.
New equipment shed.
8 camps, including 2 boys, 385 campers, including 2000th camper.
Grant from King George’s Jubilee Trust (£50) and National Fitness
Council (£400) together with voluntary labour from Rovers etc. enabling
the new buildings to be debt free.
Woodlarks Rover Crew started, based on an idea of Gig Williams, 78 Rovers
from Hants, Middlesex, Herts, Surrey, London, Berks, Essex. Previously
the ACC Rovers for Surrey (Mr Malkovski) had started the Malkovski
Patrol, and had tried – unsuccessfully – to get similar patrols started in
other counties, to staff the boys’ camps, and to do pioneering and
maintenance work in the winter.
The first meeting was held on 25/26th February 1939, organised by the BOMS
from Hounslow, and the initiation ceremony (still in use) was drafted.
‘Bosun’ Stewart was Leader, and ‘Hathi’ Searle Secretary. The second boys
camp was closed down early on Sunday 27th August 1939 due to the imminence
30 crippled evacuee girls arrived from London that same afternoon, and at
first they used the buildings and tents, but later they moved to local
houses. Lady Blenkinsop “mothered” them, helped with correspondence and
saw to the bills. They returned to London in May of the next year.
The boys camp had 22 chair cases and 40 others, with a staff of only 23.
A party went to the Aldershot Tattoo, daylight rehearsal.
All campers living in London went to Holborn Empire Theatre,to see “Where
the Rainbow Ends”