Hadlow Place – St Paul’s School 1869

St Paul’s Schools building before demolition c1988/1989. Built 1869

At least as early as July 1892, the St Paul’s School building was used as a Polling Station and in 1939, a First Aid Post during WW2.  It was also used as a Sunday School, Girl Guides and Brownies, and for Wolf Cubs, evening Youth Clubs, Pathfinders, Scouts and concerts.  The first Scout Rally was held at the Crystal Palace on Saturday, 4 September 1909.  This particular event was a significant milestone, shaping the future of Scouting.


The founder and first Chief Scout of the worldwide Scout Movement and founder, with his sister Agnes, of the world-wide Girl Guide movement, was Lord Robert Baden Powell (1857 – 1941), born Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell on 22 February 1857 in Paddington.  He was called Stephe (pronounced “Stevie”) by his family and was named after his godfather, the railway and civil engineer, Robert Stephenson.  His third name was his mother’s surname.

Baden-Powell had four older half-siblings from the second of his father’s two previous marriages, and was the fifth surviving child of his father’s third marriage. After his father Baden Powell died in 1860, his widow, to identify her children with her late husband’s fame, and to set her own children apart from their half-siblings and cousins, styled the family name Baden -Powell.   His name was eventually legally changed by Royal Licence on 30 April 1902.

Lord Baden-Powell was educated at Charterhouse and he served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa.  In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, he successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking.

At the first Scout Rally held at the Crystal Palace in 1909, girls in Scout uniform attended, telling Baden-Powell that they were the ‘Girl Scouts’.  In 1910, he and his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell, started the Girl Guide and Girl Scout organisation.  He gave guidance to the Scout and Girl Guide movements until he retired in 1937.  He lived his last years in Kenya, where he died in 1941.

One of Baden-Powell’s original illustrations from The Wolf Cub Handbook, 1916

“I trust you as a Wolf Cub to DO YOUR BEST in everything that you do”.
Baden Power of Gilwell, Chief Scout
[©with kind permission from John Sloman]John Sloman’s grandmother went to St Paul’s School in the late 1890s

Donald Sloman’s Wolf Cub (29th Beckenham) enrolment card 27 October 1937 St Paul’s Church Hall Hadlow Place [©with kind permission from John Sloman]


The Boy Scouts Association Enrolment Card 1967 for John Sloman aged 11½
29th Beckenham (St Paul’s)
[©with kind permission from John Sloman]


With kind thanks to Peter Crawley ©

For the three years before the war, 1937, 1938 and 1939, the acting Scout Leader of the 29th Beckenham (Hadlow Place) was one George Henry Crawley A.S.L., Peter Crawley’s Dad.

Peter has kindly shared the following amusing articles by team members at the time:

Parent’s Camp  7 August 1937

As we hadn’t had a parent’s social for many, many moons, the Court of Honour set their brilliant brains in motion and, after many hours of concentrated thought the idea of holding a parents camp was evolved. A programme was arranged, and the Troop’s printer, P.L. EDWARDS printed some posh invitation forms which were duly delivered, and in most cases caused much amusement.

On the Wednesday night we made the Hadlow Hall look as much like a camp as we could.  A ridge tent was erected on the stage complete with kits laid out for Inspection.  Around the room were snapshots of camp life, and in the far corner was the ‘Piece de resistance’ the camp kitchen.  Incomplete in every detail.

The programme was opened with a kit collecting competition, the parents and sundry friends who had rolled up were divided into patrols.  After this we had that well known game ‘Fanning the Kipper’ and I honestly believe that they enjoyed it.

Then arrived the big moment, the patrols proceeded in single file (a la camp) to the kitchen, and were then dished out with saus-an-mash -which was swilled down with lashings of coffee.

The scouts who failed to scrounge any of this were compensated with several newspapers of fish and chips, very thoughtfully provided by our G.S.M.  More strength to his arm.

As soon as everyone had finished chewing, we gathered in a circle around an imitation camp-fire, and proceeded to make the night hideous with the sound of wassail.  Before going home, nearly all said that they had enjoyed themselves very much and made various feeble cracks about the cooking.  I rather think that a parent’s camp will in future be an annual event.  Q.E.D.

Gordon NIMSE

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley

An amusing excerpt from the 1938 Log of the 29th Beckenham, Hadlow Place

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley


The M.M. of M. and M. should have been produced as far back as March 1936, but for various reasons it was decided after only a few rehearsals to postpone it until the following year. This time we said we’d really get down to it and produce a super show. A committee of three – A.S.M. KIMBER, C. KENNERLEY, and yours truly – were appointed to work out all the details so that there would be no hitch of any sort. Unfortunately, however we arranged to meet at Ken’s house, and as he has a billiard table – well need I say anything else. The rehearsals were an utter washout, and after postponing it several times we were compelled to put it off for yet another year. This, despite the fact that we had already sold some tickets.

This year we really did ‘get down to it’ the parts were allocated, and rehearsals were soon in full swing. The tickets and programs were printed by Eric and began to sell like hot cakes. In fact, we soon began to run short of ‘tanner’ ones.

We were having two performances, one in the afternoon for the local brats, and one in the evening for the adult population. The prices of admission were as follows, afternoon, 2d. 1d. and nothing. Evening- 1/6, 1/-, and 6d. Barefaced robbery and/or licensed blackmail.

The Saturday morning was a very busy one for the lights had to be fixed, curtains put up, chairs put ready, and as far as poss. the hall had to be darkened. For this purpose we borrowed some curtains out of Miss VALENTINE’s cupboard (without asking permission). George said it would be quite all right as he and Mistress VALENTINE were ‘like that’. This statement proved to be a trifle inaccurate however for when the good lady saw our handiwork, she nearly threw a fit, and told us in no uncertain terms just where we stepped off.

Our first job in the afternoon was to man-handle the grand piano onto the stage, and if our dear old friend the vicar had seen us doing it, I’m afraid it would have aged him as much as it did the piano. Everything was now ready (except the show) so we flung open the doors and in poured a veritable torrent of kids. Long, short, fat, thin, washed and unwashed.

Ten minutes later the show started and from start to finish it was lousy. So were a number of our audience. The seven virtuosos of the harmonica, or in other words the mouth organ band were about the worst. If we’d all been playing the same tune at the same time it wouldn’t have been so bad, but we weren’t. The other ‘turns’ struggled through somehow, and I know that everyone was very relieved when the final curtain went down.

Strangely enough however our audience thought very differently about it for they applauded noisily and enthusiastically throughout the show and went home very satisfied. There is no accounting for taste!

By the time we had cleared up some of the mess and had knocked back a very thoughtful tea, it was time to think about the 2nd house. At 7.15.pm there was a large crowd outside the hall (to forestall any smart Alec I might as well say now that they were not watching a dogfight) and when the curtain went up, we had a full house. The show started bang on time and the opening chorus was soon in full blast. This performance was everything the other one wasn’t. Everyone was at the top of their form, and the only hitch was when the curtain was dropped in the middle of a mouth organ encore.

The opening chorus was one of the Gang Show songs – Birds of a Feather – and in it we had a trio of trios representing various types of birds of a feather – Cockneys, Suburbanites, and Cads of the old school tie. One of the ‘cads’ had a touch of cold feet, and properly let the old school down by omitting to turn up. Play the game you blighter, play the game.

Then followed the first episode of Clam Cafe. This was one of three short in-front-of-the-curtain items to ensure the continuity of the show, and they were exceptionally well put over by scouts MacDONALD, MOCKFORD, and MITCHELL, and an ex member of the troop, John BATH.

Afternoon Tea was the officer’s big moment, and although I say it myself, we made a jolly good job of it. Considering that we had been rehearsing this sketch off and on for over two years it should have been impossible for it to have been anything but a success.

Villikins and his Dinah was the next item. While Ken sang the verse of a very ‘pathetic’ song, it was being mimed by P.L. LOVETT, and scouts CLEMENTS and ROBERTSON (Minor). Leonard by the way took the part of the betrayed Victorian maiden- (It’s your little Nell, don’t you love me anymore?).

Then followed a Gang Show sketch Bedtime Story, and it was put over very well by a distinguished cast which included such experienced (malef)actors as A.S.M. RICKETT and Billy HENTY.

Then the seven virtuosos took the stage once more, and by some miracle managed to keep in time, and with each one doing his best to blow his tonsils out we completely took our audience by storm. We blasted our way through a stirring march, crashed through a 1935 Medley, and were half-way through our unique rendering of ‘Drink to me only’ when down swept the curtain. A slight miscalculation on the part of the stage manager.

The whole of the second half was taken up by a song scene called ‘Flying High’. With the aid of a ‘television set’ we had a view of North, South, East, and West. North took us to the North tower of the late lamented Crystal P. in an amusing sketch entitled – Broadcasting.

South was represented by a rendering of ‘Old man river’ by S.M. BATH and the glee club, and this proved to be one of the most popular items in the show. As with Afternoon Tea we had been rehearsing this for two years or more, and even then, I was still very shaky on my part.

West was a Hill Billy medley also put over by the glee club. This time we were five very self-conscious cowboys (Dismounted on foot) complete with two banjo-uke-plinker-plonkers, and a sheet of paper containing the words.

East was the grand finale and was written especially for the occasion by A.S.M. KIMBER. It took the form of a potted (or potty) pantomime, and it undoubtedly was the hit of the show. Some of the costumes were simply magnificent, particularly those worn by Widow Twankey and her playmate Abanazar. Compared with some of the concerts we have had in the past, this one was a pleasure to produce. This was due mainly to the enthusiasm of the boys who worked very very hard, especially in the last two weeks, and to the help we received from friends outside the troop.

Allow me to give three hearty snarls to the following: – To Marjorie our pianist (without her we would have been sunk) To A.S.M. KIMBER for producing the show and writing some of the sketches. To the electrician who fitted up the lights absolutely buckshee. To T/L EDWARDS for doing the printing. To Ken for the use of his uke and vocal cords. To Wuzz for his help behind the scenes. To S.M. BATH for the use of his house for rehearsals sometimes till gone midnight, and lastly to anyone I may have overlooked in this orgy of flattery.

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley

The following is an excerpt from the 1938 Log of the 29th Beckenham

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley

Summer Camp.

Saturday. Aug. 6 1938

I’m afraid that this years’ Summer camp report will be a somewhat sketchy one, for I was only present for the first week end, and although some of the boys have written accounts of various episodes which took place, it will not be up to the usual scintillating (?) standard.

As last year’s camp was so successful, we decided to have a repeat performance this year, so once again the campers of the 29th found themselves in a lorry bound for ‘Valewood-Happy Farm’.  The campers by the way were A.S.M. CRAWLEY, T.L. EDWARDS, P.L.s LOVETT, GREEN, and WARD, 2nds. BAXTER and RABEY, and scouts MOCKFORD, WYNN, GOATLEY, WILLS, R. WARD, and D. FINCH.

The lorry was a much bigger one, thank heavens, and as most of the heavy kit had gone down with the cubs a fortnight previous, we had bags of room.  The only fly in the ointment was the amount of exhaust fumes which were discharged (so it seemed) right into the lorry.  Still, we must not grumble as no one was sick.

The journey was uneventful despite the fact that we lost the way and had to make a lengthy detour to get back onto the straight and narrow path.  Pathfinders – we’ve seen ‘em.  On arrival we quickly got down to it and were soon firmly established.  In fact, before turning in we had a football match which was notable more for energy than skill.

Supper time brought a big surprise, for instead of the inevitable biscuits cheese, and cocoa, Q.M. EDWARDS had arranged for soup, sausages and mash.  This went down very nicely and then so to bed.

Saturday. Aug. 20.1938

Began to pack up soon after breakfast, and had a team race in getting the big tents down and packed.  The Owls beat the Swifts-Eagles.  The times being 6½ and 7 minutes respectively.  Dinner was served at 12.a.m.

We were packing the boxes when a storm hit us.  A bit of bad.  Lorry arrived at 5 p.m. and we finally left at 5.50.p.m. with 21 rabbits on board.

The troop and the rabbits arrived at Hadlow Place at 7.10.p.m.

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley

An excerpt from the 1938 Log of the 29th Beckenham

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley

Our Jumble Sale.

At the end of September we began to get alarmed, as to the financial position of Beckenham’s premier Troop.

The proceeds from the previous concert had been spent practically before we had got the money in, (That’s our concert profits – that was!) and the subs could not keep up with the cost of the badges the troop was earning.  Then Eric announced that he was going all out for the Bushman’s Thong, and his Gold Cords.  This was the last straw.  The thongs cost about 2/6. and we dared not dwell on the price of Gold Cords.  It was a case of either filing our petition for bankruptcy, or running a concert or something to ensure that Eric, Darby and a few others could go about suitably dressed.

Concerts were out of the question, as by the time they have been postponed several times it takes about three years before the curtain goes up.  Dances, whist drives, punch boards, raffles, bank robberies, football pools, and begging, were for some reason on the church authorities ‘verboten’ list.

We were in despair, until suddenly the clouds cleared, and we realized that a solution had been found.  One evening while watching Mr. KIMBER putting on his overcoat, inspiration came to me in a flash – A JUMBLE SALE.

In our troop, thought means action (sometimes).  The wheels of the EDWARDS press were put into motion, and the district was flooded with leaflets asking for Anerley’s junk.

The ensuing collection was a flop, for the National Crisis came along, and our sale felt the draft.  In one whole day all we collected was a few books, some ancient brass-work, and a pair of Wellingtons.  The whole lot wasn’t worth fourpence!

We were not dismayed though, and soon another 550 bills were printed and delivered.  These proved to be a great success, and we soon had a magnificent collection of rubbish.  This was sorted out, and in the meantime 750 handbills had been delivered inviting the local populace to try their luck at our sale.  Well the day of the sale arrived at last, and an hour before opening time (sale, not pubs.) we had a large crowd milling outside the portals of the St. Paul’s parochial hall.

Promptly at 5p.m. the doors were flung open, and in poured the mob.

Never in my life have I seen such barefaced thieving.  It was an education to watch the neat way that they knocked the stuff off.  For every article bought, three were swiped.  I watched two dear ladles calmly steal a couple of overcoats off a stall and when I asked them for the money, they looked me straight in the eye, and said they had paid for them.  Well!!!

Then somebody pushed a stall over, and when two of us went to pick it up, we found that it had been stripped absolutely bare, for our customers had grabbed everything with a slickness born of years of practice.  Vultures have nothing on these harpies.  At last, most of them had pinched all they could carry, and after turning the remnants over to see if they had missed anything, they began to clear off with their loot.

To close, I really must record that I caught a couple of women walking off with the bucket which we had used for gathering the entrance money, and the only thing that saved the table on which the bucket was standing from the same fate, was that it was too wide to go through the doorway.

The stalls were in charge of the following people to whom we tender our very best thanks, Mrs. EDWARDS, Mrs. WEST. Mr. A. NIMSE Mr. RICKETT, and scouts HARMAN, GOATLEY, and MOCKFORD.

© Reproduced with kind permission by Peter Crawley