Blantyre Boy Scouts, 1909

Whilst 3rd Blantyre Scouts origins date back to 1930, there were actually earlier Scouting Groups in Blantyre. Even prior to WW1, Boy Scouts had been inaugurated in Low Blantyre in Springtime 1909, based from the Caldwell Halls on Glasgow Road.

By April 1909, in a matter of weeks, there were over 70 boys enrolled for adventure, learning and friendship. However, one thing was missing to satisfy that number of boys. Equipment for all of them!

So, that month a concert was held in the Caldwell Institute with the purposes of raising enough funds to buy the much needed initial equipment, uniforms and essential items for the movement to function.

The boy scout movement was supported heavily by headteachers and ministers. At the fundraiser was Rev TA Hugh, Rev John Burleigh, Lt John Brown, Mr Blair headteacher and Mr William Smith the headmaster of Low Blantyre School. Existing boy scouts from Hamilton joined the concert and took great delight to unfurl the Union Jack over the stage to some applause. The colours were presented to the Blantyre boys.

Afterwards a programme of entertainment suitable for children was given including conjuring by Herr Max which caused great amusement. Highland dancers and Gibson’s band also gave performances, which lasted into the evening.

The concert did raise funds. Pictured here by early local photographer David Ritchie is a Blantyre Boy scout proudly showing off the equipment and brand new uniform. Preciously unseen online, these pictures were undated but known to have been taken between 1900 and 1915. With the knowledge that uniforms were bought after 1909, this window can be reduced to the photos being between 1909 and 1915. With thanks to Alex Bowie for sharing photos.

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