On this day: World Scout Day

August 1 1907: Baden-Powell’s legacy

By Jennifer Lipman, August 1, 2011

When Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell arranged a camping trip for 22 boys in August 1907, he probably was not expecting the movement to grow to a worldwide institution.

The first camp was held at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, with Baden-Powell eager to try out the ideas that would later be published as the book Scouting for Boys.

A lieutenant-general in the British Army and a veteran of wars in Africa and India, he wanted to transfer the skills he had learnt in battle to the next generation.

From that summer, the movement grew and there are now branches around the globe, among them the Israeli Scouts, or Tsofim, set up in 1919 as a Zionist youth organisation but accredited as part of worldwide scouting in 1951.

There are still an estimated 16 Jewish groups operating in Britain today; the first of which was formed in 1908.

Landsberg's 1st East London Scout Troop was active for over half a century at Toynbee Hall, Aldgate, until a bomb hit the building during the war. The founder, Captain Jose R Landsberg, set the group up on his return from the Boer War.

What the JC said: Mr Landsberg believed his troop was the first Jewish troop in London, but he preferred it not to be designated a "Jewish one, inasmuch as it is open to any Gentile lad just as much as to one of the Jewish faith. Of course, every member of my troop is a Jew, but it does not necessarily mean that everyone else is barred."…Asked what modifications Mr. Landesberg has adopted in training his troop, the Scoutmaster rreplied with an emphatic "none". Continuing, he said, "we differ from other troops in that out boys are not able to do much scouting on a Saturday…but we certainly do a great deal on the Sunday.

See more from the JC archives here

Last updated: 10:38am, August 1 2011