History of World Guiding

It was in 1909 when 11,000 Boy Scouts attended a rally at Crystal Palace, that the inspiration for Guiding first came about. This was down to Sybil Geard and a group of Girl Scouts, members of Pinkney's Green Girl Scout Troop, who walked six miles in the hope of an equal organisation for young women. The girls marched, uninvited and without tickets, into the park and sat down to eat their sandwiches after enjoying the Scout displays. Sybil recounted the events in a 1976 edition of The Guider, and said it was not long before Baden-Powell himself came over and asked "What the dickens are YOU doing here?", to which the bold young girls replied "We're a Patrol of Girl Scouts and we want to do the same things as boys." This was claimed impossible, but, fair man that he was, Baden-Powell added, "I'll think about it."

True to his word, in 1910, Sir Baden-Powell (knighted the year before) formed the Girl Guides Association, and made his sister Agnes Baden-Powell their President. It was 1911; just one year after the association was formed, when Guide groups were forming in Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa and Sweden. The next year meant even more countries establishing units - Australia, India, Ireland and the Netherlands. By 1930 another 20 countries also had Girl Guide units, including Brazil, China, the US and Zimbabwe. While the uniforms, badges, and rules in each individual country varied, all of the Guide units across the world worked on the ideas and principles first intended by Baden-Powell.

The first Guides to visit Great Britain from abroad were a group of German girls in the April of 1914. It was a huge success when they met with Guides from the UK at a party in University Hall, London - both sets of girls oblivious that they would be at war in only four months. Later, in 1918, Baden-Powell's wife Olave became Chief Guide, and was much involved in their work. Although the girls who came to the rally had originally called themselves Girl Scouts, Baden-Powell thought this name was inappropriate, and needed to change. This was down to several reasons; the first was that it would stir upset between the boys for whom scouting had been initially intended, the second that parents would be unhappy about their daughters participating in such unfeminine activities and mixing with boys. Third, and probably the most important reason for changing their name, was the idea that with a separate name would come a uniqueness that would keep the girls independent from the boys, helping them in their self development."

In 1926 at the Guiding World Conference, it was decided that the 22nd of February would, each year, be World Thinking Day. This would be, and still is, the day when members of Girl Guiding from across the globe come together to think about their sisters all over the world. Special activities, projects, and international gatherings are held. This date was chosen because it is the birthday of both Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Two years later, in 1928, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) was set up. This now reaches ten million girls and young women in 145 different countries.

The first world centre, known as Our Chalet, was opened in Switzerland in 1932. Following it were: Our Cabaña (Mexico 1957), Sangam (India 1966), and Pax lodge (England 1991). In the same year, the World Thinking Day Fund was created, encouraging members all over the globe to raise essential money to aid and support the WAGGGS work. In 1941 Lord Baden-Powell passed away, and Lady Baden-Powell continued his work until 1977, when she too died. Four years later, a memorial was dedicated to Lord and Lady Baden-Powell in Westminster Abbey. In 1982, the first Girl Guide postage stamp from the UK post office was issued, and in 1991 Guiding Overseas Linked with Development, or GOLD was launched. The program was designed to allow Guiding members from 18 to 30 to meet and help Guides from other countries. The program is still running successfully, as we celebrate 100 years of Girl Guiding.

Girlguiding UK have a timeline that runs from the 1907 camp for boys at Brownsea Island through to the present day.

Over the years, each of the sections have had several changes of uniform,
here are some photographs and descriptions.

History of Guiding in Tamworth

Formed in 1918, many changes have taken place over the years, resulting in the thriving Division that we enjoy today. Here's our Division Flag:

Memories of Guiding in Tamworth

By Margaret Wright, formerly of 1st Tamworth Guides, and ex-Division Commissioner for Tamworth.

Hello Everyone and Happy 100th Birthday.

When I joined Guides in the 1950`s the movement seemed old then; now it is much older but obviously stronger. Perhaps you might like to know what Guiding was like then. We still had the same Laws and Promise but the uniforms and meetings were very different.

The uniform consisted of:

  • Long sleeved blue blouse with pockets
  • Navy blue skirt
  • Belt with whistle and penknife
  • All badges were sewn on
  • Patrol Leaders wore white lanyards
  • Guide tie with trefoil badge pinned on

I joined 1st Tamworth Guides in the 1950`s and became Patrol leader of Kingfishers. Our meeting nights were Friday and they were very organised but we enjoyed them.


  • Roll Call - when we paid our subs
  • Inspection - Pockets checked for pennies for phone (no mobiles then), note book and pencil, clean hanky and was your trefoil badge clean (back and front)
  • Activities - based on badges
  • Games
  • Campfire and Prayers - Most units finished with campfire songs. The `fire` was interesting. It was a stand of some sort with a red bulb fitted surrounded by twigs and small logs (don`t try this at home). This was plugged in giving a realistic glow.

I`m sure we had as much fun at our meetings as you do.

Tamworth has had Guides and Brownies for many years, way before I joined. There were Guides who were evacuated here during the war. This closed down when the girls went back but later re-opened as 1st Tamworth in the 1950`s. But 1st Glascote was opened before that. During the early years we were part of Lichfield Division but as numbers grew it became impractical. Tamworth became a Division and due to the split we had the Standard which is carried on special occasions. Over the years many units have opened and in the 1980`s Rainbows arrived. Over the years there have been interesting and exciting times. In the 1950`s 1st Glascote Guides went on a cycling trip to Holland and much later Fazeley guides went to Switzerland. Stoneydelph guides had a holiday in Ireland. In 1973 we had a big Rally on the Castle grounds with the Scouts and another Rally and Carnival in 1985 to celebrate 75 years of Guiding. Several Guiders attended the Thinking Day Service in Westminster Abbey the same year. Guides and Leaders have attended International Camps here and abroad.

The Guiding movement in Tamworth stretches back a long way with girls and Leaders finding friendship and fun. Here’s to the future and may the girls of today and tomorrow still enjoy being part of this worldwide family.

Girls 5 to 7

Girls 7 to 10

Girls 10 to 14

Young Women 14 to 25

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Girlguiding Tamworth Website - www.girlguidingtamworth.org.uk

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Site last updated 13th December 2016