Chief Scout Visit in 1963

As many of you will know, one of the things I’m interested in is the history of my Group. So the other week this letter in the local newspaper caught my eye. It was about the filming of the then Chief Scout’s (Sir Charles Maclean) visit to Kibblestone Camp site in 1963. On the off chance it showed some of our Scouts, I contacted the chap who made it asking if he would send me a copy. And he did!

It came on DVD, which was a transfer from the original 16mm film. In 1963 the standard format of home movie film was 8mm, so to have this as a 16mm film shows that it was produced to a professional standard (the BBC often used this format for filmed TV shows and the Beatles film Let It Be was filmed on 16mm).

Watching the film there does appear to be one Scout who is highly likely to be from Porthill.


That’s him at the back in the middle.

The only down side is I have no idea who he is! It looks like he was with Scouts from Bradwell, who we have always had a close association with.

It also seems that our Cubs may have been there as well.


The Cubs on the right in the red neckerchiefs could be ours, but it’s very difficult to know where the are actually from. However there is a leader on the left wearing a light green shirt and red neckerchief who looks very much like the Cub Master of the time.

You can see the film and more information on my Group’s History site here.

It is very interesting to see all those Scouts and the campsite nearly 50 years ago. Especially as Kibblestone is my local site and I’ve been there many times. It’s also interesting to see the swimming pool and rope swings in use as the pool is now a ‘caving experience’ and the rope swings removed due to ‘safety issues’, and yes I am having a pop at the camp site here!

The original film was presented to the Stoke-on-Trent & Newcastle Boys Scouts Association (now Stoke-on-Trent & Newcastle Divisional Scout council) and to the Boy Scouts Association (now the Scout Association) at Gilwell, but has only been shown a limited number of times since it was shot. I am going to ask the chap who shot the film if he did any other for the Scouts, as this film, and possibly others, deserve to be seen as they are important parts of our local Scouting history.

One thing that doesn’t seem to change is the fact that the Chief Scout tried to speak to as many of the Scouts as possible (the commentary says he spoke to all!) and this is something the current Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, is also very keen to do when he goes on Scouting activities.

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