Paul Whitfield (paul.whitfield@DAFBBS.COM)
Sat, 9 Sep 1995 09:45:40 -0600
Here is a little synopsis of my recent trip to England - at least the Scouting
side of the trip.
I visited Gilwell for about 5 hours one of the days I was in England. It was a
business trip to Exeter so my time in London was quite limited. One of my
staff suggested that I build a plan of what I should see in London - sort of
making it a 'theme' visit. So being up to my eyeballs in Scouting what choice
did I have?
I arrived in London late on Monday afternoon, and after checking into the hotel
I started my tour - I was a bit tired so chose to visit the closest landmark on
my list - The original Scout Shop on Buckingham Palace Road. It was closed but
I saw this interesting house across the street - some sort of Palace with
guards and gilded fences.
Tuesday morning it was up and packed, check the bags with the bell man and hit
the underground - it's 'Back to Gilwell'. Several 'line' changes (L3.10) and I
get to Westhamthope Road - onto the train to Chigwell (L2.0 - about 10
minutes). Beautiful hot (90F+) day to walk through Epping Forest [There is a
sign at the train station pointing the way.] Lots of Scouts from various places
headed the other way [Spain, Norway, Brazil were identified - really neat to
see youth wearing their uniform - at least past of it - wherever they were -
because this was the week before the World Jamboree they were everywhere I
went. About 2 km up the road there is a left turn with a sign - Gilwell Park.
As you head up this lane - it's about 1.5 small car widths wide - there is a
large field [Branchet Field] off to the right with 30-40 tents scattered about,
tours of various types and flags of many nations. As you walk up the road
there is an archway they you would recognize by the 'axe in log' mounted on
top. At this arch the road splits to the left and to the right. To the right
is the visitor center, the international center and many of the original
Gilwell Buildings - the Whitehouse, the Lodge, all of these are well maintained
and operating. For a guy from the westcoast where our oldest building is about
100 years old - these are fascinating. The Scot Association also has a
facility where they distribute literature in this area - lots to read and
investigate. I signed in at the visitors desk and they gave me a map - I would
have liked to bought a book or booklet describing everything but they didn't
have one. [Good thing I knew a fair amount about Gilwell before I arrived].
Back to the fork in the road and off to the left - this is the main way into
the 'operating' park of Gilwell - the camp. There are many building here and
landmarks such as the clock tower, the storm hut, and the museum, the scout
store and the Gilwell shop. The museum was interesting but there are better
Scouting Museums elsewhere, however they do have something no one else does -
The Troop Flag of '1st Gilwell Park Troop' - a Scouter from Illinois was there
at the same time as I and he held the end up so I could take a photograph.
>From there I walk through the remainder of the camp - the bomb hole, the
Gilwell Campfire Circle, there were lots of groups using the camp and having a
great time. I found the various religious 'chapels' very interesting and
incredibly beautiful - there were eight or nine different religions represented
- some older and some newer facilities but all there and in close proximity to
each other - wish society could mimic that!
Stopped at the various places about camp and took photgraphs for my training
collection. Visited the Gilwell shop and bought a number of Gilwell items for
coleagues and self - GP badges, woggles, mugs, notebooks, and walking staff
medallions. [Byron - if you are reading this I do have a box coming to you
'soon'] Wonderful place - I wish I could have set up my tent and stayed for a
couple of days. If you every get a chance do this. [I had spent the previous
two weeks at the BC Yukon Jamboree and I was burnt out - this five hours
recharged me more than I can express.
Left Gilwell - train and underground to London. Train to Exeter - [this was
the point of the trip right :) Attended conference, gave paper, chaired
session, did business etc.
Returned to London on Saturday. Continue the theme. The days itineray
includes three main items. B-P house, Scout Shop, and Charterhouse. My hotel
was not far from B-P House - walked there, visited the Museum, their shop, nad
met some Canadians on their way to WJ. The statue of BP outside is worth the
visit, the museum is a bonus - it is a simple sets of displays describing the
evolution of scouting and of Baden-Powell's life. Then off to the Scoutshop -
nothing their that I had not seen at the store at Gilwell Park. The Guide
Association store is nearly next door and I went through their shop as well.
Then I headed to Charterhouse - on foot - this took me through Picadilly Circus
and past a lot of London sites. It is probably 5 miles from Buckingham Palace.
There is only a little of Charterhouse from BP's day still standing and the
square has signs on it describing the development of more building for the
hospital. Took some photos of the pieces I was interested in. Charterhouse is
also close the the National Postal Museum - stopped there [good opportunity for
SOSSI members stamps and Scouting within two blocks of each other!]
Sunday - final day of the tour - off to Westminster Abbey to see the memorial
to the Baden-Powell's. Beautiful to see but they do not allow photographs.
Then I toured the other sites along the Thames. Returned to Paddington
District where my hotel was in the late part of the day and walked down
Stanhope Street. B-P was born at a house here. The address is in dispute, I
have heard both 6 and 11 which is either side of the street. There is no
marker here - just a good feeling.
Monday - home.
Hope this is what you were interested in Ron.
<->, <W>ait, <D>el, <R>eply, <A>gain, <N>ext, <H>elp or <S>top?
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