Bronze Age young people would have looked across the natural harbour of Christchurch and had adventures in the open air, returning to camp to enjoy fires. Over the ages, around the convergence of the River Avon and the River Stour in Dorset, England, a small town grew.

Into this small market town came news from ‘Scouting for Boys’ and eager faces lifted to willing adults to start their own troops. Since 1908 the adventure and fun has continued and now over 600 young people enjoy scouting in this busy, beautiful area.

Our Heritage

Scouting has been happening in Christchurch District since 1908. It most likely happened yesterday too, providing fun, friendship and adventure for around 600 young people.

Our District was formed in 1909 and officially recognised by the then Imperial Headquarters in 1910.

To mark the Millennium, the district’s heritage was researched by John Reed and a book was produced. It outlined the start of scouting in Christchurch and the surrounding communities, around 1909-1910. The story hic-cupped during the two world wars and the troops and groups ebbed and flowed. But scouting carried on and moved onwards, developing and growing following Baden-Powell’s vision.

Christchurch homes scout troop, 1923. © Peter Higginbotham. Image by kind permission from Peter Higginbottom and his workhouse website

District 1909

We know it as ‘The Scout Association’ now, but back in 1909 it was ‘Imperial Headquarters’. The beginnings of this global movement saw the organisation and registration of Scout Troops and Cub packs at a District level, usually based on a town and including surrounding villages. Christchurch District was formed in 1909, registered in 1910 and received its formal warrant in 1911.

Originally named ‘Christchurch and district’ and part of Hampshire, it became part of Dorset in 1972, and in 2017 was renamed simply as ‘Christchurch’.

… read more

Locally 1908

Across the town and surrounding villages, scout groups were formed, closed, re-opened, continued. Through world wars, economic changes and boundary changes. From 102 scouts in 1911, there are over 600 in 2017. Beavers, Cubs and Scouts run every night of the week as part of Scout Groups, and each has their own style and their own heritage.

… Read more


If you’re interested in supporting our project to preserve our archives,

or you would like to offer more info on our heritage,

or you’d like to ask us something,

email heritage@christchurchscouts.org.uk


In 2018, Graham Budd took over the role of Archivist and is creating a catalogue of our sources. After that we hope to gather more sources and update our heritage story.