A Potted History of the 17th S W Leeds (St Bart’s & St Mary’s) Scout Group.
We are unable to be sure of the date when the 17th S. W. Leeds Scout Group was opened but our records show that the first meeting of our Parents Committee was held in 1916.
The Group was named 17th S W Leeds (St Dunstan’s) Scout Group and was a member of the Leeds Scout County.
The members wore Blue shirts, shorts and socks with neckerchiefs with Green and Yellow halves and met in the lower hall of St. Dunstan's Church
Sometime after the Group acquired its own Scout Hut in the grounds of the St Dunstan’s new Church hall.
Over the years the Group has seen many changes. In 1950 the 3rd S W Leeds Group (Bisset Mission) closed and was amalgamated with the 17th S W.
In 1951 the 8th S W Leeds (St Hughes) Group closed and once again there was an amalgamation, at this time the title of the Group was changed to the 17th S W Leeds (Armley Parish) Scout Group.
Around this time the Scout Hut was burned down on one Bonfire Night (A stray rocket had landed on the felt roof) and the meeting place was once again the Lower Church Hall.
In 1953 St Dunstan’s Church was to close which left us homeless, at this point we moved into the School room at St Hugh’s Church. In time St Hugh’s Church was to close and the Group moved into the Church Institute at St Bartholomew’s in Wesley Road.
In the early 1960s the Group decided that we would raise funds for a new Headquarters and thanks to some hard earned Fund Raising were able to commence building in 1964.
(There is a separate article on our Web Site with more information about this.)
This building was to be at the bottom of the vicarage garden on the suggestion of Fr McCurry (Vicar at the time).
In 1965 following new P O R (Policy Organization And rules) all Cubs and Scouts were to wear fawn shirts with long trousers and Central Yorkshire Scout County replaced the Leeds Scout County, at this time the 17th decided to change their neckerchiefs to maroon.
At the same time the Church decided to sell the Institute and build a new Church Hall which meant that we had to find somewhere to meet pending the completion of our own building.
We were pleased to be able to get permission from Branch Road Methodist Church (Now “Mikes Carpets”) which we used for nine months pending the completion of our new H Q. (April 1967)
In 1968 the 15th S W Leeds Scout Group (Whingate Methodist) found it necessary to close and their members were given the choice to either join the 17th S W or the 2nd S W when five of their Troop opted for the 17th S W.
In the nineteen seventies the 7th S W (St Mary of Bethany) found it necessary to close due to a lack of Leaders and they were amalgamated with the 17th S W
It was at this juncture that we changed our Group Name to 17th S W Leeds (St Bart’s and St. Mary’s) Scout Group and to add a white border to our plain maroon neckerchiefs to accommodate the 7th S W who had previously worn Scarlet red with a white border. As can be seen the 17th South West Leeds Scout Group has had a very chequered history and are the second oldest Group in West Leeds District.
Currently our Church Diocese is in the process of selling the land on which the Church Hall and the Scout Headquarters stand and a new Parish Centre to be built attached to the Church.
The Scout Group has been fully involved in the planning of the new hall and has been allocated the ground floor of the building with all of the facilities which we currently have including a garage for our Group mini bus and trailer.
We are very much looking forward to the move into the new premises.