Our History

5 March 2020

We are a small group in the Royal Greenwich district of Greater London South, situated on the Coldharbour Estate of New Eltham. We enjoy a very active programme thanks to the help and support of our leaders and helpers.

Following the reunion of former members the history of the 4th Royal Eltham is a little clearer however, records remain unclear as to exactly when the group was formed.

The 4th strangely enough may have been the first scout troop in Eltham. It was formed by W. J. Munro about 18 months after Robert Baden-Powell had the notion to take a bunch of boys camping and teach them the skills of an army scout. They met in a large garden shed briefly before moving to the Gordon school in Eltham and took the name Gordon Rangers (after the great General).

Troop registration document dated 14th December 1913

At that time the South London Scout Association was drawn up in Parliamentary Boundaries and the meeting place was deemed to be in Greenwich and was identified as the 12th Greenwich. Baden Powell, recognising that he had started something, brought into being the Scout Association.  However, as the Scout Association developed, new boundaries were drawn up in 1911 and in 1912 the group was reclassified as the 4th Royal Eltham (Gordon Rangers).  

Mr Munroe continued as Scout Master of the rapidly growing troop. In 1916 the troop were invited to use the hall of St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Westmount Road as their headquarters. The group grew with the addition of a Wolf Cub Pack under the leadership of Mrs Jupp. During the 30’s Edward (Ted) Cowdry joined the 4th and became Group Scout Master until 1939 when the group was suspended because of the war. Hitler claimed the meeting place and probably most of the boys.

It was not until 1954 that George King (a local policeman) and John Efferden (Effy) got together with some friends to reform the group at Ruxley Manor School. For a few years the 17th met at St Albans Church but amalgamated with the 4th in 1959.

4th Royal Eltham – 1960

The group remained based at Ruxley Manor for more than 50 years. The Troop met at St Albans Church for a few years in the 70’s, with the Cubs at the school and a second Cub Pack at nearby Greenacres school.

This arrangement ended on 19th July 2001 when local politicians thought it would be a good idea to close Ruxley Manor school and merge it with Montbelle School.  So now reverting to our nomadic past we  moved once more, this time to the Community Centre in  William Barefoot Drive.

The group took the challenge of the District Commissioner and started a Beaver colony in October 2017 with 7 children at the first meeting.

Group Scout Leaders are the lynchpin of every group. The 4th has been blessed with several enthusiastic GSL’s over the years.
First recorded GSL is Edward (Ted) Cowdry who served from about 1933 to 39 when the 2nd world war saw the group suspended. His two sons were to later join the group as Scouts and his wife Pat became Cub leader.
George King , a local Police Officer was GSL from 1950 to 1965, he oversaw the growth of the group and the amalgamation of the 17th with the 4th.
Colin   Dawson      another Police Officer followed from 1965 to 1975
George Learmouth (Chil ) 1975 to 1980. Chil arrived at a time when the 4th was in trouble financially.  He bought a large van at auction that was used by the group to collect waste paper on a regular Sunday round on Coldharbour  Estate. The van was also used to take cubs and scouts on camps and other activities.  The paper round was a huge success and put the group on a firm footing again. 
Adrian Grieves 1980 to 2018. Adrian joined the 4th at the age of 8 in May 1959 he went through to Scouts, Ventures, assistant Scout Leader and Group Scout Leader.  Adrian is still with us as President and Treasurer.  We rely on his Scouting knowledge and fundraising abilities.