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About the 26th Bristol Scout Group

A very warm welcome to the 26th Bristol (North Cote) Scout Group, one of the largest Scout Groups in the Avon Area. The reputation of the Group has been built up over 100 years. The facilities we offer today are second to none and the dedication of our uniformed leaders and members of the Executive Committee match that quality. The 26th is an ‘open’ group, it is not related to another organisation (e.g a church) and is naturally co-educational. The 26th has three Beaver Colonies, three Cub Packs, two Scout Troops and has a resident District Explorer unit.

The progressive development aspect of Scouting sets it apart from many other organisations. The activities undertaken and skills acquired by a Scout are very different from, and more advanced than, those of the Beaver: the things they could be doing when they leave are a world apart from when they arrived 12 or so years before! And it isn’t just knots – its confidence, self-reliance, ability, maturity, teamwork, and social responsibility – All valuable life skills!

This demands a lot of organisation, training, leadership, and commitment. Scouting at Northcote is run exclusively by unpaid volunteers (Leaders, Assistant Leaders, Helpers and Administrators, all of whom are parents with jobs of their own) whose reward is the satisfaction of knowing that they provide young people with an opportunity they rarely get elsewhere. The Leaders and Assistant Leaders organise and run the programmes for each of the sections and supervise their evening meetings – but they can’t do it alone, in a Group as large as the 26th, the leaders really do need active parental support.

Scouting with the “right stuff” at the 26th is a family affair and is fun! If you have any questions about the Scout Group, anything that you read on the site, or about Scouting in general then please do not hesitate to contact your child’s section leader.

History of 26th
The story of the Group begins in the summer of 1910 when the village lads formed themselves into a gang, tied a rope around their waists and equipped with a broomstick went out into the surrounding fields and woods (now the Henbury golf links) and practiced this Scouting game they had read about.

At that time the meeting place was the village green in Westbury-on-Trym (where the War Memorial now stands). The Scoutmaster was Mr C H H Castle, who lived with his parents at a house called North Cote, which is now part of Badminton School. The Troop, originally named the 26th St Albans, was registered January 1911. The Castle family owned the North Cote estate and the Troop soon established themselves on the smallest of the fields. The first hut was soon built and the present Headquarters stands on the same site. Shortly after, the name was officially changed to the “26th Bristol (North Cote)”. The “North Cote” estate was progressively developed for housing, but on Mrs. Castle’s death, what was left of the “smallest field” was donated to the Bristol Scout Association, “for the use of the North Cote Group”. Eventually, in 1957, the Group purchased the land for £530. The original wooden hut was then extensively rebuilt and enlarged.

By 1968 preliminary sketches of a new HQ had already been produced, with initial costs estimated at £15,000. The cost of the new building continued to rise, but on St. Valentine’s Day 1974 the old hut was demolished, and in May 1975 the new building was officially opened. The Group, in addition to several grants, had to borrow a considerable amount to fund the new building. In March 1979 the GSL’s “New Headquarters” file (opened in May 1972) was formally closed as the Building Fund went into credit, with a simple statement “Headquarters paid for”. The final cost was £47,000.

When Northcote was built the Group consisted of a large Cub Pack and a large Scout Troop. With these new facilities the Group continued to expand, and has more than trebled in size and now offers Scouting to girls and boys, from six to eighteen in seven sections.