1st Southwold Guides
The 1st Southwold Baden-Powell Girl Guide Company opened on June 21st 1910, with 2 Officers and 12 Guides being enrolled by July, making them the oldest recorded Guide Company in Suffolk. Many of you may recognise the photo of 2 Southwold Guides, which is often used for Publicity purposes as a good representation of early Guide uniform. By the end of their first year they had earned a total of 69 Efficiency Badges, quite a testimony to their keenness in pursuing this “Great Game” of Robert Baden-Powell’s.
They met weekly at Sunset House, the home of their Captain, Miss Holmes, and some of the photos shown here have been taken in the gardens.
Some early records from the Golden Rule and the Girl Guide Gazette state that they raised £4.1s.1d. for the Titanic Fund, which they forwarded to the Lord Mayor of London, and that they dressed 13 dolls when they participated in the Evening News’ Santa Claus Scheme. The photo of them “taking tea” in 1913 shows a healthy increase in their numbers, and in 1914 they issued a half-yearly report on the progress which had been made in the 4 years they had been open. It was during this year that their original Registration Certificate was lost, when it disappeared after billeted soldiers had used their meeting room, so they had to re-register, but Captain Holmes noted the original start date on the new Certificate.
In 1980, the newspapers proudly stated that “They never closed in 70 years” having stayed open during 2 World Wars, quite a feat for an east coast company during a time when the threat of invasion stopped many gatherings of local people in strategic military areas. During this time, the meetings were often run entirely by the Guides themselves, as their Leaders were engaged on “War Work” and unavailable to attend.