Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Girlguiding through the 20th Century

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to complete my Girlguiding Leadership qualification. One day I would like to run a 1940s-style group for either Brownies or Guides, or maybe both. All of the activities would be like those practiced in the '40s and '50s - crafts, knitting, cooking and so on. I spent some time researching Brownie and Guide uniforms. Take a look:


The first Brownies were called Rosebuds, and their uniforms consisted of a dark blue skirt, matching jersey and beret, but this uniform later changed to brown. A Rosebud was expected to know how:
✓ The Union Jack is made up and how to fly it
✓ To tie a reef knot, sheetbend, clove hitch, bowline, sheepshank and fisherman's knot
✓ To do bending exercises
Brownies could work for the Entrance Test, Second Class Badge and First Class Test.
To pass her First Class Test a Brownie would be expected to do certain activities including:
✓ Clean knives, forks and spoons
✓ Fold clothes for mangling
✓ Knit a pair of socks or wristlets
✓ Know how to apply a triangular bandage
✓ Understand and carry out six physical exercises
✓ Make a milk pudding
✓ Carry a message of twelve words in her head and deliver it correctly

A brown beret was introduced in 1950, and in 1964 Brownies were allowed to wear a cardigan.
The test was called Golden Hand (First Class) and had four sections. Examples of what they included are:
✓ Intelligence - tie up and address a parcel for the post, using any slip knot
✓ Handicraft - lay and light a fire
✓ Health - skip thirty times without a break
✓ Service - carry a message of at least twelve words in her head for over five minutes and deliver it correctly


There were two different kinds of uniform - a dark blue dress, which was introduced in 1929 and was very popular, and the above. The skirts became shorter during WWII due to restrictions on material.
During the war Guides did a lot of extra First Aid and gained Red Cross certificates. The Red Cross was the main charity then and they raised money for it with Bake Sales and Concerts. Other special wartime activities were collecting sheep's wool from fences and gathering rose hips to make syrup. One curious collection was gathering cotton reels, which were made of wood in those days, apparently for the RAF!

The brown tie indicates that the Guide is a pack leader. The brighter blue shirt was introduced in 1946.
Guides would all have to pass their Tenderfoot badge before becoming enrolled and then they could begin on their Second Class badge which would take up to one or two years to complete.
Following this, they could then progress to their First Class badge, which was very difficult to achieve and then, and only then, could they begin on their Queen's Guide award. This had to be completed by their 16th birthday.
 (All information from Girl Guiding Norfolk Heritage.)

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