The Founding Years
It was in October 1895, that H. Geoffrey Elwes was inspired by a sermon given by Rev. Gardiner at All Saints, in the High Street, to 'do something for young men'.
His Sunday school became a bible class. By 1902 it had grown considerably an became known as the club St George, meeting in rooms at 155 high street. In 1905; following a suggestion by the Rev. Frank Leggartt of lion walk, the club became the St Georges Institute, for young men.
William Bunting had a Gymnasium and social room built in Culver Street, 1906, named the St George's Gymnasium, but soon to be known as the Bunting Gynasium and Bunting Rooms. H. Geoffrey Elwes read an early copy of Scouting for Boys and decided to incorporate Baden-Powell's ideas in junior branch of the institute programme.
By May 1908, the 1st Colchester Troop had formed, within the institute, with five patrols and wallace Cole as the first Scoutmaster. A large troop, having junior and senior sections, quickly grew, and the St Georges institute slowly faded away. Geoffrey Elwes was the editor of "Headquarters Gazette", (forerunner of Scouting Magazine).
Years of Growth
Until 1985, the group met in the Bunting Rooms in Culver Street west, and Baden Powell made several visits to attend local Scouting rallies; also to the First Review of local Scouts in the Corn Exchange in October 1909.
Many members served in the armed forces during the world wars, and the war memorials are in on the wall in are current HQ. Wolf Cub and Rover Scout sections were formed in 1919. For many years the group had two Scout Troops, Known as White and Rudkin, after their leaders.
In 1941 an Air Scout Troop formed, and Sea Scout Troop followed in 1943. In addition to basic scouting, the boys began to follow their own specialist activities; the Air Scouts undertaking gliding and powered flying, model building and other activities; the Sea Scouts undertaking sailing and sea work.
Post War and New Home
The Air Scout Troop gained official recognition by the Royal Air Force in 1956 and has retained this recognition, which demands a very high standard; with an annual inspection.
The Sea Scout Troop which had a floating headquarters ship, the 'Fiona', on the river near Wivenhoe, became an independant Group in 1973, known as the 2nd Wivenhoe Colne, Sea Scouts. Colin Roxby and Tony Pope took over the leadership of the Air Scouts in 1963.
Unfortunately in 1983 the section known as the 'land scouts' went into abeyance . The Group flourished and many of the leaders have held district and county appointments, also held positions on the National Board. In 1985, the Group lowered the flag for the last time at the Culver Street premises; marched though the town, led by the Scout band and raised the flag in the new Bunting Rooms, in Essex street.
A plaque has been fixed to the remaining facade in Culver Street. To mark it eighteenth birthday the Group Badge was introduced. This depicts a shield of St George, to show the Groups's origins, with the date of formation, 1908, superimposed. The Group, looks forward to future and hopes to provide the youth of Colchester with skills for their life ahead.