Horton Kirby Scout Group

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1st Horton Kirby Scout Group History

Our History

Horton Kirby Scout Group

Horton Kirby has a long history of over 100 Years in Scouting and was one of a number of groups in the UK formed at the birth of Scouting by Lord Baden Powell in 1909. Horton Kirby Scout Group was first registered on the 22nd May 1912 and very popular in the local area where the Scout groups of South Darenth, Sutton-at-Hone and Farningham Home for little Boys were also formed soon after.


The earliest recorded references known are for the Warrants issued to Mr Percy Kemp who lived in School House, School Lane, Horton Kirby as Scoutmaster in 22nd May 1912 with Mr T.C Hanley of 10 Russell Terrace as the Assistant Scoutmaster on 17th January 1913. Mr Percy Kemp was also at the time the Head Teacher (or "The Master" as he liked to be called) of the South School in School lane, Horton Kirby which is known today as the environmental centre.

The first official Scouting records were held locally up to 1919 so very little information exists before this date. After 1919 it was necessary for each section, pack and troop to be registered at Scouting HQ in Gilwell Park, North London. Horton Kirby was registered in what was then known as The Boy Scouts Association, under the Gravesend & Dartford District on 9th January 1919 and was formally recognised by Gilwell HQ on 13 February 1919.

At the time of registration Horton Kirby were registered as part of the Gravesend & Dartford District Scout Group which consisted of Dartford, Wilmington, Stone, Greenhithe, Darenth, South Darenth, Sutton-at-Hone, Green St Green, Farningham Home for little Boys, Horton Kirby, Eynsford, Swanley and Hextable.

The Horton Kirby Scout Group for young boys thrived for a number of years with Mr Brown taking over as Head Teacher at South School in 1924 until 1937. Mr Frank Tanner of 1 Carlton Place, Horton Kirby became the Head Teacher in late in 1937 until 1940 and was registered as the Scoutmaster on the 23/2/1938 assisted by Ralph Rogers of Court Lodge until shortly before the Second World War. At this time there were 18 Scouts.

When the Local Defence Volunteers was formed (later known as the Home Guard) Frank Tanner became the organiser of the Village Platoon when there was a real prospect of Invasion and co-opted some of the Scouts as Runners and Signallers.

South School closed and was replaced Horton Kirby School in Horton Lane in the Village where it continues to thrive today.

There no records of what happened to the Scout Group during the War up 1962 when on the 8th April 1962 1st Horton Kirby registered 20 Wolf Cubs (now known as the Cub Pack) as part of the now Swanley District, located at the Village Hall and in 1968 a Scout Troop was added to the Group with both sections continuing until 1981 at the Village Hall.

During this time Ralph Rogers continued to be active in the Local Scouts group and an active member of the Committee and Chairman of the Scout Group in 1973. During the committee meeting in the Fighting Cocks on 19th September 1973 Mr Rogers offered the use of a hut in the grounds of what was the Harbour's Gravel Pit on a permanent loan to the group. Leaders visited the grounds in December that year to determine what work was needed to make it suitable for Scouting use.

After a number of years of preparing and gaining approval of plans, land clearing and access to the site sorted the new/current Horton Kirby Scout hut was opened by the then Scouts District Commissioner Eric Curties on the 15th May 1981.

In 1981 1st Horton Kirby Scout Group moved from the Village Hall to their current Scouting HQ in the Village where they remain today thanks to Ralph Rogers and Sarah Ward and their generous allocation and lease of land within the village providing a valuable community focal point for many young people who have gone on to amazing things in their lives.

In 1986 Scouting introduced Beavers for 6-8 year olds and Horton Kirby Scout Group established a Beaver Colony the same year.

In 2010 Horton Kirby formed an Explorer unit for 14-18 year olds. 

Our most recent addition has been the newly started section of Scouting....Squirrels!  This section is for 4-6 year olds and we started our Drey on 4th October 2021.

Today Horton Kirby Scout Group has around 80-90 young people who continually benefit from Scouting with some even staying on to become leaders. The sections continue to grow thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of the adult volunteers who give up their spare time run the evenings, camps and more.

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