English Boy Scouts: Attention to Uniforms


Figure 1.--The English Scouts are undergoing an inspection. The photograph is undayed, but looks to be the late 1950s or early 60s. An English Scouter described this as a "Parade inspection".

The English Scouts from the beginning have give more attention to the uniform than Scouts in many other countries. The English Scouts continue to require a uniform while Scouts in many other countries, especially in Europe, have virtually given up on uniforms. We note that uniform inspections were an important part of English Scouting. Some Scout masters were sticklers for a spit and polish turn out, but this varied quite a bit. This was less true in other national Scout programs. Certainly it was less true in Ameirican Scouting. Uniform standards are less rigorous in English Scouting today, but few European Scouts groups have such high uniform regulations as the English. A reflection of this attitude toward the uniform can be seen at Scout band competitions.

Chronological Trends

Early Scouts

The English Scouts from the beginning have give more attention to the uniform than Scouts in many other countries. To an extent this was reflected in the many early Scout leaders, including Baden Powell, active in organizing the early Scouts. The militarization of the movement was in fact one of the issues with the competing British Boy Scouts.

Modern Scouts

The English Scouts continue to require a uniform while Scouts in many other countries, especially in Europe, have virtually given up on uniforms. We note that uniform inspections were an important part of English Scouting.

Inspections

Some Scout masters wre sticklers for a spit and polish turn out. Some troops had regular and quite thorough inspections. This varied quite a bit from troop to troop, depending largely on the Scout master. Such inspections, however, were more common in English Scouiting than in most other countries. This was less true in other national Scout programs. Certainly it was less true in Ameirican Scouting. Uniform standards are now less rigorous in English Scouting today, but few European Scouts groups have such high uniform regulations as the English.

Scout Bands

A reflection of the attitude toward uniforms can be seen at Scout band competitions. The bands are graded on their turn-out as well as the music. The English bands usually have highly polished shoes. Some wear socks over them until the moment of competing. Many wear white gloves. The Cubs often compete in white kneesocks.






Christopher Wagner






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Created: April 11, 2002
Last updated: April 11, 2002