Helping with your heritage research

The Heritage Service runs a heritage enquiries service to help support your research. We are also able to offer a limited number of research appointments throughout the year for you to conduct your own primary research.

The Enquiries Service is delivered by our Heritage Research Assistant who works Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please email heritage@scouts.org.uk

We don’t charge for the Enquiries Service but do encourage users to make a donation to the Heritage Development Fund to support the department’s ongoing work.

Frequently asked questions regarding heritage enquiries and research

What kind of heritage enquiries can you help with?
• Photo or object identification
• Group and district histories
• Information about World Scout Jamborees
• History of early Scout pioneers

Can you tell me the name of my Scout leader?
We can only release information about individuals who are deceased. This is in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. Information about deceased individuals is only released at The Scout Association’s discretion, we may require information about how you intend you use the information. If you think the person concerned may be deceased we would require proof (death certificate, obituary or similar) before we’re able to release the information.

Can you tell me when my Scout Group started?
For active groups this information is available on Compass. The Heritage Service can provide copies of original registration forms. If the form dates from after 1936 all personal details of past leaders will be removed from the form before it is released in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

We should be able to help you find your groups registration forms but please provide us with as much information as possible. We will need: name of Group, any previous Group names you are aware of, District and County/Area/Region.

Background information to group registrations:
Until 1919 Scout Troops and Wolf Cub Packs weren’t registered at HQ. Local Associations registered at HQ and the Troops and Packs registered with the Local Association.

From 1919 all Packs and Troops were registered at HQ, each Pack or Troop had its own registration number. In 1928 the Group system as we know it today was introduced. Packs and Troops were brought together to form Scout Groups, each Group was issued with its own number.

Can you give me information about international Scout Movements?
We hold some limited information from sources such as Robert Baden-Powell’s reports or letters relating to his world tours. We hold more information about countries who had Groups of British Scouts Overseas or who are dependant territories.

Do you provide copies of film of early Scouts or Robert Baden-Powell?
We can provide photographs but we will require information about how you wish to use the film before we can agree to release it. Commercial use is charged. Any use of the photographs should be credited to The Scout Association Heritage Service.

Can you provide photographs of Scouts or Robert Baden-Powell?
We can provide photographs but we will require information about how you wish to use the photograph before we can agree to release it. Commercial use is charged. Any use of the photographs should be credited to The Scout Association Heritage Service.

Other sources of information about Scout Heritage or memorabilia:
The International Badgers Club – Scout and Guide badge collectors
The Scout and Guide Stamp Club

I would like to conduct my own research, can I use the Heritage Collection?
We are able to host a small number of research visits at Gilwell Park. We require at least one months’ notice but more if possible. We will do our best to accommodate your needs but please understand that we are a very small team with limited capacity. If you would like to book a research visit we will require you to fill out a booking form and agree to our terms and conditions. Please contact heritage@scouts.org.uk for more details.

Are there any restrictions on publishing material found in the Heritage Collection?
There may be some restrictions and we will discuss these should these be relevant to the nature of your research.