St Margaret’s Associations

Research by Antonette Hunter

It must have been wonderful for the families coming to Burnage from the slums of central Manchester. Not only moving into spacious houses with gardens and tree lined avenues, but also being able to join the many associations that were available in the area. A lot of these were based  at the local churches. 

At St Margaret’s Church, there were numerous community associations: the Brownies, the Guides, the Cubs and the Scouts.

The Scouts

In 1907 Lord Baden- Powell Baden Powell sounded an antelope horn and called 20 boys from cross sections of  society to start an 8 day camp at Brownsea island, Dorset. At this point he had no intention of starting a new movement and simply wanted to provide a programme of activities that other existing organisations could use. In 1910 he retired and founded the Boy Scouts Association. He and his sister Agnes Baden- Powell then started the Girl Guide movement in 1912. The original scout promise was ‘I will do my duty to god and the Queen. I will do my best to help others whatever it costs me. I know the scout law and I will obey it’. It was said that this gave boys a focus and aim. 

The scout group in Burnage was started in around 1911.  One of the scout masters at St Margaret’s, Bob Garside, hand wrote 75 journals with photographs and articles on his time in the scouts. These are now kept in Archives+ at Manchester Central Library and can be viewed upon request. Garside wrote

‘They are the only record in existence of a large and varied number of maniacs who have gathered round me in the course of the years’.

He held warrants as assistant chief cub master and rover leader as well as holding various divisional offices. He spoke of camps and events he had attended all over the country, including a  house in the grounds of Dunham massey, Cheshire and a Rovers guest house in Whaley Bridge Derbyshire.

The Rover Scouts.

The Rover Scout movement was formed during the First World War, 1917, for older boys, aged 15 to 18.

The Brownies and the Guides

Toni interviewed Sheila Brown who was very heavily involved in the St Margaret’s Guides, even being awarded an OBE for services to the community. Hear part of the interview here:

The Mother’s Union. 

The first recorded meeting of the Mother’s Union was in 1896. Sixty ladies attended the first meeting.

Whit Sunday

On Whit Sunday each year from 1897, there was a procession of witness to Mauldeth Hospital, which at one time was called the Hospital for the incurables. The Burnage Band used to lead the procession and other organisations  from the area attended. The hospital closed in 1980.

There were many other associations which we will be exploring over the coming months. Do you have memories of community groups you or your family were involved with? Do you have photographs to go with them? Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.