leslie's guiding traditions

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When Guiding was first started, there were no trainings for Guiders.  They had their copies of "Scouting for Boys", the article from the Scout "Headquarters Gazette" of November 1909, plus the monthly copies of that magazine, and 'pamphlet A' and 'pamphlet B' from headquarters.  The rest was down to their own imagination and initiative. 


With Guiding demanding a wide range of skills from stalking to semaphore, camp cooking to ceremonial, the Guiders soon found a need to pool their knowledge learn new skills.  Following a discussion at an Officers' camp held at Boxmoor in September 1915, the Officers' Training School was formed on October 12th, 1915.  An executive committee was formed, chaired by Mrs Agatha Blyth.  


So in the January 1916 edition of the Girl Guides Gazette, the following paragraphs appeared:

"OFFICERS' TRAINING SCHOOL

A training school for officers has been started at 8, Kinnerton Street, London S.W., by kind permission of Mrs Lumley Holland.  The idea is to unite Guide Officers all over the country for mutual help and encouragement.  

The annual subscription is only 1s.  Fuller particulars can be obtained from Miss Compton Burnet, 45, Cambridge Mansions, Battersea Park, London, S.W."

In the February 1916 issue, fuller details appeared: 

"OFFICERS' TRAINING SCHOOL

Under the presidency of Mrs. Blyth, an Officers' Training School has been formed with headquarters at 8 Kinnerton Street, London, S.W., (kindly lent by Mrs. Lumley Holland).  The object is to unite Guide Officers all over the country for mutual help and training, also to be an examining centre for officers.

The school is open every Tuesday from 11 to 6.  Training is given in signalling, company and stretcher drill, company organisation and handicrafts.

Trainers will be sent out to Companies about to be formed, and organisers to new districts for a small fee.  It is hoped to hold a camp in the summer.

Full particulars can be obtained from the temporary hon. sec., Miss Hetherington, 8 Kinnerton Street, S.W."

In the July 1916 Girl Guides' Gazette:

"The O.T.S.

The Officers' Training School has taken an unfurnished cottage on a farm in Feldon, which lies about two miles above Boxmoor Station.  The cottage can be used by London companies for camps, either for the week-end or longer.  Please write for particulars to the Hon. Sec., Miss Hetherington, 23b North Hill, Highgate.

A certain amount of farm work can be learnt by Officers wishing to camp at the cottage.

The School patrols now number eleven.  As the members increase daily, and up to this date reach now over one hundred, new patrol leaders will be welcomed.  The Hon. Sec., will be pleased to furnish all particulars.  

A branch of the O.T.S. has been started at Poplar, and it is hoped that other branches will be formed in the Provinces.

It is proposed to devote the first week in September to re-decorating the Headquarters of the O.T.S. (kindly lent by Mrs. Lumley Holland).  Officers who wish to help please send in their names to Miss Hetherington.  During this week opportunity will be given the helpers to qualify for their Handywoman's Badge."


"OFFICERS' TRAINING SCHOOL

A course of correspondence lessons for training Guide Officers has been arranged, price 6d. and 2s. 6d., for examination fee.  Anyone wishing to take these should apply to Miss Hetherington, 23B, North Hill, Highgate, London, N.

The school would be very glad of the gift of a typewriter.

The Officers' Training School is increasing so rapidly in numbers that it has been found necessary to divide it up into Patrols.

Each Leader is sent the names and addresses of the members in her Patrol, and she then arranges a system by which the correspondence lessons are circulated and returned to her.  Leaders are asked to send back the papers to the Secretary within a month.

Each member as she joins the school will be asked if she is willing to become a Leader of a Patrol.

The Leaders will have the correspondence lessons and final examination free of charge, and also all postal charges paid.

The Patrol Leaders are asked to take an interest in their Patrols, and can arrange to let their members send them notes on the lessons if they like; in any case , the Patrols will be classed and published in the Gazette.

The Leaders are also asked to choose flower emblems and names by which their patrols will be known."

In the November 1916 Girl Guides' Gazette, the first annual report of the Guide Officers' Training School, more familiarly known as 'Goats' was published.  The correspondence course had proved popular with 110 Guiders entering, from across Britain and Ireland, and India.  The camp was attended by 40 Guiders, and the school had been visited by Lord and Lady Baden-Powell.  An optional OTS uniform had been adopted for drills, marches and camp fatigues.  The school hoped to tackle war work during the Christmas holiday.

In March 1917 the O.T.S. announced a 'pilgrimage', from London to Compton being held in April, which would include visiting Guide companies en route.  They also advertised their annual camp, in August.

In June 1917 the O.T.S. moved to larger premses at 3 Bryanstone Place in London; furniture and practical equipment was requested for the four-storey building.  It was confirmed that Lady Baden-Powell had agreed to speak at the opening ceremony on 5th July.  It was also advised that Mrs Blyth would be leading training camps in Hampshire in July, and Hertfordshire in August.

December 1917 - G.G.O.T.S. Training week 5-12 January 1918, beginning with Christmas good turn 

January 1918 Girl Guides Gazette - London school - term runs 29 January to 26 March, covering First Class work, Monday evening drill classes also available.  

West of England - applications open for correspondence course.

June 1918 Girl Guides' Gazette - report on North East of England G.G.O.T.S. opened in Manchester July-September 1917, catering for 92 students over 10 weeks.

September 1918 Girl Guides' Gazette - list of Guiders who graduated from the three Officers; Training Schools (London, North of England, West of England) as Diploma'd Guiders.

November 1918 Girl Guides' Gazette - Mrs. Blyth has resigned, and it has been decided to close the Officers' Training School.  

A South of England Guiders' School will open in Wimbledon, under Miss Maynard, former member of the London O.T.S. 

It is not made clear why the school had been closed so suddenly, nor why it was immediately being replaced by another school, in a different building, with a different Leader in Charge.