leslie's guiding traditions

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From early days, part of the uniform was the Guide's staff, or stave.  It even features on the cover illustration for the 1912 handbook, as we can see.  The stave was a length of pole like a broom handle, which was carried by Guides and by Scouts.  One end was marked in feet and inches, the marks being burned in with a hot wire or poker.  


The Patrol Leader's stave was topped by the Patrol Flag - a pennant-style flag with the Patrol Badge on white fabric.  Initially, the Patrol Leader was expected to embroider or paint the design herself, later printed flags could be bought from the Guide trading service.


The stave was intended to have many purposes.  As well as helping during walking, it could be used for measuring the depth of streams or puddles.  Two could be used to make an improvised stretcher.  They could be used together to hold back crowds.  They could be used in pioneering or bridge building.  


On the downside, they could be a problem on public transport where they were invariably in the way - and in meeting halls it was often found necessary to create a rack for them, to avoid the problem of them being propped against walls in corners and falling down.  


So although they continued to be part of the uniform into the 1930s, in reality it was rare for them to be seen regularly after the early 1920s.