History of SCOGUI

Scouting and Guiding in Higher Education has its roots in the early years of both movements, with Oxford and Cambridge, along with London, Manchester and Knutsford all appearing around 1915. Initially most of the set ups were Rover Scout Crews, Ranger Crews and it was not until the 1920s that clubs started to appear in any number.

During the 1920s many of the current clubs were formed Birmingham (1929), Bristol, Leeds, Durham amongst others. Clubs were registered centrally at Imperial Headquarters and did not require a leader unlike Crews. There was little interaction between Crews and clubs, except for the periodic Oxbridge and Birmingham gatherings.

After WW2 there was an attempt to co-ordinate the activities of the crews and clubs and encourage interaction, In 1947 the first Intervarsity Rally was held. IV was a fluid organisation (much more so than SSAGO) whose role it was to organise the annual IV rally for university clubs/crews. Birmingham organised the 1947 rally, HQ organised the next two and in 1950 it was decided to formalise the organisation. In 1951 the first IV conference was held at Foxlease organised by Reading.

Loughborough first appear in 1953, but it is unclear why they were accepted at the IV rallies being as they were a collection of colleges until the mid 1960s. They consistently appeared at summer rallies from 1953 through to 1956, and did organise a national weekend in Stratford in 1955 or 56. Loughborough along with Sheffield had no Guide Club so at every conference had to ask for special dispensation to be allowed to send two male delegates. After 1956 there is no mention of a Loughborough Club at all.

In 1957 a separate organisation for Scout and Guide Clubs in training colleges (Intercollegiate) was formed and although not clear it is highly likely that Loughborough switched to this organisation. There are no archives for the intercollegiate organisation as it was relatively short lived being effectively dead by 1965.

By 1964 the ideological differences between Intercollegiate and Intervarsity were narrowing and a merger would occur in 1966/67. After much deliberation the name “Student Scout and Guide Organisation”, was chosen from “Interrallya”, “Educational Scout and Guide Organisation”, “Inter Collegiate-Varsity Organisation” and “National Student Scout and Guide Conference/ Clubs”. Loughborough gained university status in the mid 1960s and appears to have played an active role in the early days of the organisation.

The club ran the first SSAGO Autumn rally at Shelthorpe School. It was noted that male and females slept either side of a swimming pool and a number of people got wet trying to cross it. There is also mention in Kudu the SSAGO News of its day of a Loughborough pub crawl involving the Generous Britain, Forest Gate (now the Toby) and EHB.

During the 1970s SSAGO struggled to develop as membership remained optional for Scout and Guide Clubs (and would continue to do so until 1988). Loughborough was awarded the autumn 1971 rally, but pulled out after being unable to find a suitable indoor venue. Spring and autumn rallies would continue to be indoors until the early 1980s when increasingly stringent fire regulations, pressure of public building and run away inflation meant that it was no longer viable. A rally did occur at the Oaks in the summer of 1973 but this may have been organised by Leicester University or the Polytechnic rather than Loughborough.

After about 1973 the club appears to go dead but may just have avoided rallies. Although its not particularly clear they appear to have spent two years as an unofficial club between 1976 and 1978, but increasingly becoming active in the organisation. SSAGO was at the height of a major crisis with major cash flow problems, rallies not happening but having 1920 members in 1979.

This is the period when Scogui is first used consistently as a term to identify the club. This is almost certainly when the Bear appeared. The Bear has badges and stitching for the Auchenrallie which was in 1983 and the Lufbra rally which was in 1982. Scogui ran the Summer 1982 rally and contemporary papers strongly suggest that this was expected to be the last ever rally.

After 1983 the club appeared to go into decline and almost certainly closed for all (or at least a substantial portion) of the period 1983 – 1987. Since 1987 the club appears to have been consistently in operation, making it one of the longest running of the current clubs.

Into the 1990s the SSAGO archives are rather thin but they ran one of the 1993 rallies jointly with Nottingham after one of the Scottish clubs folded. During this rally Scogui was stolen by the Nottingham club then called NOGS. Perhaps the last time that Scogui was stolen properly. Scogui and CRAP organised the 1999 Autumn Rally at the Oaks, the 2003 Spring Rally and more recently a team from Scogui organised the 2007 “Down Under” Spring Rally.

Martin Whelan 2003

(Updated by Andrew Prudom, 2007)