The Gilwell Scarf

William de Bois Maclaren, a Scottish businessman and the District Commissioner for  Rossneath, Dunbartonshire, paid £7,000 in 1919 to buy Gilwell Park, a 55-acre estate on the edge of Epping Forest, London, as a training centre for Scouters and as a camp site for Scouts. He also paid another £3,000 to help put the Wite House into good repair, as the place had been abandoned for the previous 14 years and was virtually derelict. When Gilwell Park was officially opened on 26th July 1919 Mrs Maclaren cut ribbons in Scout colours (green and yellow) that were hung across the doorway to the White House to mark the opening. B-P then presented Maclaren with the Silver Wolf as a sign of the great debt that the Movement owed to him.

Not much more is known about Maclaren, apart from the fact that he wrote several books including Climbs and Changes, Chuckles from a Cheery Corner, The Rubber Tree Book and Word Pictures of War (a book of poetry based on experiences of the First World War). He died in 1921. In his honour the Gilwell staff wore a scarf made of Maclaren tartan. However to reduce the expense a scarf of dove grey cloth (the colour of humility) with a warm red lining (to signify warmth of feeling) was substituted with a patch of Maclaren tartan on the point of the scarf and worn by those passing the Gilwell practical course. In 1924 use of the scarf became restricted to Wood Badge holders only. Today the scarf is more the earth tone colour beige than grey but the reason and the date of this development has not been found.

Posted in Wood Badge Facts