Ernest Vaux of Herrington Hall had served in the Boer War with Baden-Powell and on his return formed a Scout Troop as a pilot scheme in 1907. Meeting in Castle Street, Sunderland, many of the 400 members the following year were from the Waifs and Strays Rescue Agency and Vaux’s own Troop were inspected by Baden-Powell.

In 1908 B-P visited Sunderland and two people were paid to run a Scout troop as an experiment.

1st Herrington

The 1st Herrington Troop was started in 1910 by PL Fred Duke and was at first confined to 8 Choir Boys who formed the “Ram Patrol” with Mr John Allen as ScoutMaster and Mr W Watchman as Assistant SM 1910-1912.

1st Herrington Troop, 1910

Originally the Troop met in a farm cottage on Herrington Hill, then moved down to West Herrington, near St Cuthbert’s churchyard. HQ is now at Devon Street, Herrington Burn.

1st Herrington Troop, 1917 at the ‘Hut on the Hill’.

They raised funds by a Concert and bought a beautiful Union Jack, Troop Flag; Tracking Irons, Camping Utensils and had an old Bell Tent given to them. Major and Mrs Cuthbert Vaux were much pleased by their inspection of the Troop and also by the Troop display of Ambulance and Signalling.

ASM Joe Allen was in charge from 1912-1913. Miss Jane Helen McLaren was first official ScoutMaster. She was one of the first woman Scout leaders in the country. The McLarens came from Scotland and lived at the stackyard, New Herrington. As a farmer’s daughter Miss McLaren was accepted as a leader (farmers were people of standing, miners were not). The first inspection under SM McLaren was in October 1913. As ladies had to be accompanied Miss McLaren had a companion, Miss Phillips, who went to camp etc. with her.

Miss Phillips and Miss McLaren

The Scout’s Hut was opened on July 18th 1914 by Mr Blackburn, in the presence of Mrs Vaux, Mr Austin Kirkup and others; was originally a workmans hut at Stoneygate waterworks. Mr Blackburn very kindly gave it to the Troop on condition that they would remove it; which they did, with much strenuous effort and perseverance, and some kindly help; which was amply rewarded on the great occasion of July 18th, when parents and friends were invited; and tea was provided in the NEW HQ. One of the Scout activities was to go from the Headquarters along the flat (Battery Road) in Scouts pace (20 paces running then 20 walking). During WWI Miss McLaren was a voluntary nurse at the RLI.

1st Herrington Pack, 1925 at the ‘Hut on the Hill’.

Scouting was kept alive due to people with money or connections. Although TPTB probably didn’t know it, the Lambton-Hetton-Joicey colliery were suppliers of all the Scouts’ needs in Houghton district. The Vaux’s of Herrington Hall also played an important part e.g. finding employment for Scouts. The Group were given a building on the Lambton estate by McLaren but as the McLarens were leaseholders the Lambtons knew nothing of it.

Mr Dickinson and 1st Herrington Rovers, 1920.

1st Herrington Troop always take part in competitions run by Houghton District and Durham County. Cub sports are named after Miss McLaren. The McLaren trophy (a hiking competition) is after her cousin, Ross Scott McLaren.

Miss McLaren was very good at persuading people to do the things she wanted done. She went on to become Assistant District Commissioner (General Duties) in 1920-1921.

1st Herrington 1920’s

1st Herrington 1920’s

1st Herrington 1925 trek cart

1st Herrington 1925

1st Herrington 1927

1st Herrington Leaders, 1928.

1st Herrington Group, early 1950’s.

Many thanks to Mr J Lowerson, ex-GSL of 1st Herrington for the information and permission to use the photographs. Also to Derek Brown for additional photographs.

2nd Herrington

2nd Herrington Troop was started during the war. During the war ½ clothing coupon had be given for a neckerchief, so 2nd Herrington used yellow dusters!

From 1950-1953 (and possibly for some time before and after these years) the 2nd Herrington Scout troop HQ was in the farm cottage immediately to the north of the big tree at the north end of Windsor Terrace – these cottages are marked C on the Holme Lea farm site plan.  The previous occupant of this cottage was the family of Mr Walter Godfrey (and his dog Gyp) before they moved to Woodside.  Walter was the foreman at Ivy House Farm.  The Scoutmaster at this time was Mr George Angus, the postmaster.  In one of these years the Summer Camp took place at Raby Castle and was visited by the Deputy Chief Scout.  When Herrington Hall was demolished in 1957-8 the stable block was converted for their use and it is still in use today. They were tenants up until 1974 but were then granted a 999 year lease by Sunderland Rural District.