Baden-Powell Photo Gallery
 
Baden-Powell reviews Scouts
at the Crystal Palace Rally, 1909.


British Scout Association

From: Scouts! The Rise of the World Scout Movement,
Video Documentary, Clear Horizons, 1986

Baden-Powell and the Crystal Palace Rally, a turning point:

After writing my book, Scouting for Boys, I naturally thought that boys' organizations would use it for their work and there would be little for me to do in the matter. But before very long, in the spring of 1909, I realised that quite outside such organizations, hundreds of boys were forming Scout Troops on their own.It was in 1909 that King Edward had had his talk with me regarding the movement. Although it was then only in its embryo stage His Majesty saw such promise and possibilities in it as encouraged me to try to push on with it—even if it did cost me my nest-egg of hard-earned savings (which it did).

So I made up my mind and pushed.

An invitation was sent out to all Scouts to meet me on a certain day at the Crystal Palace, and this resulted in a parade at which over 11,000 Scouts made their appearance; the biggest muster of boys that had ever taken place so far and the movement was not two years old!

This was a bit of a bombshell for me.

I saw that I could not do both soldiering and Scouting. I must drop one or the other. But which?

From the personal point of view, I was fifty-two and a lieutenant-general, and therefore high up in the professional ladder for my age: at the same time it would be a pity to let this new growth falter and fade, and yet I could see no one who could or would take it in hand just then.

As I have said, the King questioned me on this point and knowing that he had fully grasped the idea I put myself in his hands to say which course I should take. Eventually he agreed that the Scout experiment was the more important.

So I resigned from the Army.

Robert Baden-Powell, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, 1933


Baden-Powell Photo Gallery:
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Scouting with Baden-Powell, 1907-1929
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Scouting with Baden-Powell, 1929-1941
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Copyright Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 10:30 PM on May 16, 1997