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I may get to go to London for business. If I do I was hoping to get a set of WB beads at Gilwell Park. The question is that do they sell them there or do I have to go to a scout store in London. From what I could tell, for a google search, there aren't very many scout stores and they tend to do everything online. Has anyone been there?

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29 Buckinghamshire lane in London. World's oldest scout shop, with a wall of patches that i was drooling over.


Be advised that when I was there in 95, Scout shops were not called such, but were retail camping stores, with a scout section onthe second floor. Dropped a bunch of quid in that place.


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During World Jamboree a couple year ago not only did they sell them in the Scout Shop there, they literally couldn't keep them on the shelf. There were a group of ladies making the beads out of wood from the trees at Gilwell as fast as they could go. As soon as the lacquer dried they had a runner bringing them to the shop and handing them to folks waiting in line for them.


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At Gilwell, My family only had about an hour to visit. (Not being prepared) We did not have the luxury of having a map of the Gilwell Park, so it was again, a new discovery. http://1stgilwellpark.org/images/content/GilwellToday/Gilwell%20map.pdf


Outside of the Summer Camping season, the closest parking lot we found takes you in front of the "White House" (Map point 3, 2, & 1). The White House is the former Scouting Association Headquarters, and currently a Scouting conference center. During my visit, there was a reception office/window at the white house, but it was closed and the window blinds rolled down. So we walked thru the main halls of the conference center and took a few photos. After exiting the back of the "White House" conference center, there was a larger conference center/restaurant (Map point 4). When we were there, it appeared that a local British Scouter was preparing for a wedding reception.


Finally after half an hour of casually strolling around the conference center trails and displays, we found a friendly SubCamp Chief, which pointed us down the correct trail to the Camp Square and Trading Post. The Camp Square (Map point 11) is by the camp time clock. The Trading Post was large enough to hold about 20 Scouts, (maybe down to a dozen Scouts wearing daypacks).


From the Wikipedia page, you can see the statue of the "Ideal Scout" presented by the BSA, with the Camp Square and camp time clock a few yards behind.


The most amazing thing about the trading post, was the international neckerchiefs from troops around the world that lined the ceiling corners. That I thought was impressive.


So with the luxury of a map and being prepared, after you park, walk over to the Camp Square Map point 11. Then check out the Trading Post for Gilwell Wood Badge Beads and Scouting souvenirs.



Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Over the years I have taken a good many Americans to the Scouting high spots in the UK.

I think that it's fair to say that most have come away thinking it was a bit of a waste of time.

I have not been to Gilwell Park since, the administration buildings were moved from being next door to Baden Powell House and the renovations were done for the last World Jamboree. So maybe things have changed?

The main Scout Shop store is on Buckingham Palace Road not Buckinghamshire Lane, which I have never heard of and I lived about ten minutes from the store.

The store is in business to out fit the Scouting needs of the Scouts in the UK.

A great place to buy uniforms, tents, boots and the like. While it does sell some stuff that an American visitor might want to pick up and take home, the truth is that there just isn't a lot of choice.

If you were taking a family? I'd suggest that before you go, that you try and get tickets for The Royal Mews, which are just across the road. You can book ahead of time on line.


The best time to visit Gilwell Park is when the Gilwell Reunion is going on.



At other times? It is kinda like visiting your local Council Summer Camp site while school is still going on. While you might find that there is something of great interest going on. The chances are that there just isn't that much to see and the people who are there are busy doing the stuff that they do on a day to day basis.

You can order most Wood Badge stuff that you might want on line.


But the beads they sell are kinda cheap looking and very light.

The Gilwell Wool Scarf is very nice, but at 14.55 it should be.

Unless you are someplace near Chingford? I don't think it's worth the trip.

One nice thing is that they have photos from all the past WB courses that were held and you could if you want a good laugh look me up and see what a good looking fellow I was back in 1974. When I took the course.


Back in the day, my first set of beads were made from ash. The beads that were made from oak, were from a fallen oak and the money was to be used to help pay for the renovations to the White House.

When I was a Scout Leader in England we used Gilwell a lot. It was a good place for a new Patrol Leader to go for their first Patrol camp. We used to build bridges over the Bomb Hole and I remember landing myself in all sorts of hot water for building a very big Monkey Bridge on the Training Grounds. As you can imagine this was frowned upon at that time.

Enjoy your visit and don't spend too much time in the pubs.



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Thanks for all the info. I'm still waiting to see if my trip will go through or not. I thought about buying on line, but the shipping cost (21 pounds sterling) for a set of beads (6 pounds) is deterring me from going that route. I may try to give the scout shop on Buckingham Palace Road a call. Hopefully they have the beads also since I'm not sure if I'll have the time to go out to Gilwell Park and back.

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You might want to call ahead on the phone.

The Scout Shop on Buckingham Palace Road never used to sell the Training Stuff from Gilwell. I don't know why or if this has changed.

Looking at the Scout Shop web site yesterday they have a lot of stuff left over from the World Jambo on sale, I'm thinking of ordering a few polo shirts.

A few years back I took my wife and son for a stay in London, we spend a week at BP House. While it wasn't up to any Hotel standard and is more like a hostel, it is clean and not that expensive.

It is in a wonderful location for anyone who wants to see London.

Most of my family moved out of London, because it is so very expensive.

My one sister who lives in Hong Kong, does keep a house in London, by the Thames in Putney. She paid an arm and a leg for it and while Putney is a very nice area, it is a little way out for sight seeing in London.

I really like London and Londoners and have given some thought that maybe I might return. But the cost of living is so high. Still to my mind it is the greatest city in the world and the people who live there are just wonderful.



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  • 2 months later...

Well, my trip to England got cut due to lack of travel funds. Instead I decided to order the bead sets via online ordering. That was a month ago and I have not received them yet or even a status of the order despite multiple emails and even calling the Scout Shop in England twice. I had to call my credit card company and file a charge dispute against the Info Center at Gilwell Park for not fulling my order. It has been a pretty disappointing experience since the bead sets were for a beading ceremony.

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