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TAHAWK

Back to GiLLwell . . .

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So I bought a knife:

 

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It is a knife sold by the Scout Association, evidently as a souvenir of Gilwell Park, and the sheath is marked "Boy Scouts" and "Be Prepared" above and below this image:

 

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I wondered why the spelling of the blade marking was "Gillwell" - four Ls.

 

I discovered that when the property was purchased for Scouting , for many years before, and for about nineteen years after, it was spelled "Gillwell."  This fact is supported by government property and taxation records and other formal papers.  It is also supported by the recollection of a contemporary:

 

 

 

Gilwell—for some time we argued whether there should be one " L " or two in the first syllable; but the one "L"ers won—was very different forty years ago from what it has now become. It had been uninhabited and lain derelict for over fifteen years; the whole place was complete jungle, and the house itself was i n a ruinous state. We should have saved a lot of money in the end if we had pulled the old house down and built a new one; but we should have lost all the graciousness and atmosphere of that beautiful and historic house; and we have been abundantly justified i n restoring and preserving it.

 

                    D. Francis Morgan, Commonwealth Commissioner, in The Scouter, January, 1960. 

 

I seems that the change took place when BP was made the first Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell in 1929.

 

So in 1919, when the first Wood Badge course was held, it was Gillwell Park.  "Back to Gillwell"?

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Great find. Thanks for research. I was curious and found that Christopher Johnson made knives at Western Works in Sheffield from 1859 to 1955.

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While the one I bought was made by Johnson Western Works, other Gillwell knives were made by Wade and Butcher and  Maleham & Yeomans.

 

Johnson was purchased in 1955 and the works closed in 1956.

 

What I would like to do is more closely date the knife, but I can only speculate at this point.

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What I would like to do is more closely date the knife, but I can only speculate at this point.

Tahawk

 

UK HQ, which is based at Gilwell, has an excellent archives section who may be able to assist. From the USA you could phone them on 0044 845 300 1818. That will put you through to the scout information centre. Ask whoever answers the phone to put you through to the archives section. The archives people are part time so may not be there when you phone and may take a while to find answer once you do get hold of them but they will do their best (pun fully intended. Sorry).

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No photos from back then, but can sure remember the little mudflaps on the AS coming down the assembly line.

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So another Johnson "Gillwell" drifted into my sights and has a new home.

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  • Upvote 1

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