History of Girl Guides revealed

A Girl Guides training camp in 1950
Girlguiding Norfolk has been awarded a National Lottery grant of £60,000 to conserve and share their archives.

Girlguiding Norfolk holds one of the largest collections of Girlguiding memorabilia in the UK, from uniforms and badges to magazines and scrapbooks. Dating from 1911, the collection contains over 10,000 items including letters from Agnes Baden-Powell, sister of Scouts founder, Robert Baden-Powell, and President of the Girl Guide movement.

Opening up the archive

Thanks to National Lottery funding the archive will be catalogued, stored and made publicly accessible for the first time. Girlguiding Norfolk’s purpose-built Archives Resource Centre in Coltishall will open its doors more regularly to the wider community.

Young guides will interview and capture older members' memories for the archive, and groups will work together to deliver ‘Traditions Activities’ sessions – the heritage skills practised to gain badges like knot-tying and pitching a tent.

“This fascinating collection is of national significance and shines a light on the social history of Norfolk and the UK, particularly the evolving role of women in the community.”Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England

Empowering women of all ages

The National Lottery grant will also enable a learning and outreach programme, including a ‘Museum in a Box’, pop-up exhibition and tailored sessions for schools on the Norfolk Guides' work during the Second World War.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “This fascinating collection is of national significance and shines a light on the social history of Norfolk and the UK, particularly the evolving role of women in the community. It’s with huge thanks to National Lottery players that we’re able to support this project to protect the archive for future generations and share it with a wider audience.”

Explore Archives Week

The news comes as UK heritage organisations celebrate Explore Archives Week. Girlguiding Norfolk joins several projects in the East of England that have secured National Lottery funding to digitise and share their archives.

Norfolk Museums Service was awarded a £81,000 National Lottery grant to create an extensive digital archive of the work of pioneering photographer Olive Edis. The 600 Paston Footprints project was also awarded funding to digitise the 17th-century collections of the Paston Letters and create a new website with access to over 1,000 letters.

If you are based in the East of England and have an idea for an archive-based heritage project, please contact the East of England team.

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