Earlier this year Guides and Brownies from the 1st Carisbrooke Units wrote letters inviting past members to help them celebrate 100 years of the units.

As part of the celebrations some girls undertook a project looking at the history of their units. One of the first things they discovered was that the units had the title of ‘Princess Beatrice’s Own’ which was bestowed on them by HRH Princess Beatrice who at the time (1920s) was Governor of the Island with an official residence of Carisbrooke Castle. After contacting Girlguiding Headquarters Linda Stone, the present leader of 1st Carisbrooke Guides, managed to get the title reinstated so the units are now once again 1st Carisbrooke (Princess Beatrice’s Own) Guides and Brownies.

Several past members replied to the letters and recently some Guides and Brownies have been out and about undertaking interviews with some of the past members. These recordings form part of an oral history project in conjunction with Carisbrooke Castle Museum, which was founded by Princess Beatrice, and form part of a special Girlguiding exhibition which has been staged at the museum and will remain throughout the Summer.

One past member Margaret Montrose who was a Brownie at Carisbrooke in the 1940s was interviewed by Brownie Isabelle Tryner aged 10. Isabelle found out that Margaret had been a Brownie at Carisbrooke but had transferred to a Newport unit for Guides. As well as answering her questions Margaret showed Isabelle her badges and in turn Isabelle showed Margaret the latest badges. Another interviewee was Emily Pearce, Editor of the IW County Press who was a Guide at Carisbrooke. Emily was pleased to say that some skills learned whilst in Guides had helped with her chosen career.

In addition to discovering their unit history Brownies, Guides, past members and leaders attended a picnic at Carisbrooke Castle, by kind permission of English Heritage and whilst there everyone was able to view the new exhibition dedicated to Girlguiding in Carisbrooke and displayed by kind permission of Carisbrooke Castle Museum and enabled by a grant from The Skinners Company (Lady Neville Fund.)

Joining the picnic were the Island’s High Sheriff Geoff Underwood, Cllr John Hobart, Gioia Minghella-Giddens (President Girlguiding IW), Island Commissioners Shirley Saunders and Lesley Clifford together with past and present members.

A fashion show of uniforms was well received, as were displays, a pebble hunt competition and a camp-fire singalong and everyone enjoyed a slice of Birthday Cake to celebrate the 100 years.
Guide Holly Avey said, “Today has been fun and I really enjoyed doing the interviews and finding out about Brownies and Guides in the past.”

All the ‘100years’ events were organised by a team of Guide and Brownie Leaders.