Website of the Laceby History Group

The Scouts Hut

Dld you have good times in the old Scouts' Hut? If you remember, it was situated down Cooper Lane on what is now called 'The Park' adjacent to the new picnic area.

It was a wooden shed-like building almost as big as the Church Hall. Also, it may surprise you to know that it once formed part of the old isolation hospital which used to be down New Road in Laceby.

The story from the beginning is a story of self help and 'if you want owt doing, do it yourself!

The Scout Group in 1930 consisted of upwards of 30 Laceby boys with Mr. Fred Johnson of Church Lane as Scoutmaster. They met twice weekly in the Church Hall, that being the only hall along with the Temperance Hall in Laceby in those days.

They began to think it would be ideal to have somewhere of their own to have their meetings and store their camping gear, games and equipment and be in no-one else's way.

After a good many enquiries by Mr. Johnson and his scouts, it was discovered that Grimsby Corporation were in the process of modernising Laceby Isolation Hospital and had a suitable ward surplus to requirements.

Mr. Johnson and his assistant Mr. Matt Waterman went down to inspect it. They viewed the ward with dismay. It had a central corridor with small, single, isolated wards off each side. Although the corporation would give the ward, the adaptation and transportation had to be undertaken by the scouts and their supporters.

Enthusiasm returned however, when Mr. Turnell from the garage down Grimsby Road offered to transport it to the chosen site.

After many fruitless enquiries for a site, Mr. Hurdiss from Caistor was approached and agreed to let the hut be sited near his sand and gravel pit down Cooper Lane. It may sound irresponsible now, to site it near a pit but the location of the hut was far from the scene of excavations.

The hut was dismantled, the inside sections were discarded and the main part loaded on to Turnell's lorry for its journey to Cooper Lane. Mr. Matt Waterman and helpers painted it out after Mr. H. Winn had done the necessary joinery work. Mr. F. Cash and Mr. Laurie Smith were instrumental in providing what was needed in the way of elbow grease and effect the required adjustments.

Eventually, the hut stood proud, on 3ft. tall supports. Water was laid on into a kitchen and cloakroom. Three steps led up to the door, a garden had been planted and a paved pathway had been set down. As an embellishment a flag-pole was placed over the doorway.

A parents' support committee had helped with many of these things and were on hand to help with initial teething problems.

It was decided to open it with proper ceremony. So one Thursday in the summer of 1934, the Grimsby solicitor Mr. Whiteley Wilkin, J.P.,

President of the local Scout committee formally opened t he Laceby Scouts' Hut.

As the Scoutmaster Mr. Matt Waterman couldn't get leave from work to attent , so Mr. E. Wright the Assistant Scoutmaster was asked to present the key for the opening to Mr. Whiteley Wilkin and introduce him.

They were in business at last! Dances and whist drives were held fortnightly to provide cash to buy new games and camping gear. New equipment was bought and stowed.

That summer the new gear was tested out by frequent camps in Mr. Curtis' field down the beck . When everything had been proved satisfactory they became more adventurous and visited the camp at Rimac near Saltfleetby.

In Coronation Year 1937, in a speci al ceeemony the scouts were presented with commemorative Coronation mugs. One former scout remembers the mugs were in a wicker washing basket prior to the presentation.

Besides all the fun of scouting much serious badge work was under taken in the hut. Also taken seriously was the monthly parade to the church service. They formed up at the hut and marched down Cooper Lane .

But things have a habit of changing. The war came, making it difficult to find leaders. A year after the war started, the scouts found it impossible to carry on and were disbanded.

The scout hut was not deserted though, for dances and whist drives were still held there. A local group (no name in those days!) played for the dancing.

When the Coldstream Guards were billeted in Laceby, their band sometimes played at these events . Excitement was high among the assembled dancers when the Guards band struck up with ' The Sheik of Araby' and the first waltz began.

Eventually the Guards were posted elsewhere and enthusiasm waned for organising dances there. Whist drives and 'war efforts ' went on as usual in the Church Hall but people were disinclined to walk down dark (no street lights) Cooper Lane to the scouts' hut when there was no magical Guards band to greet them.

It was requisitioned by the Home Guards who met and drilled therand kept it for the duration. After the war it was handed back to the scout committee but there were no Laceby scouts to meet there. So the scout's hut was deserted. Mr. Hurdiss' pit was just about worked out and the pit had filled with water. By now the crater's edge was perilously near the entrance to the hut and it was considered to be a danger.

The powers that be decided to remove it. It was sold to MrT. E. Sykes of Cottagers' Plot for a potato store and still stands there to this day