History of guiding

If you do not have flash, or for a more in-depth overview of guiding's history please see the text below.  

The Story Bank is another great way to learn about the history of Girlguiding by reading actual accounts from members over the last 100 years. Visit the Story Bank for more information.

History of guiding timeline


Robert Baden-Powell held a camp for boys at Brownsea Island in Dorset to test his Scouting ideas. Scouting was born.


Scouting for Boys by Baden-Powell was published. Small groups of girls, undaunted by the title, started 'Scout' activities too.


Girls 'gatecrashed' the first Boy Scout Rally at Crystal Palace, attracting the attention of Baden-Powell. They asked him to offer 'something for girls too'.


The Girl Guides Association was formed - a separate organisation for girls - led by Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell's sister.


New badges such as the Air mechanic badge were introduced in addition to Cyclist, Photographer, Electrician, Sailor, Telegraphist and Tailor.


A junior section for girls under 11 was formed, called 'Rosebuds' (renamed 'Brownies' in 1915).

Guides acted as messengers of confidential information for Marconi Wireless Telegraph (1914-1918).


Senior Guide groups were formed for girls aged 14 to 25.


Olave Baden-Powell (Robert Baden-Powell's wife) was appointed Chief Guide.


22 February (Olave and Robert Baden-Powell's joint birthday) became World Thinking Day - a day when members of Guide organisations belonging to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) think about each other.


HRH Princess Elizabeth and HRH Princess Margaret enrolled as a Guide and Brownie respectively.


Guide Gift Week: members raised over £50,000 to help the war effort, by giving up half a day's salary, forfeiting pocket money, or by fundraising.


The Guide International Service (G.I.S) Committee was set up to select and train Leaders for relief work after the war.


The Queen's Guide Award was introduced as the highest guiding accolade.


HRH Princess Margaret became President of the Guide Association.


Six Guides broke the girls' relay record for swimming the English Channel.


Innovate - a discussion group for members aged 16-26 - began, giving girls a voice in the direction of guiding.


Rainbows - a section for five- to seven-year-olds - was introduced.


A new set of uniforms, designed by Jeff Banks, was introduced.


The first ever BIG GIG - a pop concert exclusively for Guides - was staged at Wembley Arena.


The Guide Association was renamed Girlguiding.

Brownies were the first to receive new clothing designed by Ally Capilleno.


HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex, became President of Girlguiding.


The '4ward, 4 self, 4 others' peer education programme was launched. Girls take part in sessions run by their peers on subjects including media awareness, eating disorders, the environment and sexual health.


The Lottery-funded scheme SWITCH began, aimed at growing guiding within hard-to-reach communities.


Liz Burnley became Chief Guide (Chair of Girlguiding) until 2011.


The Girls shout out! research report series was launched giving girls and young women the opportunity to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them such as self-esteem, mental health and active citizenship.


Girlguiding launched a community action project, Changing the World, with 19 partner charities.

2009 (September)

Girlguiding launched its Centenary celebrations.

Subscribe to be notified via email of any updates made to this page.

Subscribe | View Subscriptions