It's a Great, Great Game

-and Middlesbrough Scouts and Cubs are playing it to the full!

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Scouting in Middlesbrough is probably more vigorous today than ever before in its history.

Certainly Levick House, the Woodlands Road headquarters of the Middlesbrough and District Boy Scouts' Association-presented to the association by its president, Mr. H. D. Levick, in the 'thirties, and now the "nerve centre" of the organisation- is better used than it has ever been.

And Commondale, 15 miles away on the North Yorkshire Moors, is fast becoming a " second home " for Middlesbrough's 2,000 Scouts and Cubs.

With the official opening, a few days ago, of the association's "Diving Duck" holiday centre for Cub packs a converted 12-room farmhouse - the association now has two "irons in the fire" at Commondale.

For the past two years, development of a 35-acre camp site has been going on at Raven Gill, which is being increasingly used not only for general camping but more particularly for courses in such badges as venturer, backwoodsman, tracker and stalker.

Last year alone, no fewer than 1,000 boys camped at Raven Gill- and the value of this wooded valley is demonstrated by the increasing number of "outdoor" and Queen's Scout badges gained during the year.

The association bought the adjoining Commondale brickyard to give access to Raven Gill;


Territorials demolished the chimney and there are plans to tidy up the brickyard site and eventually improve the landscape by planting trees there.

A rough road is being laid to the site. A warden's hut, complete with piped water supply, has been erected, and a warden is on duty there every week end during the summer.

All the work on the site has been carried out by voluntary working parties and development at Raven Gill continues.

Week-end "do-it-yourself" parties have paved the way, too, for the establishment of the Cub holiday centre. The statisticians have figured out that altogether 3,500 "working hours" have been put into the "Diving Duck," transforming this former "pub" from a rambling, dilapidated old building into a bright, well equipped hostel where parties of Cubs may stay for week-ends.

To make it possible, all this was done in 12 months ....

The cellar filled in with 57 tons of brick rubble from the brickyard and concreted;

All the wooden floors and joists downstairs pulled up, the cavities filled in with 20 tons of concrete, and plastic flooring laid;

Windows and window frames replaced, walls repaired and plastered, new ceilings fitted, the house re-wired for electric light and power, and "lashings" of paint applied inside and out.

There is a dormitory to accommodate 24 Cubs, with dining, washing and common room facilities.

A trout stream, crossed by stepping stones, winds through the valley at the rear, flanked by fields and woodland, and beyond the valley lie the rolling moors.

The perfect "jungle" atmosphere, in fact, for Cubs brought up in the tradition of Kipling! And the heavy bookings for this first summer suggest the "Diving Duck" will soon be a popular haunt with Middlesbrough's 700 Cubs.

Although Commondale is now the centre of the Middlesbrough association's outside activities, however, there is no dearth of activity at either district or group level in the town itself.

Among the association's annual events, for instance, are a swimming gala; a patrol leaders' dinner-at which P.L.s are introduced to afterdinner speaking (and listening!); the St. George's Day Parade; the Bastiman Trophy Competition, in which patrols contest an award donated by Mr. W. C. Bastiman, Empire Theatre chief, in recognition of previous "gang shows" presented at the Empire; football competitions and Cub games days.

Meanwhile, of course, in 39 different halls all over the town, the ordinary training of Rovers, Senior Scouts, Scouts and Cubs goes on week by week.

The association has its corps of officers, the groups have their Scoutmasters and Cubmasters-but in the end, in all Scout activities, including a "gang show," it's the boy who matters!


Photograph by the "Evening Gazzette"