The first reference to Guiding in Barnes is recorded as November 1920 when a formal meeting was held at 5 Queen’s Ride, Barnes Common. The meeting attended by the Vicountess Cave (Division Commissioner), the Honourable the Mrs Coventry (District Commissioner), Cannon Meredyth Kitson, Lady Wright amongst many others. The meeting had been called for the purpose of forming an Association for Barnes Girl Guides. The chairperson explained that 1st Barnes Guide Company had been in existence for 3 months and had been registered; therefore it was proposed to form an association to support the Company.
Interesting facts from the minutes included that at the meeting in October 1921 it was agreed that a stretcher and a trek cart should be bought for the use of the Guides. At the same meeting it was proposed that an Entertainment should be held at the beginning of February 1922, for the benefit of the Guides’ Funds and to make the Movement more widely knows.
Due to a 2nd Guide and a Brownie Company being registered it was felt the Guides would need their own HQ. the garage of a Mrs Qertling at the Hermitage, was offered rent free, previously the companies had been using the Parish Rooms, which now would be too small.
At one time between 1920-1947 Barnes boasted 6 brownies pack matched with 6 Guide companies, and a District Ranger company.
In 1930, the present hall was built following the purchase of land from a James Clegg of 101 Madrid Road, SW13 a Journalist and transferred to Edith Bontor of 65 Castlenau, Sw13 and Eleanor Mackintosh, 23 The Terrace, SW13.the cost was £200.00. A loan from Mrs Bontor of £900 was given for the building of the HQ. In 1943, Mrs Bontor passed away, and it was her wish according to her husband that the loan become a gift when Mrs Bontor died, the loan was cleared by her husband. Following Mrs Bontor’s death it was decided to transfer the premises from the above Trustee to the GGA Trust Corporation. On May 1st 1944, a memorial plaque was unveiled by the rector of Barnes, Rev. C Curwen for Mrs Bontor, the plaque is still in its original location in the Guide Hall.
The hall is used by a Guide Company, Two Brownie Packs, Rainbow Unit and Senior Section Unit.
The District is under the overall leadership of the District Commissioner supported by the Local Association (Friends of Guiding). All Leaders attend compulsory training before being warranted, all Leaders including regular helpers are DBS checked.
Guides have the opportunity to camp, and Brownies enjoy indoor camping called Pack Holidays. We have our own Campsite, called Heyswood, located near Cobham, Surrey. Other outdoor activities include, Picnics, Revels, Special Themed Days, Hike Cooking, Water Activities including Boating, Abseiling, Ice Skating, Bushcraft, Orienteering and a variety of Sporting activities, i.e. Kickball and Softball. The opportunity to apply for international events, and of course indoor activities: cooking, crafts and games, girls from all sections are encouraged to make suggestions for meetings and activities, and get involved in the planning..
We require the help and support of all parents and carers, and this is a condition of girls joining Barnes District Guides. The Guide Association is a uniformed organisation and all members are expected to wear uniform unless otherwise advised. Obviously for some activities specialist wear is required.