All posts by Cathie Marriage

Heritage Open Days 2020 : Welcome to Norfolk Girlguiding Archive Resource Centre

The ARC is delighted to share our collection with you here on our website and on our Facebook page

As we are unable to open our building for you this year, we are holding virtual Heritage Open Days instead.

12/13th September 10am – 4pm

19/20th September 10am – 4pm

Our archivist, Helen, and her team will be on hand during these times  to answer questions and respond to your comments. Contact them through our Facebook page or by emailing

The Heritage Open Day pages website will still be available for you to view outside these times, and do contact us on Facebook. However, response times may be longer during the week.

The pages will stay on the website so do use them for unit meetings to visit a museum, and to inspire Brownies for their  Collecting Badge.

Girlguiding has always had nature and the outdoors as one of its programme themes, and this year we are finding some of our old badges to demonstrate this! We have selected birds and include owls (were you one?!), getting back to nature Girl Guide style through camping and, with a specifically Norfolk flavour – a look at the Farmworker Badge through the eyes of our girls who have found out about farming at camps at Gressenhall Union Farm in the past.

Please watch our welcome video and then look at the menu at the side of this page to choose pages that interest you.


Heritage Open Days 2020 : Camping – how has it changed?

Camping style, and in particular equipment, has changed hugely over the past 100 years

Look at this photo from our collection, of the 1939 camping catalogue to compare with your experience of present-day equipment. Click to enlarge the photo.

Now look at these photos which have been copied from a photograph album compiled by Phillipa Patteson, one of the Patteson sisters who originally lived in Hautbois House and gave it to Girlguiding Anglia. They also gave some land to Girlguiding Norfolk where first Patteson Lodge was built, and subsequently our Archive Resource Centre (ARC).

The pictures show the skills and patrol duties undertaken in the past; look very carefully and answer the questions below each picture. Click on the picture for a bigger image.

We’d love to see your answers on the camping post on our Facebook page.

1. Bed making:

What is actually happening here in this photo?Look at the beds: Why was it done? Is it still done nowadays? Do they
look the same as yours? What’s the same/different?
Look at the tents: what do you call what they have done to the walls of the
tents? Why has that been done? What type of tent is it?

2. Camp August 9th -17th 1929

How long was that camp? How does that
compare with today’s camps? How many years ago was that?
What do you think the girls are doing?
What can you see inside the tent?
What is hanging from their belts?

3. Colours

What is the meaning of that word in this context? Do you still do
this at your meeting place, or at camp?
This is a large group… how many girls, how many leaders? Is it easy to tell?
Are they all from the same companies do you think? Why/why not?
Look how high the guylines are to keep up the flagpole… could you do that?

4. The Cook Patrol

What are they doing? How might you describe the
person in the middle?

5. Too much smoke?

What is this person doing?

Any thoughts about what she is wearing, and what she is doing? What are
the poles for around the fireplace? What’s on top of some of them? Why?

6. Around a tin bowl

What’s happening in this picture?
What do you notice about hair fashion?

7. Rest Hour

Do you have rest hour? Do you like it, or not? Why?
Can you name the two different types of tents?
Some have been prepared to help them dry, but others haven’t. Any ideas
why, why not?

8. Gibsone, CEP and Elsie Ipish

What are the girls doing? Can you do that? Is it still a useful skill?

9. Knot Tying

What knot do you think they are tying?
Can you tie a reef knot?
Can you do it behind your head?
Can you do it with your eyes shut?
Who is in the background? What are they discussing do you think?
And what else is in the background?

In summary

If you look really carefully at all the photos you might notice something
about these girls….
Is there anything unusual, that you might pick out?

These girls were called extension Guides, because they didn’t always belong
to regular companies…. Any ideas why they were extension guides and
perhaps why they had their own special camp?




Heritage Open Days 2020 : Bringing camping history alive 1940s style

For the last 13 years, we have run a 1940s style camp at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum as part of their annual Village at War event. Have a look at our videos of the camp in 2019

If you have been to see us at Gressenhall, or taken part in one of the camps, please leave a comment on our Facebook page

If you haven’t been to visit Gressenhall, maybe you have seen us at the North Norfolk Poppyline event which would normally be taking place this weekend. 

Comment on our Facebook post if you have seen us there, or been asked to show your ID by one of our keen guides!! 


Heritage Open Days 2020 : Camping – making a shelter

As part of the Guide Interest or Proficiency badges Guides could work towards their Backwoodsman Badge

One of the clauses for this badge was to make a simple one-man shelter from natural materials or a groundsheet. This skill is still important and is a clause in badges today eg Ranger’s Bushcraft Badge.

Trees are vital for our existence. They can provide shelter if you are lost in the wilderness and they also provide oxygen to help us breathe. Shelters can be the difference between life and death so it is important that you know how to make one.

Have a go at making a shelter like the Guides would have done. You can make it either inside or outside. If you are making your shelter inside have a look at the Rainbow Skills Builder Tent-tastic activity.

If you are going to make your shelter outside there are many links on Youtube with tutorials. The link below has an easy shelter for you if you are going to use a tarpaulin.

If you are going to use natural materials you may find this link more helpful:

When you have made your shelter, we would love to see a picture. Please post it on our Facebook page

When you have made your shelter, how about following a trail? As part of Second Class Test in the past you had to know how to follow a trail. Look at the amazing modern trail that has been launched this week at the ARC…. we hope you might pop along to do it sometime! There will be a badge available for those doing it!! Look at our Facebook page or to find out more.

Heritage Open Days 2020 : Camping badges – Kim’s game

Kim’s game is a memory game that has been played by Scouts and Guides since the founding of the organisations.

It is named after Kim from the stories written by Rudyard Kipling.

Look at the first image below for 1 minute. Then look away from the image and write down all the things you can remember in just 1 minute (click to enlarge the images).

Now try with a more difficult picture. remember, you have 1 minute to look and 1 minute to write down what you can remember – no cheating!

And even more items…….

Were you really paying attention?

How many did you remember correctly?

What else did you notice? Try the test below to see if you were paying close


Badge test

Badge test answers


Heritage Open Days 2020 : How are birds linked to Girlguiding?

Many of the patrol badges for Guides have traditionally been birds.

Brownie leaders have been given bird nicknames such as Brown Owl or Tawny Owl for a very long time. The Second Class Test for Guides up to 1968 involved being able to identify wildlife like birds, farm animals and flowers.

Kingfisher, nightingale, robin and canary patrol badges

Were you a Guide? What patrol did you belong to? Please go to our Facebook page and add your memories to our patrol badges post.

Did you stitch your own patrol emblem? We have found some beautiful ones in our collection and have posted them on Facebook. Click here to see them.

Many birds are common in gardens across the country, and you can look at their identifying features to tell what kind of bird they are. Can you identify these common birds in your garden or at a park?

Click on the bird picture below to download some descriptions to help you.

The RSPB also has an interactive bird identifier, which can be found here:

Another way to identify birds is by their birdsong. Most bird species have very unique songs, some of which you will hear at different times of day. This video contains a few:

How observant are you really? Have a look at the sketch and post on our Facebook page and follow the instructions. How did you get on? Don’t forget to post you pictures.







Heritage Open Days 2020 : Owls in Girlguiding

Why are Brownie leaders named after owls?

Owls feature widely in guiding, particularly in the Brownie age group. In the Brownie story the one person who could explain where to find the Brownies was the Wise Owl. In the story two messy children go to the woods to find a helpful Brownie to help their mum tidy the house, guided by a Wise Owl. As the owl is so helpful to the children, Brownie leaders have been named after owls ever since.

Pre-1968,  Leaders were warranted as a Brown Owl or a Tawny Owl, and the titles were used universally (other than in those countries where owls either weren’t found, or had a bad press). Since then the title has been optional, but many units find it useful to continue the theme, as it gives a name which is less formal than Miss/Mrs/Ms, but not as informal as first-name terms.

Leaders might be called Brown Owl, Tawny Owl, Snowy Owl…. And at one time senior trainers of Brownie Leaders were called Eagle Owls. We have heard too of some modern-day owls being called Pepperoni Owl, Choc Owl and Ginger Owl , as the Brownies chose the names !!!! We love the twist on tradition, led by the girls themselves.

The story has been modernised since it was originally written, but it is an important part of Brownie history.

Click on the picture below to read the current full Brownie Story, or if you would like to watch a version of the story, click on this YouTube link.


Hidden Nature! 

What are owl pellets?

Pellets are the undigested parts of what a bird has eaten. They are produced by many bird species including all types of owls. As owls mainly eat shrews, mice and voles, which they swallow whole, their pellets often contain the bones and fur of these animals. You can see this by gently pulling apart the pellets. To identify what animal the bones came from, measure them and compare to known samples.

Click on the picture to learn how to dissect the pellet and identify the bones.

Enjoy! It’s fascinating, and please take photos to show us what you’ve done, then post them on our  owl post on our Facebook page.


Heritage Open Days 2020 : Birds – Kim’s game

This is a Kim’s game with bird-themed badges from throughout Guiding history.

For each level of difficulty, spend 2 minutes looking at the badges to memorise them, then look away and write down as many as you can remember. You can download the answers afterwards!

For a challenge, try and guess what year/time period each badge is from.

Good luck!


Answers to game 1

Answers to game 2

Answers to game 3

How observant are you really? Have a look at the sketch and post on our Facebook page and follow the instructions. How did you get on? Don’t forget to post you pictures.

Heritage Open Days 2020 : The Farmworker badge

The Farmworker badge was an important part of guiding in the early days.

The badge aims to help girls develop a greater understanding of the natural world around us and the process of farming.

Over the years it has had a variety of forms.  It appears that until the 1980s there were a number of separate badges  for both Guides and Rangers that came and went over the years. These include Landworker,  Dairyworker  and Dairymaid, Farmworker, andBee-farmer.  There were also Friend to animals, Horsewoman, Poultry farmer and Rabbit keeper badges at various times. 

Clockwise from top – Landworker, Poultry farmer, Rabbit Keeper, Dairymaid

In 1983, a new Farmer badge was introduced which covered the former Dairymaid, Poultry farmer, Farmer, Rabbit keeper and Beekeeper badges.

The images on the right are from Policy Organisation and Rules and Badge books in our collection. Click on the pictures to see a bigger image.

Today, we still have badges relating to the outdoors for example Animal lover and Nature.

Fun Fact!

The Hints on Girl Guide Badges (published 1933) explains the kit Girl Guides must wear when completing the Farmworker badge. It states that kit should be workmanlike, loose, and quiet in colour. It also recommends wearing wooden clogs which can be purchased from Wellington Manufacturing Company in Glasgow.



Below are some activities and challenges for you to try out at home. These have been directly inspired by or taken from the syllabuses of the Farmworker badge.

Choose a challenge which appeals to you and have a go. There is no limit to how many challenges you can do. Do not forget to share your photos of what you have got up to with the Archive Resource Centre. You can email us at or find us on Facebook

Challenge 1 – Do you know them all?

“Know the part the following implements play in farm work: plough, harrows, Cambridge roller, flat roller, seed drill, manure distributor, horse-hoe, reaper and binder, mowing machine, tedder or swathe turner, horse rake, hay rake.”

Challenge 2 – The 1938 Farmworker syllabus states that Guides should be able to know the breeds of cattle, sheep, or pigs native to her district.

Research the breeds native to Norfolk e.g. the Red Poll and Norfolk Red Cattle. Can these breeds still be seen in Norfolk? Would you be able to recognise them on sight? Why not have a go at drawing your favourite Norfolk breed? We would love to see your drawings! The Farmworker badge also required girls to have fed calves on milk or a substitute for more than a week. If you want to know more about feeding calves check out this great video in which a modern-day farmer feeds his calves. 

Challenge 3 – During WW1 and WW2 Girl Guide units often volunteered on farms, providing agricultural labour.

This was important as many farms had a lack of male labour due to the war. Research more about this topic and the other ways in which Girl Guides helped the war effort. Challenge: can you find out how many hours of agricultural labour guides had to complete to gain their WWI War Service Badge. The website below might help!

Challenge 4 – The syllabuses state that Guides should have been involved in planting and growing.

Obviously, it’s unlikely that all of us have access to a farm! But maybe you could do some planting at home. It may be September but that does not mean you can’t get green fingered. Research what plants can be grown in September. You may need to be adaptable. If you do not have much room, think small.

Challenge 5 -In the past badges were not mass produced. Girl Guides had to sew their own badges!

Therefore, as a final challenge why not have a go at creating your own Farmworker badge. If you wanted to make a badge in the traditional design, try embroidering a circle of blue felt with the design from above. This website has images of all the versions of the Farmworker badge; why not explore the designs for inspiration.

Alternatively, you could create your own design. What would an updated Farmworker badge look like? Think about how you might incorporate elements of farming and nature into your badge design. Your badges do not necessarily have to be sewn. You could draw, paint, or use a computer. We love to see your badge creations; don’t forget to share!

Thank you for participating in our Farmworker badge challenges as part of our Heritage Open Days. We hope you have enjoyed yourself and maybe learnt some new things! Please share with us on Facebook what you get up to!

Heritage Open Days 2020 : My experience as a 1940s farmworker

I have attended the Norfolk Guides 1940s camp three times.

This incredible camp takes place at Gressenhall Farm. The camp is open to Guides and Rangers, who over the course of the camp travel back in time! The camp is styled like an authentic 1940s camp; from the food served to the tents the girls sleep in. Girls take part in 1940s style activities and traditions. Each camp, girls who attend work towards different interest/proficiency badges that were available to Guides at the time.

During my time as a 1940s Guide I have gained my Needlewoman, Cook and First Aid badges as well 2nd Class Guide and 1st Class Guide rank. One of the badges that I enjoyed completing the most was Farmworker. This was the first ever badge that I completed at 1940s Guide camp and it remains special.

Completing this badge at Gressenhall was fantastic! I helped harvest crops and fed some of the farm animals. I learnt new skills and gained a lot of knowledge about farming and the traditional techniques used. For example, I learnt about hay ricks, where hay is constructed into stacks with conical tops. This allows moisture to run off sides of the hay. This is important because it prevents the accumulation of moisture and allows the hay to dry out.

Completing this badge gave me a much greater appreciation for farming. It revealed to me the effort and work that goes into creating the food on our plates. This is especially true in the 1940s when much of the machinery that has greatly speeded up farming today was non-existent. Completing this badge during a 1940s Guide camp was significant.

During the war, some Girl Guide units volunteered on farms as “land girls”. Many farms needed this help as there was a lack of male labour. Some units would help and in return were offered a place to camp on the farm. Exploring the history of this badge therefore helps us to understand one of the important ways in which Guides helped the war effort.

I think the Farmworker is an important badge which still has relevance today because it allows girls to understand the relationship between people and the land. Completing this badge made me more interested in where my food comes from!

In a time of phones, the internet, and social media it’s so important that we continue to connect with nature. So why not check out the syllabuses for the multiple variations of this badge and see how many points you can check off.

Are you a proficient Farmworker? Have a look at this website where you can explore different variations of the Farmworker badge.