Girls Brigade Camps - Quinton Methodist Church

By Betty Rose

Ridgacre Road
Girls Brigade in Ridgacre Road

August of 1948 saw a group of very excited girls including myself going to Camp - we were off to Newton Ferrers by Plymouth. We travelled by train from Snow Hill Station on the steam train- I had never been on a train before I seem to remember it took about 7 hours but it was great fun.

We stayed in a little primary school in Newton Ferrers. We slept on the floor on straw beds- just a large cotton bag filled with straw and the same for your pillow- the school was very basic and I can remember having to do chores like peeling potatoes and drying up the crocks whilst the officers and older girls did the cooking - we had prayers and had stories read to us.

I was homesick the first night and the next morning was unable to plait my own hair - but one of the older girls took pity and I settled down and loved the holiday. We had campfires and competitions on the beach- swimming parades when we went into the sea always protected by the older girls as a lot of us then could not swim.

swimmers

To get to the beaches we had to cross the river by ferry and then walk to the very secluded beaches with rocks and sand. We always took packed lunches- sandwiches of jam, cheese or paste all wrapped up together in greaseproof paper - no plastic boxes in those days. By the time we came to eat them they were covered in sand but we were hungry and ate anything.

We always travelled in uniform, and wore it for church on Sunday but the rest of the week we wore a camp dress of blue with navy blue collar and belt.

The fancy dress party and the camp concert was the highlight of the week. Miss Bardell was the captain of our company and she gave up her annual leave to take us on these camp holidays.

We went twice to Newton Ferrers 1948 and 1949 and then to many places over the years including Salcombe and Clevedon. Easter camps were in the Cotswolds, the Lake District and then up to Scotland to Oban travelling on the sleeper and then getting more adventurous when we travelled abroad to Switzerland.

Jersey and Guernsey were popular camps too. Jersey Girls Brigade had its own camp site and our Girls band played in the Jersey Parade of flowers, which was quite an experience.

Girls of the 40ís, 50ís and 60ís were very fortunate to belong to such a strong church and brigade. We entered into many competitions and danced at the Royal Albert Hall in large displays.

Royal Albert Hall Participants
Royal Albert Hall 1949

Sunday school played a large part in our lives and many of us were Sunday school teachers as well as Brigade Officers and took many of the children living in our own roads to church. Sunday school was then on Sunday afternoon a separate meeting from church. The Boys Brigade went to bible class also on Sunday mornings before church.

The Sunday school was then moved to be part of the Sunday Morning Service and children went into church and then left for their own graded departments.

Happy Memories.

Edís comment Ė Thank you Betty for another lovely article and the photos. The article will certainly bring back those memories for many involved.

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