Baden-Powell Women: The St Clair Legacy

The St Clair Legacy

Betty St Clair Clay takes a salute

In 1908 Boer War hero Robert Baden-Powell published the global best seller Scouting for Boys. It sparked the birth of a Movement that has spread all across the world and created a current membership of 50-million!


It followed the first experimental camp, at Brownsea Island on the Hampshire Coast, the year before – a camp for boys only, of differing social status.


The image of Baden-Powell is a familiar one. His story is known by most. But what is not so widely known is the story of the women and that girls were in the Baden-Powell plans from the start.

So in this project, Baden Powell Womenwe look to correct that!

We have exclusive access to the line of women who carry the middle name St Clair, inherited through five generations, from Robert Baden-Powell’s wife Olave.

So far we have followed Gill St Clair Clay on a pilgrimage to Gilwell Park and Brownsea. And we travelled with Daf St Clair George as she travelled to Kenya in search of connection to her great-grandparents, the Baden-Powells, whose remains lie there.

We tell their stories in Scouting and Guiding and outside the Movements and ask if they inherited more from Olave than just a name.

The rise of Scouting and Guiding runs parallel to the emancipation of women, and so, as we begin to see the emergence of a new kind of women leader across the world, we ask how that story is connected to Scouting and Guiding and The Legacy of St Clair.


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