Our History

Heading into 2021, our Anniversary, we’re proud to have 9 decades of history behind our group! If you, or anyone you know has anything that they can add to our history, we’d love to hear from you!

The Early Years (1931 – 1939)

Scouting was first established in Abram (officially) on 17th September 1931, when 40 new Scouts were invested into the group. The group was managed by Tom Rider and Eric Mainesbridge. They were meeting in a farmers barn close to the pithead of the Maypole Colliery, less than 300m from the site of our Scout hut today. Cub Leaders at this time were Clarice Pimblett and Edith Gee.

There are few records from this period but the 1934-1935 Wigan & District Local Association of Boy Scouts Year Book shows that the group was still alive under it’s Black necker with Blue Border. Tom Rider and Clarice Pimblett still heading up Scouts and Cubs respectively, Tom taking the role of Group Scoutmaster! There were 7 Rovers, 15 Scouts (meeting on Wednesdays!), and 14 Cubs meeting on Fridays! Assistant Scoutmaster was H Meadows of Warrington Road, and Assistant Cub Master was Miss N Moorefield!

Wigan & District Local Association of Boy Scouts Year Book 1934 – 1935 – thanks to Museum of Wigan Life.

By this point, though, the group had moved to a new headquarters at St John’s School in Abram!

The Unknown (1939 – 1958)

It is anticipated that World War II put a halt to Scouting in Abram, as it did in many other villages around the United Kingdom. Although the war ended in 1945, we have a gap in our history until 1958. Can you help?

It’s all At Sea (1958 – 1980)

Our next record of Scouting in Abram hails from the establishment of 1st Abram Crankwood Sea Scouts. Headed up by Mr and Mrs Brownsett, this saw the restart of what would be the future of Scouting in Abram.

Originally meeting in a henshed on Partingtons Farm in Crankwood, the Sea Scouts are recorded to have moved to the old Clinic on the Recreation Ground off St John’s Street in the village, before finally moving to the site of the current Scout Hut on Fisher Avenue in 1962.

This building, formerly Abram’s Sanatorium, was first opening on 2nd November 1904

The Landing (1980 – 1992)

In 1980, Abram Scouting grounded and became a Land-Based group, 1st Abram Crankwood Scouts.

The group appears in the 1985 edition of the Wigan & District Scout Council Year Book, now sporting the current Burgundy with Yellow border necker, the group was headed up by Group Scout Leader, J. Rogers of Park Lane.

Wigan & District Scout Council Year Book March 1985 – thanks to the Museum of Wigan Life.

The Scouts section, now meeting on Friday evenings was lead by R. Jones of Elm Road, and his wife Mrs J Jones leading the Cub Scouts on a Monday evening.

The Modern Era (1992 – 2020)

With the risk of closure in April 1992, our current Beaver Scout Leader (Sheila Finch), joined the group as Assistant Beaver Scout Leader, under the watchful gaze of Eileen Roden (Beaver Scout Leader), and Paul Grimshaw (Group Scout Leader) with Rob Naylor as Cub Scout Leader. Soon after, the addictive nature of Scouting rang out in the Finch household, and Dave joined the group as Cub Scout Leader in 1995, with Helen White as Assistant Cub Scout Leader, and the group grew from strength to strength, becoming and identifiable and well-loved part of the community.

Sadly, in July 2007 Paul ‘Grimmy’ Grimshaw passed away leaving not just a gap at the top of the group (GSL), but a void in the hearts of all of our members. The upstairs far end of our Scout Hut became known as ‘Grimmies Den’ in dedication and memorium to Paul.

To keep the group going good friend and, now, 12 year Scouter, Dave took over as Group Contact. This role would continue for 7 years until 2014, when Dave became Group Admin in 2014. Finally, in October 2015, Dave became Group Scout Leader, and the decision was made to drop ‘Crankwood’ from the Group Name, the group then being known as ‘1st Abram Scout Group’ or simply ‘1st Abram’. Under the current leadership 1st Abram has continued to grow in strength and in numbers keeping the young people of Abram Ward, and the wider area interested in Outdoor Edication and learning new skills each week.

In 2019, the group launched it’s Explorer Scout Unit, and in doing so reintroduced the Crankwood name to the group in ‘Crankwood Firestarters Explorer Scout Unit’. 1st Abram are now proud to offer Scouting to young people from the age of 6, right up to the age of 18.

The Pandemic (2020-2021)

In 2020, a coronavirus called Sars-Cov2, or Covid-19 swept across the globe, killing millions of people and infecting hundreds of millions. This was a time when Scouting could’ve stood still. Thanks to technology, Scouting didn’t stand still – as an organisation, we clubbed together, shared online resources of what each group or section was doing – and we kept going.

But what started out as an optimistic ‘this will pass over in a few weeks’, quick turned to months, and the question came to everyone’s lips ‘when will this end’. Throughought the pandemic, 1st Abram continued to function and operate it’s normal timetable of programming, even throwing on some virtual camp events to keep our young people engaged and interested.

The New Era (2021 – onwards)

As vaccinations began to roll out across the world, and case numbers reduced, lockdown measures began to ease and hope of a new era was finally forthcoming.

Drawing a line under the pandemic and giving our young people, and community something to be proud of, a major refurbishment is being undertaken at the hut to prepare it for a new era of Scouting. We’re very excited by these tasks and can’t wait to share the new pictures with you on this page as we move forward!

Showing our history

We show our established date (1931) on our merchandising logo, but you can find nuggets of our history in our hut, originally built in 1904 as a Sanatorium (Opened 2nd November 1904). In our main hall opposite the door, you will find a white metal pole – this used to be the mast for the flag, now moved to the right of the hall.

The original front door (now seldom used) is still in place!

Under leadership of Grimmy, the hut saw the development of it’s first floor in the loft space (with original beams still visible). This first floor gives us a valuable learning and crafting area, with internet connected computers for internet research and, of course, JOTI.

Grimmies Den is suitable for sleeping of a number of young people too. Our intention is to fill this area with photographs and memories of our friend Paul.

Adding to our Story

On a weekly basis we add to our story with our current and future members, but can you help us add to our history? If you have further information not covered on this page, please get in touch.