Our Group

Established 1931.

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 Yearbook 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 Cubmaster was Miss N Moorefield!

Wigan & District Local Association of Boy Scouts Yearbook 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 opened 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 Yearbook, 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 Yearbook 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 lead the Cub Scouts on a Monday evening.

The Modern Era (1992 – Present)

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 an 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, 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 memoriam to Paul.

To keep the group going, good friend and at this point twelve year Scouter, Dave took over as Group Contact. This role would continue for seven 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 education 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.

90th Anniversary (2021)

In 2021, we celebrated our 90th Birthday as a Scouting group in Abram. To celebrate the occasion, a commemorative badge was designed.

1st Abram 90th Anniversary badge.

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. 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

If you have further information not covered on this page, please get in touch.