Community Life 1951

By 1951 nearly everyone had more spare time for leisure activities. The first half of the twentieth century saw a rise in popularity of groups for young people.

The Rise of Youth Groups

The Boys Brigade was first formed in Glasgow in 1883 and it rapidly spread across the country, especially through non-conformist churches.

The Scouts

4th St. John’s Scout Group in Bury St Edmunds C.1926
4th St. John’s Scout Group in Bury St Edmunds C.1926
Donor; Mr Chandler,Bury St Edmunds
‘courtesy of Bury Free Press
In 1908 Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys a book aimed at teenage boys.

A rapidly growing movement was created around the books and by 1910 there were 100,000 scouts in Britain.

The Guides

Both the Girls’ Life Brigade and the Girl Guides were formed due to pressure from girls who wanted their own versions of the boys’ clubs.

The Girls’ Life Brigade was formed in 1902 and the Girl Guides in 1910. The groups encouraged young people to be a part of their local community and to contribute to society.

A Thriving Community

In addition to these groups Stowupland also had youth clubs and sports teams including the Stowupland Falcons, the cricket club and the Stowmarket Rugby Club. 4th St. John’s Scout Group in Bury St Edmunds C.1926
The patrons of the Retreat Pub probably
taken just before the old building was
demolished and a new pub built c.1967
All of these teams were well supported by the whole village.

For the less sporty there was a Women’s Institute, numerous events in the village hall and two public houses - The Retreat and The Crown.

Both of these pubs had regular drinkers and their own sense of community which developed through team games such as darts and traditional sing-a-longs.

Celebrations

The entire village would get together and organise events for special occasions. When peace was declared in 1945 after WW2 the villagers held street parties to celebrate. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 saw similar celebrations.

There would also be village fetes and activities to raise money for local organisations such as the village school. These shared activities helped to create a sense of community and belonging.


This exhibition is part of a wider sustainability project delivered through the Rural Museums East Partnership. It is funded by Renaissance East of England.

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