A century of Scouting at Gilwell Park

Matt Hopkins

In: News 

We have been working with The Scouts as their trusted print partner for over 10 years, supporting their purpose ‘to make young people’s lives better, helping them realise their full potential and take their place in society’.

2019 is a significant year for the Scouts as it marks 100 years since the first Scout camp at Gilwell Park, the international spiritual home of Scouting. Gilwell Park was donated to the Scouts a century ago and has become the flagship location for training and Scout events across the world. So, we were delighted to be commissioned to help them with their celebrations through a number of interconnected design, print and installation projects.

Working within the modern, fresh and inspiring Gilwell 100 brand we designed the elements for the interactive heritage hub at Gilwell Park incorporating key facts and information about the history of the Scouts, activity stations, including how to tie a friendship knot, a leaf identification game and a scaled down version of the Gilwell Oak (the iconic oak tree which sits at the heart of Gilwell Park). We produced the original for the World Scout Jamboree held in the USA. Visitors could pen their Scouting memories and experiences on specially designed oak leaf shaped sticky notes and add them to the trees to create a living memory board.

Another big part of the commission was the redesign of the existing Gilwell Heritage Trail, in line with the celebration branding and updating the trail map with a new significant stop on the trail; the ‘Pigsty’.  

The Pigsty was the third element of this project. The first Scout group to camp at Gilwell in 1919 was tasked with clearing the grounds to make the area suitable for camping but the weather took a turn for the worse and the Scouts all had to take refuge in a gardener’s shed! This was nicknamed the ‘Pigsty’ and given its historical significance it was key for this to feature as part of the celebrations and the Heritage Trail.

The brief was to engage visitors through recreating the experience of that night 100 years ago under the Scouts Heritage brand, which focuses on the rich history of the movement, and the Scouts as an empowering force for young people. We designed and installed an experiential space which included oversized, wall mounted photo albums using original imagery; motioned detected thunderstorm sounds; and to really bring to life how things would have looked, bespoke illustrations of the clothing and equipment that the Scouts would have used 100 years ago.

The Scouts are delighted with the exhibitions at Gilwell which were installed in time for ‘Gilwell 24’, the first event of the summer holidays at Gilwell Park.


We’ve had such great comments about the displays and if you can impress 4,000 teenagers you are doing something right. It’s been a great process seeing the designs become reality.
Caroline Pantling
Heritage Service Manager, The Scouts