Timeline

This timeline has grown to include some Guiding milestones, because naturally Olave's life and Guiding are inextricably intertwined. If you know of any milestones which should be included on this timeline, please email me. As I find more information from various sources, this timeline changes. So please visit again.

  1889
  22 February
Olave St Clair Soames is born in Stubbing Court, Chesterfield, England.

At the time of her birth, her mother was unsure if either of them would survive.

Also on this day, Robert Baden Powell celebrated his 32nd birthday.

1907
  Robert Baden Powell runs the first Boy Scout Camp at Brownsea, England.
  1910-1912
  The Girl Guides Association of the United Kingdom was formed for those "Girl Scouts" who had presented themselves at the 1909 rally of Boy Scouts in Crystal Palace, London. BP Asked his sister, Agnes, to write a book for them, along the lines of Scouting for Boys. She became the Association's first President.

The first Girl Guide groups start in various parts of Australia.

  1912 - Age 23
  Olave meets Robert Baden-Powell during a cruise on the Arcadian to the West Indies. He was "The only interesting person on board!"

September 20
Olave and BP become engaged

October 30
Olave and BP are married

Girl Scouting begins in the USA, by Juliette Gordon-Lowe

BP and Olave with Juliette Gordon-Lowe

  1913 - Age 24
  January 14-March 1 Holiday Cruise with BP - Algiers, Sahara, Carthage, Tunis, Valetta (Malta)

April
Move into their first home, Ewhurst Place, Sussex

June
Olave becomes a warranted Scoutmaster in Sussex

October
Eldest son, Peter, born

BPs mother dies

  1914
  Olave learns to drive, acts as BPs chauffeur - he didn't like driving
  1915
  Heather, eldest daughter, born

September
Olave arrives in France as a Scout recruit to work with YMCA in 'respite huts' for troops. Children cared for by Olave's mother. 

  1916
  Olave is enrolled as a Guide.

Appointed County Commissioner for Sussex

First Commissioners' Conference, Matlock.

  1917
  Olave sets up an International Committee and an Overseas Council

April - Betty born

Move to Horley after sale of Ewhurst Place after owner killed in war

  1918
  Olave becomes Chief Guide of England

Olave receives the Silver Fish Award

Pax Hill purchased with a gift of $ from Olave's father

  1919
  Olave forms the International Council - the forerunner of WAGGGS

Olave writes to women in Brazil, asking them to consider starting Girl Guides.

  1920
  First World Conference, Oxford
  1922
  World Conference, Cambridge
  1923
  Foxlease opened - first Guiders' training
  1924 - Age 35
  foxlease1924The first World Camp at Foxlease, England. Forty countries represented

 

  1926
  Australian states form the Federal Council of Girl Guides Associations in Australia.

Thinking Day originates at the 4th World Conference in New York.

World Conference, Camp Edith Macy, USA

Three month tour of USA, visiting Girl Scouts

Six months in South Africa 

  1928
  World Conference, Parad, Hungary - where the World Association is established, with offices in London.

Lady BP visits Australia 

  1929
  August - Liverpool Jamboree

Pax Hill burgled, many souvenirs stolen

Another cruise to the West Indies, on the Alcantara.

Visit to the USA 

  1930
 

January
Visits West Indies

July 16 1930
World Conference at Foxlease. Olave is elected World Chief Guide

Unveils two railway engines called "The Boy Scout" and "The Girl Guide"

Presented with award Grand Dame of the British Empire by King George V 

  1931
 

Our Chalet gifted by Mrs Storrow

Family economies introduced - staff reduced to five maids, two gardeners.

Olave's mother moves in. Shortly thereafter has a stroke and requires extensive care.

Visits to (January-June):

  1932
 

Olave's mother dies. Olave is left out of the will.

21st celebrations of Guiding - 5000 guides renew their promise at St Paul's Cathedral.

Olave receives GBE in Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Visits to

  • Paris

  • Switzerland for Our Chalet opening,

  • 7th World Guide Conference in Kattawice, Poland - August

Thinking Day Fund started

  1933
 

Visit to Malta

Heather makes her 'debut'

Guide/Scout Cruises begin on White Star Lines' Calgaric with 650 Guides and Scouts  

  1934
  Betty has emergency appendectomy

BP has prostate removal surgery, emergency blood transfusions, 

Peter goes to South Africa to join the British South African Police

Olave attends 8th World Conference at Our Chalet, August

Chiefs cruise on the Adriatic to Gibraltar, France, Malta, Algiers, Lisbon.

Visit to Australia., stopping in:

Egypt, greeted by 1600 Guides, Scouts, Cubs, Brownies

Netherlands East Indies (Batavia, Samarang, Sourbaya)

 

  1935
 

 BPs ill health continues. Visit Kenya to recover.

  1936
  Betty marries Gervas Clay.

World Conference, Rattvik, Sweden 

  1937
  Visit to India (January to April)  for Jamboree and country wide tour

5th World Jamboree, Holland

Gillian born to Betty in Rhodesia

Silver wedding anniversary celebrations 

  1938
  Visit to Kenya - BP ill again

Olave makes first TV appearance

Cruise to Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium.

Visit to South Africa

World Conference, Ireland 

  1939 - Age 50
  'Paxtu' completed, BPs move to Kenya in October.

Olave becomes Colony Commissioner of Kenya.

Acquire a hyrax as a house pet!

Olave decides to learn Swahili at the mission at Nyeri.

Betty's second baby born.

BP ill again.

Our Ark opened in London.

World Camp.  Godollo, Hungary, where the World Flag was flown for the first time.

Outbreak of WW2 

  1940
  Family reunion in Kenya. Heather was in the ATS so missed the reunion.

BP ill again.

Guide International Service founded in Europe

World Conference in France - not held because of WW2 

  1941
  8 January. BP Dies at Paxtu, Kenya. Olave could not attend, spent the day of the funeral weeping and walking "in agonised grief". Olave was 51.

Thousands of letters from all over the world are sent to Kenya.

With niece Christian, goes on a 3 month tour of Africa in a truck

 
  1942
  Depression set in on return to Nyeri.

Tours South Africa

Moves back to UK - very frightening cruise back through u-boat attacks.

No home- Pax Hill was occupied by Canadian troops. She was awarded a 'grace and favour' apartment in Hampton Court.

Birth of Heather's son Michael 

  1943
  Rationing bites hard. Olave entertains many ex-Scout servicemen from all over the world.

Cycling became part of her life again to overcome crowded, limited, and slow transport.

Baden Powell Memorial fund appeal launched - Princess Margaret was the star in first fund-raising concert. 

  1944 - Age 55
  Work starts to organise relief teams to assist in liberated areas of Europe.

Continual touring of UK to "keep the spirits high and the ideals bright"

A V2 Rocket brings down ceiling of Olave's apartment in summer - she was touring the Midlands at the time.

Olave starts to learn French so she can go into Europe.

Lays wreaths at war memorials in towns all over France, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium. 

  1945
  Agnes Baden Powell dies

Olave starts to travel to the war-torn countries of Europe, to revive Guiding and Scouting.

From Olave's diary (as noted in welcome booklet, visit to Australia 1958)
St. George's Day., Attended Scout and Guide celebrations of freedom in Paris. Toured through Normandy with General Lafont, Chief Scout of France. Continued through Alsace and Lorraine, and on VE Day crossed into Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland. 

Olave with the Princesses of Luxembourg, and the Director of the World Bureau, in Luxembourg. 

  1946
  Olave begins world tour to raise funds to assist Guiding and Scouting to resume in Europe

September
Olave visits Slovakia

World Conference, Evian, France. World Badge adopted.

From Olave's diary (as noted in welcome booklet, visit to Australia 1958)
West Indies, British Guiana, Cuba, Mexico, the Unites Staets, Canada and Newfoundland. Travelled 3720 miles by sea, 6355 miles by train, 16,610 miles by air, and 3565 miles by road. Made 231 speeches to audiences varying in number (from 30 to 20,000, gave 62 press interviews or radio talks. Attended World Conference at Evian, France. Visited Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, and Holland. 

  1947
  World tour - 12 months!

Visits to Australia

 

With Brownies in the Botanical Gardens, Brisbane 

  1948
  All Africa Conference, Johannesburg 1948

Olave with Mayor of Jaohannesburg

World Conference, Cooperstown, USA 

  1949 - Age 60
  Returns to Paxtu for solitary Christmas

Peter and family return to England to live

Visits to Malta, Italy, Greece and France.

From Olave's diary (as noted in welcome booklet, visit to Australia 1958)
Visited Holland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Denmark and many parts of the British Isles; in a five months' tour of Africa travelled over 23,000 miles by air and visited 20 territories. 

  1950
  World Song adopted at World conference in England
  1952
  World Tour - 

Lecture tour of USA and Canada

Hilda Baden Powell moves in with Olave, very frail following a fall.

World Conference, Dombas, Norway

  1953
  Coronation Year - Olave hosts 128 Guiding and Scouting guests from all over the world.

Appears in a TV special on Hampton Court

Lecture tour of USA - 42,000 miles in six months, 57 cities, 25 states, 158 talks! 

  1954
  Olave attends the World Conference in The Hague

Holland1954.JPG (26654 bytes)

 

 

 

World Brownie Badge adopted 

  1955
  Hilda dies

Another tour of the USA - eight months, Canada (Niagara Falls Jamboree) 86 talks, USA 186 talks,  Mexico.

 
  1956
  Tour of Africa - interrupted by Egypt/Israeli war
  1957
  50th Anniversary of Brownsea Camp - worldwide celebrations.

Olave presides at opening of Our Cabana, the Third World Centre

Olave visits Ghana, Sri Lanka, Australia

 

  1958
  Olave visits Australia, Malaya, Hong Kong, Philippines, Uruguay

Penang1958.JPG (31831 bytes)

Dedication of "our Cabana", Cuernavaca, Mexico 

  1959 - Age 70
  Olave tours South America.

Receives 'Freedom' of the Cities of Panama and Reno!

Opens Our Cabana 

  1960
  Olave visits Nigeria, tours India, Pakistan

Golden Jubilee of Guiding

  1961
  BP House in Kensington opens

Olave continues to host many houseguests.

US and Canada tour - Olave has a heart attack while on Price Edward Island.

  1962
  Returns to England, fully recovered

Olave's brother Arthur dies

Olave's son Peter dies. 

Olave visits Japan, India, Hong Kong, other parts of Asia

Tokyo1962.JPG (14657 bytes)

 

 

Meeting the Japanese Crown Princess

Appears on a stamp issued in Haiti, to honour the 22nd Anniversary of Scouting in Haiti. 

  1963
  Our Ark moves to larger premises and is renamed Olave House.

Photo: Olave at the renaming ceremony on November 5. 

  1964
  Olave visits:

Israel

Trinidad & Tobago

Surinam 

  1965 - Age 75
  Olave visits Kenya

Kenya1965.JPG (91494 bytes) 

  1966
  Sangam, our fourth World Centre, opens in Pune, India

Olave visits Philippines, to attend the Closing Ceremonies of the GSP's 25th anniversary held at the Luneta Grandstand

 
  1967
  Olave tours Australia.

At Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane

  1969
  Attends 'Jubilations', Guiding's Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Westminster Abbey on Thinking Day.

Jubilee celebrations in Finland, Belgium, Kenya, South Africa, USA, Denmark

An ice-cream for the Chief in Brisbane, May.

  1970
  Diagnosed with diabetes, ordered to stop travelling!
  1971
  Olave unveiling BPs Portrait BustSeptember Unveiled David Wynne's sculpture of BP at Gilwell's International Centre.

  

  1972
  The Olave Rose is introduced
  1973
  Her Autobiography, Window on my Heart, appears

World Food and Agriculture organisation awards Olave the Ceres Medal

  1975
  Thinking Day Symbol introduced
  1977
  19 June Death of Olave Baden-Powell,  aged 88.

9 August Olave's ashes placed beside BP's at Paxtu.

Donations made in Olave's name were assigned to the building of the Olave Centre, in London. 

  1990
  The Olave Centre opens, 31 July.

 

 

 

I'm always happy to receive updated information about Lady Olave. Email me