We cannot let the centenary of the foundation of the Girl Guides pass without some mention of the early activities of the movement in Llanishen.
Glamorgan Archives holds three bound volumes containing Llanishen Guides Gazette from November 1916 to July 1918 which gives a delightful picture of the guides and brownies in the parish at the start of the century.
In her introduction to the first issue the Captain, Dorothy P Lewis, of Elsinore, Lisvane Road, writes:
“This is a new venture, this magazine of ours, and I want it to be a great success. If it is to be one, each one of you must help and not leave a few leading spirits to write the articles and stories. We have made a rule that only the Girl Guides are to read it and so you need not be afraid of “grown up” criticism. Try, all of you, to put your thoughts and ideas down on paper, and you will be surprised what splendid articles, stories and poetry you will write”.
She is writing two years after the outbreak of war and reminds her readers that they have an important part to play “ in these dark days when the fate of nations hangs in the balance”.
“From among our immediate circle many have gone to be nurses, munition workers, or are taking the place of men in office and shop. We are proud of them, and would gladly follow their example, but to many of us this is not possible. But there is work for all and though perhaps there is more glory attached to nursing and munition making, the smaller service you can all do is just as valuable if done thoroughly and with a willing heart. So go on with your waste paper collecting, your knitting, your vegetable growing and in all your work remember Guide Law No. 8 ‘A guide smiles and sings under all circumstances for work done cheerfully is twice as acceptable as work done with a long face.’ Throw yourselves heart and soul into whatever you are doing, whether it be learning to tie a reef knot or filling a sack with paper, ironing a petticoat or training a recruit. Give of your best, for we want the best only, and 1st Llanishen Company will have no place for half-hearted girls this year”.
There was still time for fun and in July 1917 a tea party for the Brownies was held at The Hollies on Station Road which was enjoyed by all, as this report shows: “This tea was a lovely one, and we enjoyed it awfully. We had a lovely tea and when we had all finished, we had our photo taken …Then we had some very jolly games. First we had Nuts and May, then Oranges, then Rebeckah where art thou?, then Twos and Threes, then English and French, which really ought to be English and German, because of the war. We had beautiful weather and the sun shone brightly all the time, and it was beautifully hot as there was not much breeze, and all was quiet and still. We were very lucky to have so many Saturdays fine. The Brownies are very grateful to their kind host and hostess Mr. and Mrs. Botsford, and three cheers were given for them and their kindness”.
The photograph shows Officers and Patrol Leaders with their colours in 1917.
The magazines give a fascinating picture of the lives of the young people during the war, with the emphasis of their articles and drawings on nature and country life, some of them exquisitely done, as the water colours of butterflies by Miss Bots ford show, all of which reminds us how rural Llanishen was a hundred years ago.
But war was never far from their minds as this poem by their Captain reminds them:
“I cannot draw, I cannot paint,
I cannot sing or play;
But I can help in growing food,
And keep the Hun away.”