District History: Pre-1950

We can trace Liphook Guiding right back to 1910, but there are still enormous gaps in our knowledge and research is still ongoing. We are hoping that if anyone reading this can help us, you will contact us and help to fill in the gaps of knowledge.


In 1908, Lord Baden Powell founded the Scout Movement. Girls were not allowed to join as it was felt that young ladies should not be taking part in tom-boyish activities like camping and hiking. But girls themselves disagreed and many of them registered as Scouts by only giving their initial and surname on the written application forms sent to Scouting HQ. They were the original Lones, working from the Scouting Handbook and sending in their work to be tested for badges.

Two girls from Liphook are recorded as being early Lone Scouts in 1908: Rotha Lintorn-Orman and Nesta G. Maude. They were in a Patrol of three, first called the Rabbits, and later the Foxes. Rotha's mother Blanche Lintorn-Orman was the Scout Mistress. The girls tried many activities form "Scouting for Boys".

Rotha and Nesta attended the first Scout Rally at Crystal Palace in 1910, together with a handful of other girls. They joined the end of the parade of Scouts who marched past Baden Powell, and when he saw them, he asked what they were doing there. The group of girls told him that they were the Girl Scouts. This eventually led to the Guide association being formed with Baden Powell's sister as Chief Guide.

Forest Mere

Following this, Mrs Blanch Lintorn-Orman formed a Guide Company at her home at Forest Mere, Liphook. She is recorded in County records as being the first County Commissioner for Hampshire East.

However, there are no County records of her Guide Company but it is likely that it was registered in W. Sussex, as Forest Mere is right on the County Boundary and has at various times belonged in that County. (Enquiries are in progress)

Forest Mere is now owned by Champneys and is a well known health hydro. The house was built between 1881 and 1892 by Sir Henry Cotton, Right Honourable Lord Justice of Appeal.

It has beautiful grounds and overlooks Folly Pond.

Blanche Lintorn Orman, Guide Captain, with her daughter Rotha on the left and Nesta Maude on the right.Rotha was Patrol Leader of the Pimpernels and Nesta was PL of the Sunflowers

According to the Guide HQ archives department, Rotha and Nesta were the first two girls ever to be awarded the Silver Fish which was the highest award a Guide could gain at that time. They had to pass 15 badges and have done good all round work.

Nesta was appointed by the Guide Association to be the first Captain of the Lone Guides. Lones were girls who for various reasons could not attend meetings and did their Guiding at home. They kept in touch by post.

Read about Nesta's memories of the early Lone Guides
(It would be interesting to know exactly where the grizzly remains of the rabbits were buried!)

We have a note in our archives that shows that a Miss Maude was the Guide Captain when the 1st Liphook Guides were registered in 1924. We presume this was Nesta.


This photo shows Blanch Lintorn Orman with daughter Rotha on the left and Nesta Maude on the right.


Mrs Blanch Lintorn-Orman's father was Sir John Arabin Lintorn-Simmons, a General, later promoted to Field Marshall, who had a very distinguished career, including being the British Consul in Warsaw, the Governor of Malta and also the head of the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. He later became a Field Marshall. As a child, Blanch lived in a house with 7 servants.

Blanch's husband Charles E. Orman was a Major in the Essex Regiment. He was born in India.

Blanch would have been 52 in 1910 when she started the Guide Company at Forest Mere.

In 1901 the Orman family lived at Woodleigh Tower in Bournemouth and Rotha aged 6 had both a nurse and a governess, and there was also a domestic maid. 

Two years later they were living in Hawley, (north of Farnborough). Blanch's father is recorded as having died at the home of his daughter and son in law in February 1903 at Hawley House, near Blackwater.

Blanch's half sister from her father's first marriage had died, so it is possible that as Blanch was the only surviving child, she inherited the family fortune on her father's death and subsequently moved to Liphook and bought the house at Forest Mere about 1904 when Rotha was 9.

Rotha Lintorn Orman served in an ambulance unit in central Europe in the Great War, and later became Commandant of the national Red Cross Motor School. Following this she played a role in UK history as she started the British Fascisti organisation in 1923. She lived in Langford in Somerset , where she played at farming and entertained her fascist friends at rallies.


Nesta Gervaise Maude's family were also well off. Her father Edmund was a biscuit manufacturer, originally form Cheshire.  She was living in Highgate in the 1901 census, and the family had a cook, a housemaid and a parlour maid.

Nesta's father Edmund Maude was later involved in Scouting in Crowborough, West Sussex.

The following are excerpts from two emails received from John King (Skip). Skip is Vice President of the Ashdown District Scout Executive and Secretary of the Scout Fellowship there. He also was previously a Scout and a Scouter.

"With regard to Edmund Maude, I certainly knew him a long time ago.  He must have been a School Governor because he used to visit Whitehill School (Crowborough) and talk to us in the playground. I particularly remember him (as others do) because of his habit of patting you on the head.  This would have been in the early 30s and later on, when I was in the Scouts he was President of the Crowborough District. 
He lived in a large house called Leelands in Aviemore Road, Crowborough (later owned by Kim Philby the spy at the time he defected to the Russians). I have been searching through the information I've got on the 1st Crowborough Group and have found the following items mentioning Edmund Maude. December 1939:

1st Crowborough held their usual Xmas treat consisting of tea, games and balloons.  The party consisted of about 70 scouts and cubs and included about a dozen evacuees.   Mr. Maude was present looking hale and hearty. 1st July 1945 Group Committee meeting
Mrs Ashworth had sent a photograph of Mr. Maude* (our late president) to Major Ozanne (D.C.).  It was decided to have this suitably inscribed and framed at some future date when things were more normal.......
..(excerpt from a report from Crowborough Scouts archives)

*[Crowborough Scouts website has a copy of this photo on display].

Skip's second email:
I have come across further reference to Edmund Maude in a letter written by Miss Gaussen who came into cubbing (in Crowborough) at the end of 1922 and held this position for 20 years. In fact she was my Cub Mistress when I joined in 1933. She refers to a Local Association being formed in 1922 and writes:-

In 1922 a Local Association was being formed and Sir George Le Hunte became Chairman until his death in 1925.  Mr.R.C.Ball was Hon Secretary and among other members of the committee were Mr. Maude and Mr.Stuckey of Spring Cottage.   My father was Hon Treasurer.  (At the same time Mrs.Ashworth, Mr.Maudes daughter, with Lady Le Hunte and Miss G.N.Pollock were starting a Guide L.A. and I became Hon Secretary and Treasurer of that)."..........................(excerpt from letter written by Crowborough Cub mistress, Miss Gaussen)

Mrs Ashworth was Nesta Maude's married name. We know that Nesta eventually moved to Canada and played an important role in Guiding there. She also wrote her memoirs and we are currently trying to obtain a copy.


County records show that in March 1920, 1st Greatham Guides, with their captain Miss Coryton put on an etertainment. The 1st Liphook Guide Company was also involved with their Captain Miss Chichele-Plowden (see notes for 1924) - spelt wrongly in County records as Chickell-Plouchen) and Lieutenant Mrs Bate.


The next reference to local Guiding is found in the records retained by the Liphook and Bramshott Preservation Society to whom we are grateful for information.

In 1921, the Duke of York (later George VI) came to Liphook to open the new sanatorium for Sailors at the King George V Hospital, (next to Radford Park as it is now). There were Bramshott Guides present.

This is the quote:

"Liphook was en fête ,  The Parish Council was led by its Chairman Inigo Triggs (architect of Little Boarhunt and The Rectory).  A large and very distinguished gathering was present at the opening ceremony.  The Bramshott Company of Girl Guides with Miss Chichele Plowden in command provided a guard of honour at the North Lodge.  The Petersfield Victoria Band played and the Scouts and Cubs under Miss Tristram provided a Guard of honour at the flag pole."

The Chichele-Plowden family were aristocrats.  The Guide Captain was Hester, daughter of Trevor John Chichele Plowden and Beatrice Mary Teresa Fitzherbert Stafford.

Hester married Kenneth Gordon Poland, which is a familiar name locally connected to insurance business. They lived at a large house in Bramshott called Downlands. An interesting piece of history is that Hester's sister Pamela was Winston Churchill's first love, but he knew he could not ask for her hand in marriage as at that stage he could not afford to keep her on his army salary. (Churchill's love letters can be read on the internet).

Incidentally the family of the Scout/Cub Mistress Miss Tristram lived at Foley Manor, which is near Forest Mere.


These notes are not directly related to Liphook, but concern a lady who was very much part of local Guiding here in her later life.

The first World camp was held at Foxlease in 1924. This was attended by Rosamund O'Brien, who represented Barbados. Her mother Lady O'Brien and sister Patsy were also there.

Rosie O'Brien was enrolled by Lady Helen Whittaker, the County Commissioner, while at Bournemouth High School.

In 1932 Rosie O'Brien was Division Commissioner for Petersfield.

Later in 1945, Rosie worked for G.I.S. (Guide International service) running a mobile hospital from over £2,700 raised by the County.

She was still involved in Guiding in Liphook up until her death in 1987


Again. the next record we have is not strictly to do with Liphook Guides, although as the documents and two photos are held in our archives, it is no doubt connected. We have a copy of the August 1928 edition of "The Guide", (price 2d) which was the magazine of the Girl Guide Association.

Photo of Guides - possibly Freda ShepherdUnder the heading "Competition Corner" there is the following entry:

Result of the camp Gadget Competition
The Ranger prize was awarded to Cicely Ashby, Tunbridge Wells, for an extremely neat and clever gadget.

In the Guide class there were very few entries, and none reached a standard high enough to merit the award of a prize, so a certificate has been sent to:
P.L. Freda Shepherd, 1st Hants Lones, whose gadget was the best received.

The magazine is accompanied by a certificate signed by the editor of the magazine, to certify that Freda was highly commended, and there is a similar certificate for a story competition awarded a couple of months later. We assume that the photos in the envelope are of Freda.

She may have attended a local boarding school and been loosely affiliated to Liphook Guides, as that was often the way lone Guides managed to go to camp. Other than that we have no knowledge of Freda.


Our next record comes from The Liphook Preservation Society who have a newspaper article with a brief reference to the fact that Guiding in Liphook was suspended due to the outbreak of war in 1939, so although we know nothing about these Guides, at least we know they existed.

Following this we currently have no more records until the 1950/60s. See History Post 1950 for information on more recent history.