Special guests at 1947 jamboree reach a landmark

Biggleswade Chronicle editor Fred Simms opens scout jamboree with the St Neots quads in 1947.
Biggleswade Chronicle editor Fred Simms opens scout jamboree with the St Neots quads in 1947.

Quads who made history before the war and visited Biggleswade at the time have celebrated their 80th birthdays.

Almost 70 years ago the world famous St Neots quads were special guests at the opening of the 1947 Scout Jamboree in Biggleswade.

At the age of 11 they were well used to publicity and enjoyed being the centre of attention at this special event organised by Fred Simms, editor at the time of the Biggleswade Chronicle.

The story from the pages of the Scouts’ history books reads:

“The Miles quads Ernest, Michael, Paul and Ann, were born on 28th November 1935 and were the first quads in the world who survived more than a few days.

“In 1947, aged 11, they were invited to open the first post war Scout jamboree in Biggleswade by Chronicle editor Fred Simms who was chairman of Biggleswade Scouts at the time.

“The day-long event was held on 13th September in the grounds of The Close in Shortmead Street, attended by more than 1,500 people. They raised £80 15s 2d to send a scout, Gerald Manley, to the peace international jamboree in France and to help with the cost of a new headquarters to be built off Fairfield Road.”

The photograph shows Fred Simms introducing the quads who were impeccably dressed in smart Scout and Guide uniforms. From left they are Ernest, Michael, Paul and Ann.

The jamboree was reported in the Biggleswade Chronicle on 9th September 1947.

At the end of November the still sprightly quartet gathered to celebrate their joint 80th birthday. A display of their unique history and the 1930s was on show in the museum at St Neots.