Celebrity quads opened post-war Jamboree

Peter Sutherst, archivist for Bedfordshire Scouts who has access to thousands of records going back to the beginning of Scouting in the county over a century ago, has kindly sent us this interesting story about the Miles quads from St Neots.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th November 2014, 1:23 pm
St Neots Quads 1947 PNL-141125-134915001
St Neots Quads 1947 PNL-141125-134915001

The three boys and a girl were born on this day in 1935 and were the first quads in the world to survive more than a few days.

Being local celebrities, in 1947, the 11-year-old quads were invited to open the first post-war Scout jamboree in Biggleswade by Chronicle editor Fred Simms who was also chairman of Biggleswade Scouts at that time.

Peter explains: “The day long event was held on September 13 in the grounds of The Close in Shortmead Street and was attended by over 1,500 people. They raised £80 15s 2d to send 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, courtesy of Biggleswade History Society, shows Fred Simms introducing the quads who were impeccably dressed in smart Scout and Guide uniforms. They are Ernest, Michael, Paul and Ann and by then were well used to publicity.
The jamboree was reported in the Biggleswade Chronicle on September 9, 1947.

In 1964, Cow and Gate did a follow up story on the quads. By then, Ernest was married with three sons and living in Rugeley; Paul was unmarried and lived in Cambridge; Michael was living in Cape Town, South Africa; and Ann had become Mrs Browning with two boys Mark and Richard.

Today, the quads would be 79 years old.

Thanks go to Peter for being kind enough to send us this timely story while he was researching the World Wars.