18 June 2010
A new four-stamp miniature sheet from Royal Mail celebrates one of 2010’s biggest anniversaries - the centenary of Girl Guiding in the UK. ...
From its small beginnings as an offshoot of the Boys Scouts, Girl Guiding has grown into an association which has members in 145 countries across the globe. More than half a million girls and women in the UK are part of the Guiding Movement, making it the largest youth organisation in the country.
Guides, Brownies and Rainbows on Royal Mail stamps
The new stamps from Royal Mail feature the different branches of the organisation - Rainbows (first class) for girls aged five to seven, Brownies (56p), for under-tens, Guides (81p) and the Senior Section (90p). Girls from these four branches take part in a range of activities, and work towards achievement badges, which reflect modern-day interests, including party planning, water sports and chocolate making. In creating the stamps, Together Design worked with girls from the four Guiding sections to illustrate the fun of being a member of the Association. The stamps show photographs of the girls alongside images of various activities, including map-reading, painting, cooking and archery.
Girl Guiding centenary stamps
Royal Mail’s new Girl Guide stamps are the latest set of stamps to be issued during a century of Guiding. The first stamp appeared 25 years after the Movement was founded, when Romania issued a set of five stamps to commemorate the fifth anniversary of King Carol II ascending the throne, one of which featured a Girl Guide as part of its design.
From the earliest days of Guiding, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the girls involved in the organisation have always been keen to be the first to try new activities. The founder members approached Lord Baden Powell, founder of Boy Scouts at a rally in 1909, and asked whether girls could be included in the exciting activities, such as hiking and camping, which had so far been restricted to boys. A separate movement was set up for girls, and Girl Guiding was born. The first Guides wore a navy blue military-style uniform, which has adapted over the years to suit changing fashions and the evolving activities of the organisation. Nowadays, girls can choose their own uniform from a range of designer-created garments, which are shown on the new stamps. The Rainbows uniform is designed in primary colours, to appeal to the youngest members of Guiding, Brownies choose their clothes from a range of brown and yellow t-shirts, skirts and trousers, and Guides and Senior Section members wear modern uniforms in shades of blue.
Throughout its history, the Royal Family has been associated with Guiding. Both Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were Girl Guides, and attended meetings at Buckingham Palace with other girls from the area. The Queen is the current Patron of the Association and her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex became President following the death of Princess Margaret. A 1944 stamp from New Zealand showed Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in the uniforms of Sea Ranger Guide and Girl Guide respectively.
During the two World Wars, Girl Guiding members proved their worth to the community by volunteering to undertake a variety of tasks, from collecting spagnum moss for use in treating battle wounds, to making house to house collections for jam jars, to help with the war effort.
The fiftieth anniversary of Girl Guiding UK was celebrated in 1960, and a number of stamp issues marked this occasion. These included a 5 cent stamp from Canada which shows Girl Guides and the bi-lingual text ‘Be Prepared – Sois Prete’. Australia produced a 5d stamp depicting a Girl Guide and a portrait of Lord Baden-Powell, and Denmark issued a 30+10 ore stamp to commemorate Queen Ingrid’s 25th Anniversary of Girl Guide service, which depicts the monarch in Girl Guide Commissioner uniform.