Hongkong Daily Press.
Hongkong Saturday, April 10th, 1915.
HONGKONG BOY SCOUTS.
A CENTRAL HALL TO BE PROVIDED.
The Scout movement in Hongkong has developed most promisingly of late, and the urgent and increasingly felt need for a central place of meeting caused the enthusiastic heads of the movement in the Colony to seek ways and means whereby the necessity could be obtained.
A meeting was held in the drawing room at the Hongkong Hotel last evening, at the initiative of Major Bowen, A.P.D. (Chief Scoutmaster) for the purpose of discussing the project. There were present Commodore R.H.Anstruther, R.N., Commander Basil Taylour, R.N., Major Bowen, Captain P.E.Evans, R.E., Lieut. Kennedy, 18th Infantry, Mr. and Mrs. E.Ralphs, Mrs. Rayner, Miss Skinner, Scoutmasters A.J.Edwards, G.E.Roylance, and J.M.Braga, Mr. E.Farrell, and four Patrol leaders from St. Joseph's troop.
Major BOWEN, at the outset, expressed the regret they would feel at the loss of Commander Taylour, who had done most valuable work for the movement. He took over the "Wolf Cubs" from Miss Skinner, who started them about six months ago, and did good work in a short time. They would be glad to hear that Captain Evans had consented to take his place. (Applause.) As they knew, he (Major Bowen) would be leaving shortly, and his place would be filled by Lieut. Kennedy, whose commanding officer, Major Nicholson, had promised to help him. (Applause.)
Speaking on the question of the proposed Hall, Major Bowen said it was not merely a desideratum, but a necessity. The Scouts must have some central place of assembly for the whole of the troops, not different meeting places for individual troops. They had for some time looked out for a likely place, and a fund was started for this purpose about a year ago. About $1,300 was collected, but the conditions stipulated by the donors as to the disposition of the money were such that very little was left over for the proposed Hall. Ultimately, with the cordial assistance of Major McHardy, who was very keen, he approached the Military Authorities, and succeeding in obtaining the lease of a piece of ground at the back of the Detention Barracks, which, when the brushwood and trees had been removed, would provide a central and suitable site for the Hall. The then Chief Engineer (Colonel Baker-Brown) undertook to let them have the ground as an encroachment at the nominal rent of $3 a year, making a stipulation that they might be turned out at any time if the ground were required by the Military Authorities, which stipulation, he thought, was not likely to be enforced. Major Pyne was also very sympathetic, and drew a rough plan of the proposed hall, but from lack of funds the actual lease of the ground had never been drawn up. They had had the use of it, however, on two occasions. The proposed building would be 50 ft. by 30 ft., and would be most suitable. A Chinese contractor had also drawn up a plan, and be said that he thought the Hall would cost $1,600 to erect. At any rate a small sum of $2,000 would be sufficient. Fittings, gymnastic appliances, lighting, etc., would increase this amount probably by about a fifth. The Hall would of course be for the use of the whole of the Scouts - seniors juniors, and even Cubs of three years. (Laughter.) Sir Paul Chater had been approached on the matter, and was very sympathetic. He agreed to start a fund, stipulating that it should be under the patronage of Lady May, and that Mrs. Stabb should be the Hon. Treasurer of the Fund. Major Bowen suggested that a Committee be formed to raise the money required, and place it to an account at the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, under Mr. Stabb. He thought the building should be proceeded with as soon as possible, and it would certainly be a boon if it could be erected before the next winter. For his own part, he was glad to be able to do this last "Scout action" in Hongkong and wished the project every success.
Captain Evans agreed to arrange for the construction of the building, and it was left to the various Scoutmasters to collect funds from their friends, and those interested.