The China Mail.
Hongkong, Saturday, April 10, 1915.
A SCOUTS' HALL
BUILDING TO BE STARTED.
The project for the establishment of a central hall to serve as the headquarters of all the Boy Scouts troops in Hongkong took a definite form last evening at a meeting held at the Hongkong Hotel. It was decided to invite subscriptions, and to proceed with the erection of a building on a site which the military authorities are willing to lease for a nominal rent. The Commissioner, Commodore Anstruther, R.N., presided and there were also present Major Bowen, Capt. Evans, Lieut. Kennedy, 18th Light Infantry, Commander Basil Taylour, R.N., Mrs. Ralphs, Miss Skinner, Mrs. Rayner, Mr. E.Ralphs, Scoutmaster Edwards, G.E.Roylance, J.M.Braga and E.Farrell, and four patrol leaders from the St. Joseph's troop.
Major Bowen said that Lady May had asked him to say a few words upon the change that had recently taken place in the Scouts. They would be sorry to hear that Commander Basil Taylour was shortly departing. They were very grateful to him for the work he had done in connection with the Wolf Cubs at the Peak. He took them over from Miss Skinner about eight months ago, and during that time he had rendered very great assistance. He was sure they would all be glad to hear that the Commander's place was being taken by Capt. Evans, who was doing the work very well indeed, and that his own place was being filled by Lieut. Kennedy of the 18th Infantry. He felt that he was leaving it in excellent hands. It was a great pleasure to him that this matter, which was of such great importance to the movement, should be considered at the last meeting at which he would take part in the Colony. It was necessary for every troop to have an assembly hall; and now that so many troops were coming into existence in Hongkong, the matter was one of even greater urgency. Steps were taken a short time ago to consider, question, and a sum of about $1,300 was collected. Some of the money, however, was given on conditions which prevented it being applied to this purpose. He had considered the advisability of raising a loan to cover the cost of a hall, the interest to be covered by the Scouts' subscriptions and the principal by concerts, etc., but this project had to be abandoned, as the subscriptions were somewhat irregular. With the cordial assistance of Major McHardy he approached the military authorities, and was offered by Col. Baker Brown, P.E., a piece of ground at the back of the detention barracks, at the nominal rent of $3 per annum, subject to the stipulation that if at any time the ground was needed for military purposes the Scouts would have to give it up. This, however, was an unlikely contingency, and they had already held two camps there. Major Pyne drew a rough plan of a building, about 50 feet by 30 feet, but owing to the lack of funds, the lease was never drawn up. A Chinese contractor had given a rough estimate of $1,600 for the building, and he thought $2,000 would be sufficient to meet all expenses. It was all the more necessary that they should have a hall in that some of the senior scouts were out earning their own living, and a club house would help to keep them together. The plan provided for a couple of storerooms, and for the thirsty boys a humble bar. Mr. Farrell had approached Sir Paul Chater on the matter, and he had given the project great sympathy. He had promised a subscription, but it was under certain stipulations. One was that the scheme should be under the patronage of Lady May and another was that Mr. Stabb should be the Treasurer of the fund. He suggested that a Committee should be appointed and an account opened at the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank with Mr. Stabb as treasurer.
Major Evans agreed to superintend the arrangements in connection with the building and the Scoutmasters were authorised to collect money for the building fund.