Reigate District Scouts Camp Site
Jordan Heights


History of Jordan Heights Camp site
 
The land we know as Jordan Heights was once part of the garden belonging to Craig Cottage.
The owner Mr William Henry Stead born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1846. He became an oil merchant and in 1911 was living at Cleveland, Beech Road, Reigate Hill. Widowed then he had a cook/housekeeper and three maids. Mr Stead used unemployed men between 1910-1912 to level part of his garden. He lived in his home, Cleveland, until he died aged 93 on 7th February 1939 leaving his estate of £140,534 (some £7 million today) to the Royal Exchange Assurance. We understand he was often seen in the area being pushed up the hill in a wheelchair.The house called Cleveland, 29 Beech Road is now several flats.The house and garden were left to the Royal Society. Apparently the site was recognised as being of scientifc interest.
 
Many of the old houses in Reigate Hill and the site, were requisitioned by the army during the second world war. A pigeon loft and a couple of Nisson huts were constructed, together with a generator hut and two underground dugouts. The pigeons were taken on raids into enemy territory such as The Dieppe Raid and then flew home with news of the incursion. The property called Underbeeches, which is next to the camp site, was commandeered during the war for Montgomery’s accommodation.
 
After the war the Guides started looking for a permanent campsite and were offered three sites in the area that were owned by the National Trust. Mrs Neville, who with her husband knew the Baden-Powell’s from the early days of Scouting had accompanied them on friendship cruises. They persuaded them to take over the land and rent it to the Guides at a very low rent. The cost of the lease was £50 and the annual rent 1 shilling in old money.
 
Mrs Joan Jordan was the County Camp advisor when the site was acquired and named after her. There was an official opening in September 1952.

First Anniversary Photo September 1953 

The site was used for County Training camps and many Guides held their first camp here after gaining their camp licences. One of the Nissen Huts was used as the indoor accommodation for many years. The other hut fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished and buried on site. There are remains of the pigeon loft, behind the toilet block. The dugout where tools were stored is all that is left of its wartime history. The original tents that the Guides used were old army Bell tents.

Bell tents in 1952
 
A funny story from 1957 was when the Scouts who used the Fort as Reigate District Camp site at the top of Reigate Hill, found a pair of knickers on their gate. They visited the Guides down at Jordan Heights - the Guide Leader made all the Guides turn out their kit to find out who had done it. The Guide Group were from nearby Merstham, in those days the Scouts had to go looking for Girls!
By the 1960’s it was felt that the site needed its own management committee to care for the site and its equipment. This was formed on the 7th July 1964 and Mrs Connie Wilcox was elected chairman. It is interesting to note that there were 327 campers in 1964 bringing in an income of £10. 
 
1st Southpark & Sidlow Guides May 1st & 2nd 1965

The Nissen hut was nearing the end of its life, so one of the committee’s first jobs was to research the possibility of providing a new combined camp store with indoor accommodation. In 1965 it was eventually decided to dismantle the building and replace it with the Cedar Wood hut you see today. This was officially opened during the weekend of 24th 25th September 1965. The fire place built of Ockley bricks was added along with a generator that provided electricity for some years. This building was named Doreen's Lodge in 2012 after a local Guider and Scouter.A pulley system was also built so that kit could be lifted instead of carried up the slope, but was eventually dismantled because it posed a number of dangers, including the temptation to use it as an aerial runway!

1st Southpark & Sidlow Guides May 1st & 2nd 1965

Horley Venture Scouts (Another connection with Reigate District now) worked as a Service unit on the site (1967-1968) they filled in the old dugout and levelled the ground to provide an extra camping area known as the Horseshoes sit, now our Activities field. At this time it was decided that parking bay was needed, so that cars unloading kit did not block the bridleway. The National Trust's main concern was that similar railings were used to be consistent with those already in place. One of the neighbours came to the rescue and committee members dug out a space for two cars, this was extended in the 1990’s for three cars.
 
These photo's are of the 5th Reigate Guides in 1971

During this period Mrs Jean Greenaway was Chairman until 1972. The site was in need of additional funds and in 1976, a grand auction was held at Limpsfield. This raised the sum of £1,000 which enabled more tents to be replaced. Mrs Greenaway retired in 1980 and Mrs Marjorie Hughes became chairman. In 1986 Mrs Betty Mayes took over until the site closed as a Guide site.
 
The 1987 hurricane caused the site to lose many trees and access to the top of the hill. The hut amazingly, was not damaged, but they had to get water from the nearby house 'Underbeeches', until the water pipe was repaired from the top of the site.
 
On the 30th November 1991 a tree was planted in memory of Dora Davies, a former county camp advisor. An Acacia tree was planted on 27th March 1993 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. An open day was held on 5th July 2003 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the site.
 
In 2011 November 2011 Reigate District Scouts took over the running of the site with Mr Spencer Mitchell as the first Warden.
The first camp took place in January 2012 with members from the 34th Reigate (Meadvale). The new wash station and toilets arrived in January 2012 with water being turned on in March 2012.The main building was named after a long standing Scouter and Guider in Reigate Doreen Mitchell and became known as Doreen's Lodge.The first full camp was held in March 2012. In April 2012 an Oak tree was planted to commemorate the opening of the site and the Queen Diamond Jubilee. In September 2012 the Camp site was opened by District Commissioner Mr Steve Robinson in front of over 90 Guest.The Site all had a cake to celebrate the 60 years of the site being a camp site. The new Archery range complete with floodlights was also opened in September 2012. March 2013 saw the completion on the riffle range at the site again with floodlights. Also additional parking for a van mini bus or two more cars was added in April 2013. 2014 saw the assault course built in the woods next to the bottom field.2015 saw the completion of the new roof on Doreen's lodge.The Transverse Climbing wall was complted in March 2016 alongside the crazy golf course.In August 2016 the camp site had another amazing event a International Camp when 48 Scouts camped at the site for a week from Germany.2016 also saw Doreen's lodge painted inside for the first time with help from a team from legal & General. 2017 see the opening of the new Axe and Shovel throwing range a very exciting new activity for the site.

Camp Site Warden Spencer Mitchell & District Commissioner Steve Robinson

1st Southpark & Sidlow Guides May 1st & 2nd 1965

1st Southpark & Sidlow Guides May 1st & 2nd 1965

1st Southpark & Sidlow Guides May 1st & 2nd 1965

First Work party at the Camp site 6th November 2011

The first campers as a Scout Camp site were Spence & Aaron on Saturday 21st January 2012 sleeping out in bashers and hammocks.

Spencer Mitchell September  2011 (Updated Augsut 2016)
Information from
Veronica Ballard (Guider)
Mr Peter Mitchell (Scout and Warden The Fort Reigate District Scouts)
Miss Doreen Mitchell (Photo’s) Reigate Scouter and Guide Leader 
Mr Brian Stead (Mayor of Reigate & Banstead)






Reigate District Scouts Camp Site Jordan Heights
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