Eton Manor Summer Camps
Boys who joined the Eton Manor Boys’ Clubs (EMBC) were encouraged to adopt an adventurous ‘can do’ attitude. They were expected to take part in as many different activities at the Clubhouse and on the Wilderness as possible.
“That was the marvellous thing about the Club, it widened people’s horizons.”
Eton Manorite John Payne (b. 1941)
The summer camp gave Eton Manor boys an opportunity to experience a few days of communal life in the great outdoors. During the early years of the 20th century, the camp was held at Cuckoo Weir on the Thames near Windsor:
- read EMBC founder Gerald Wellesley’s reflections on the benefits of these trips for young lads living in built-up and relatively poor areas of London
- find out what proportion of the Camp Budget went on ginger beer in 1910
By the late-1940s, it was believed that bathing in the dirty water of the Thames posed a risk to health. The trips to Cuckoo Weir stopped. Instead, the EMBC camped at the Isle of Thorns in Sussex. With a generosity typical of the Club’s founding Trustees, Alfred Wagg established a first-rate campsite on an area of land close to his family home. Here, the Eton Manor boys were provided with wooden blocks of dormitories, an open-air swimming pool, football and cricket pitches and, eventually, a novelty golf course. The summer camp at the Isle of Thorns immediately became a high point in the EMBC calendar.
Graham Phillips (b.1948) and Peter Wilson (b.1946) joined EMBC in 1962 and 1960 respectively, and you can listen to them sharing happy memories of the Isle of Thorns in the early 1960s:
- “Daily Routine”:
- “Army Discipline”:
- “Peter Muncey’s Frolics” in the Dutch Barn provided a welcome and popular diversion when the weather was bad:
- Enjoy Graham and Peter singing their favourite camp songs: