History

Home > History

History

West Hall camp site is owned by South Tyneside District Scouts and is available for use by members of the Scouting movement and the general public.

South Tyneside Scout District is located within Durham Scout County.

South Tyneside District Scout Association was formed in 1997 from the merger of Jarrow and South Shields districts.

History

The last known “West Hall” was built sometime around the turn of the 20th Century. The building was used during the first world war whilst the site was used for army training. This continued to be the main use for the area for a while.

Although the original building has not existed since before the Second World War, the area on which it stood and the surrounding grounds continue to be known as West Hall to this day.

West Hall was eventually split into two parts, the other part became farmland. The scouts initially used the area that is now farmland, but it’s not known exactly when the exchange took place. The camp site covers an area of approximately 4 acres and is one of the few natural woodland areas left in South Tyneside. The campsite is within a conservation area.  

The site is technically a training site, intended to allow scouts to camping and other scoutcraft, but there are more and more activities taking place on the site including competitions and fun days. The site is also used for the District Annual firework display and bonfire night.

The site is used throughout the year, although it would be unusual for the younger members of the movement to take part in winter activities. Temperatures are recorded and compared with the scouts who camped at the coldest site being declared the winner. Although this does not require any skill in itself, it is an excellent way of teaching the basics of winter camping.

The West Hall area is commonly mentioned in local folklore, the best known example of this is the story about the Miller.

The camp site came into scout use sometime before the Second World War, it’s thought that it was first used for scout camps around 1936.

The BP Lodge  was added sometime after the war, although the building itself had been used on the army camp at a nearby quarry. The lodge was been extended at various times during the 1980s and now includes a bunkhouse and toilet facilities. South Shields District Scout Association was honoured when Lord Barnard and Lady Chapman officially opened the Lodge on 12th September 1959.

The camp site had been continually modified and improved. In August 2000 the District was privileged to have the newly renovated “Westfield Lodge” officially opened by the current Chief Scout, George Purdy. The event was commemorated with a plaque.