Echoes of the past: Looking back at Bob-a-Job Week

The St Matthew's Rastrick Scouts outside Tesco
The St Matthew's Rastrick Scouts outside Tesco

Back in 1983 the UK Scout membership stood at 626, 937, with an additional 12,300 young people being members of the Beavers.

Which had only been introduced the year before for boys aged between six and eight years old.

I am sure many lads will remember taking part in ‘Bob- a-Job Week’. For those who have forgotten, or often wondered where did that name come from. Well, we have to go back to 1914 when ‘Good Turn Day’ was introduced by the founder of the Scout movement Lord Baden Powell. However, it was 1949 when it was renamed as the more familiar name of Bob-a-Job Week.

This was the week when boy scouts for a small payment would do a spell of gardening, shopping, a few household chores and even taking the dog a walk.

It was called ‘Bob-a-Job’ because a ‘Bob’ was the common name given to a shilling in predecimal money. Young lads would all turn up to a local community, all eager to do jobs. Back in those days it was doing jobs for friends of their parents, relatives and neighbours, who were all pleased to see then when they came knocking. They would have all the jobs lined up ready for their arrival.

It was in March 1970 when the term ‘Bob-a-Job’ finally came to an end in anticipation of decimalisation being introduced early the following year. This meant the need for the name being changed. ‘Scout-Job-Week’ was chosen as the most suitable replacement .

In this April 1983 photograph are four members of the Rastrick St Matthew’s Scouts doing their bit for ‘Scout Job Week’ on what was Tesco’s car park (now Wilkinson’s).

They have set up a shoe shine service and their young customer looks a little bit

nonplussed about it. Interestingly that young person will now be about 37 years old. Whilst I doubt he will remember that day I am sure the four scouts will remember the day they set up a shoe shine stand in Brighouse town centre.

With the changing times ‘Scout -Job-Week’ came to and end in the late 80s early 1990s.

Unfortunately I do not know the names of the five young people in the photograph but perhaps you do ? If you are one of them or related to them please contact me via e-mail: enquiries@chrishelme-brighouse.org.uk