Queer Places:
Charterhouse School, Charterhouse Rd, Godalming GU7 2DX, Regno Unito
9 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington, London SW7 5DG, Regno Unito
Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, Regno Unito
Nyeri, Kenya

Image result for Robert Baden-PowellLieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB, DL (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941) was a British Army officer, writer, author of Scouting for Boys which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement, founder and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association and founder of the Girl Guides.[4]

After having been educated at Charterhouse School in Surrey, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa.[5] In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking.[6] Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. In 1907, he held a demonstration camp, the Brownsea Island Scout camp, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. Based on his earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for boy readership. In 1910 Baden-Powell retired from the army and formed The Boy Scouts Association.

The first Scout Rally was held at The Crystal Palace in 1909, at which appeared a number of girls dressed in Scout uniform, who told Baden-Powell that they were the "Girl Scouts", following which, in 1910, Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell formed the Girl Guides from which the Girl Guides Movement grew. In 1912 he married Olave St Clair Soames. He gave guidance to the Scouting and Girl Guiding Movements until retiring in 1937. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.

In January 1912, Baden-Powell was en route to New York on a Scouting World Tour, on the ocean liner SS Arcadian, when he met Olave St Clair Soames.[45][46] She was 23, while he was 55; they shared the same birthday, 22 February. They became engaged in September of the same year, causing a media sensation due to Baden-Powell's fame. To avoid press intrusion, they married in private on 30 October 1912, at St Peter's Church in Parkstone.[47] The Scouts of England each donated a penny to buy Baden-Powell a wedding gift, a car (note that this is not the Rolls-Royce they were presented with in 1929). There is a monument to their marriage inside St Mary's Church, Brownsea Island.

Baden-Powell and Olave lived in Pax Hill near Bentley, Hampshire from about 1919 until 1939.[48] The Bentley house was a gift of her father.[49] Directly after he had married, Baden-Powell began to suffer persistent headaches, which were considered by his doctor to be of psychosomatic origin and treated with dream analysis.[7] The headaches disappeared upon his moving into a makeshift bedroom set up on his balcony.

In 1939, Baden-Powell and Olave moved to a cottage he had commissioned in Nyeri, Kenya, near Mount Kenya, where he had previously been to recuperate. The small one-room house, which he named Paxtu, was located on the grounds of the Outspan Hotel, owned by Eric Sherbrooke Walker, Baden-Powell's first private secretary and one of the first Scout inspectors.[7] Walker also owned the Treetops Hotel, approximately 17 km out in the Aberdare Mountains, often visited by Baden-Powell and people of the Happy Valley set. The Paxtu cottage is integrated into the Outspan Hotel buildings and serves as a small Scouting museum.[50]

Baden-Powell died on 8 January 1941 and is buried at St. Peter's Cemetery in Nyeri.[51] His gravestone bears a circle with a dot in the centre "ʘ", which is the trail sign for "Going home", or "I have gone home". His wife Olave moved back to England in 1942, although when she died (in 1977), her ashes were sent to Kenya and interred beside her husband.[52] The Kenyan government has declared Baden-Powell's grave a national monument.[53]

In addition, when Olave's sister Auriol Davidson (née Soames) died in 1919, Olave and Robert took her three nieces, Christian (1912–1975), Clare (1913–1980), and Yvonne, (1918–1995?), into their family and brought them up as their own children.


Westminster Abbey, London

Three of Baden-Powell's many biographers comment on his sexuality; the first two (in 1979 and 1986) focused on his relationship with his close friend Kenneth McLaren.[63][64] Tim Jeal's later biography discusses the relationship and finds no evidence that this friendship was of an erotic nature.[7] Jeal then examines Baden-Powell's views on women, his appreciation of the male form, his military relationships, and his marriage, concluding that, in his personal opinion, Baden-Powell was a repressed homosexual.[7] Jeal's conclusion is disputed.[65]


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