The Kibbo Kift

“The Kibbo Kift (archaic Kentish dialect for ‘proof of great strength’) has been described as ‘the only genuine English national movement of modern times’ and was certainly very different from Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts.

Based on the woodcraft principles of naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton that had been a key part of the early Scout programme, the Kibbo Kift was to be not merely a youth organisation but was to involve all ages and, very daring for the times, it was open to both sexes. The ideas of world peace and the regeneration of urban man through the open-air life replaced the nationalism and militarism Hargrave had detested in the post-World War I Scouts.

The Kibbo Kift were never more than a few hundred strong. Kinsmen and Kinswomen included the Suffragettes Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, Mary Neal and May Billinghurst, the journalist Henry Nevinson, the photographer Angus McBean, and Ruth Clark. The Advisory Committee included Havelock Ellis, Maurice Maeterlinck, the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, H. G. Wells and Professor Julian Huxley. D. H. Lawrence took an interest in the Kindred and it has been suggested that Mellors in Lady Chatterley’s Lover is based on an archetypal Kinsman.

Kibbo_kift_althing_1927

The growth of the Kibbo Kift was not without its setbacks. In 1924, the South London co-operative lodges challenged Hargrave’s leadership, and seceded from the movement. They established their own organisation, The Woodcraft Folk, which outlived its parent organisation and still exists as of 2013. This was largely the result of the attempt by Ramsay Macdonald’s Labour Party to compel the Kibbo Kift to become their youth wing. When Hargrave refused, a Labour Party member, Leslie Paul, led the breakaway movement”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbo_Kift

 

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