County standard & history

County Standard

In 1918 Lady Olave Baden Powell, was appointed Chief Guide. She was previously the first County Commissioner for all of Sussex, and was succeeded by her friend, Dame Alice Godman of South Lodge, Lower Beeding, who also played a major role in the Movement’s early days. Dame Alice in turn was succeeded by her two daughters Eva and Edith who held the position jointly, 1945–1960.

It was Dame Alice and her daughters who were responsible for the Standard we have today.

The Standard is 94” long and 30” wide at the hoist, tapering to 10”. The fly is swallow tailed. The “field” or background throughout is of blue brocade. As in all Guide Standards the trefoil comes in the place of honour nearest the hoist. Next to the trefoil is the county badge of Sussex, six gold martlets, placed not on a shield but in a blue lozenge outlined in gold, because to be heraldically correct women must not bear arms on a shield, but they may do so in a lozenge.

Then come seven green trees in foliage, designed after the one in the front of South Lodge, they represent the seven inland divisions, originally only six, but one was added as a new division was formed, (unknown date). The dolphins represent the seaside divisions. Since the Standard was dedicated in 1932 there have been alterations in the numbers of the divisions. Between the trees and the dolphins are two diagonal bands of gold with red lettering on them.

One side of the Standard has the Girlguiding motto “Be Prepared”, the other side has the Godman family motto: “Coelum quid quaerimus ultra” (What do we desire beyond heaven”). Running the length of the fly above and below the trees and dolphins is a wavy bordure of gold, which, with the blue of the field, represents the waves along the sands of the seashore.

Dame Alice worked the standard with her daughters, the material originally being Dame Alice’s wedding dress dyed blue.

The trefoil, martlets and bordure are made of gold kid from a pair of Dame Alice’s own gloves (which does not tarnish), and Miss Godman had said that the Standard was the first of its kind to make use of gold kid. The dolphins are of silver metal brocade, and the trees are embroidered in various shades of green floss silk.

The Standard is edged with a blue and gold braid and with a blue fringe.

By 1965 guiding had grown in Sussex, and two counties: Sussex East and Sussex West were formed. It was agreed that the Standard should remain with Sussex West as South Lodge was within their county. When the guiding boundaries were redrawn again 1979 the same rule applied, hence why Girlguiding Sussex Central is now the custodian of the original Standard

In 1997 the Standard was “preserved” by members of The Royal School of Needlework (not repaired as it was too fragile) the cost being met by donations from the County Associates and Region.