The Twickenham Museum
For children

The Relief of Mafeking
Twickenham celebrates early

Robert Baden-Powell in a photograph taken at Mafeking

The Boer War

In 1885, gold was discovered in Transvaal, which is now part of South Africa. Settlers from Britain and Holland (called Boers) piled in, hoping to make their fortunes. In October 1899, a war broke out between the two groups of settlers.

The Siege and Relief of Mafeking

Two days after the start of the war, the Boers laid siege to the town of Mafeking, which was occupied by 1200 British soldiers commanded by Colonel Robert Baden-Powell. After 217 days, on the 16th May 1900, the town was relieved by Lord Frederick Roberts and his troops.

A humourous newspaper billboard

Twickenham makes an early start

The news of the Relief of Mafeking was announced at home on the 18th May, but somehow the news reached Twickenham earlier and the celebrations started there on Thursday 17th May - a day earlier than everyone else! There were activities all day on Twickenham Green, with flags, decorations, fireworks and marching bands.

The fun continued on Friday and Saturday. Things were quieter on Sunday, but the celebrations started again on Monday morning, and that evening rockets and roman candles were fired from the tower of Holy Trinity Church. The church was lit up by coloured fireworks.

To this day, no one really knows how Twickenham got the news early.


The origin of the Scouting Movement

Colonel Baden-Powell returned to Britain as a hero in 1903. In 1907 he founded the Scouting movement, which continues to this day.

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