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Web Link: Horace Grocott

Horace Grocott (1880-1963) and Ada Grocott (1881-1958)

'Sure and Steadfast' -the Caversham origins of New Zealand Boys and Girls Brigades

Horace GrocottHorace Grocott left St Leonards School at the age of 12 and joined the Dunedin Telegraph Office as a messenger boy. After teaching himself Morse Code he transferred to the Post Office. In 1906 he married Ada Gibbs. Ada had attended George Street School but left in her Standard 6 year when her mother fell ill. From then until her marriage she kept house for her family. The Grocotts were devout Christians and in 1909 they decided to become missionaries. They travelled to the Andes, joining an interdenominational mission to the Quechua Indians of Bolivia. The high altitudes where they worked took a heavy toll on Horace's health and after five years they were forced to return to New Zealand. After eighteen months recuperation Horace rejoined the Post Office. The family settled in Caversham and joined the Baptist Church in Playfair Street. In the 1920s Horace became concerned about the gangs of boys hanging around street corners on Saturday evenings. He began a club for them in the church hall. In 1926 he read about the Boys Life Brigade in Britain and registered his club as the first Boys Brigade company in New Zealand. Two years later Ada followed suit forming a branch of the Girls Life Brigade. The Boys and Girls Brigades -providing Christian-based activity programmes for young people - spread out from Caversham across New Zealand.

(Photograph, Otago Setters Museum Collection)

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