General Badge Guide


The Girl Guides were formed in 1910 by Baden-Powell.  The uniform was blue and the badges were mostly white felt or flannel with blue embroidery, although more than one shade of blue exists.  This may be how they were issued or may reflect colour change with washing or the effect of light on unstable dyes.  They were approximately 35mm diameter.


In approximately 1922, the colour of the badges changed to olive green embroidery on black or dark navy blue felt.  Many of the designs were kept the same but many new badges were introduced too.


The words "Girl Guides" were added to the border of the badges in the early 1930's and the badges became larger (approximately 40-44mm).  The material used changed to a woven fabric and an over-locked edge was added.  The badges were still embroidered in green (although this was no longer the olive green, more a bottle green) on dark navy or black and a few other colours were introduced - notably red, white, pale blue and yellow.


The next general change to badges came in 1968 when the guide programme was revised.  The badges became smaller again (approximately 30mm) but the general look remained.  More colours were introduced over the years.  This style of badge remained until 1994 but there were many variations in the badges in the embroidery - many different shades of green were used at different times.  The badges increased in size again back to 35mm from 1975.

The scan below shows 3 Homemaker badges all issued between 1968 and 1994.  From left to right they measure 32mm, 34mm and 36mm - the largest being the most recent.  There is also a change from black to dark navy, and the middle one is a much shinier green.


The first staged badges were trialled in 1989.  Only 2 badges were staged at this time: Chess with four levels and Short Tennis (only available to Brownies) with two.  These first staged badges were 44mm square and had different pictures for the different levels.  More staged badges were introduced in 1991 and yet more in 1995.  The 1991 and 1995 staged badges were green with yellow embroidery and 33mm square.  Each badge had a single design with the levels available across the bottom.  The level achieved was highlighted in red.  The only difference between the 1991-1994 staged badges and the post-1995 badges is the logo in the top left-hand corner.


In 1995, the "Girl Guides"  was renamed "The Guide Association".  Along with change in name, the word "Girl" was dropped from the round badges, although the general design remained the same.


In the year 2000, the new Guide programme was launched, including a brand new set of badges.  The staged badges were discontinued.  Whilst some names were kept, all the designs changed, the shape changed from a uniform round to a mixed bag of shapes, all much larger than any badges before.  All badges are now multi-coloured with multiple pictures on many.  Many of these badges have been issued with two different logos, the design being updated as and when stocks required a new batch.


All the dates are based on the information in guide publications and on items in my collection that are dated e.g. badge certificates with associated badges.  The Guide Association has always been thrifty so badge stocks would have been used up before issuing the new design.  This makes giving exact dates very difficult.  Even in this modern era when programmes are launched on specific dates, there is still a change over period when old badges are still allowed to be issued.

Main Index