From a building that served as an office to issue car tax to a valuable venue for Guiding and Scouting (the photo above shows the building re-opened in 1986 after an arson attack).
Hardwick developed from a small village, with the influx of a new population due to new housing developments in the 1970’s. There was an increasing demand for community facilities. The community of Hardwick contributed money from the sale of the old village hall to add onto the new school building a community room, stage, kitchenette, office and foyer. The community room was envisaged as the centre of community activities. However there was not room for all the groups that needed to make use of the building. Especially for Scouting and Guiding groups which needed storage for camping and other equipment. Shortly after the community room was opened Bill Cooley, then Group Scout Leader approached Jane Muncey, then Guide Guider with a suggestion that there should be a building for their use. This was agreed on the basis that it was jointly owned by both the Scout Group and the Guide Unit and each contributed money to pay for the original building. This was already a vintage building in the 1970’s, and had been sited at Brooklands Avenue and later in Shelford , used as a car tax office. The building arrived, in pieces, in 1979, and was erected by members of the Scout Parent Committee. All were proud of the building, nicknamed ‘Cooley’s Cabin’ as it took its place on the school field. The Scout Group moved from its meeting place in Caldecote, although retained its title of ‘Highfields and Hardwick Scout Group’ as a link with the village of Caldecote. The Guide unit, founded in 1978 initially met in the Old School, when this was developed moved into the Community room, and then into ’the hut’. The school and its field was initial a centre of all community events in the village.
Time passed the population of the village increased and with those changes. An extension was needed to the school and community room, the site of the ‘Hut’ was needed. To enable to school to develop the County Council paid for the building to be dismantled and rebuilt on the recently created recreation ground, with the agreement of the Parish Council. Although the cost of the removal was met by the County Council the cost of the internal refitting was met by Scout Group and Guide Unit funds and most of the work done by leaders and parents.
The hut continued to be a valuable resource enabling many young people to gain skills through the programme of Scouting and Guiding and provide a base for leader training.
In 1986 there was an arson attack on the building, putting it out of use for many months. There was great support from the village community and with the aid of the insurance claim and fundraising from the village, it was repaired and refitted internally. The numbers of members had increased and to make best use of the space the internal camp stores were replaced with a metal storage container located to the side of the hut.
During the 1990s, the hut committee which included Jane Giddings – Group Scout Leader and Jane Muncey Guide Guider, the future of the hut was discussed. As the hut is a prefabricated wooden building it would not last indefinitely. While the Hut was still able to provide the important and varied programme of activities to the Young People of Hardwick plans for a replacement should start. The committee all accepted that it would be a challenging and long term project. The end result would provide a building that would be an asset to the village community as well as providing a meeting place for Scouting and Guiding.