It's been almost a year since hoardings erected around the statue of Robert Baden-Powell on Poole Quay were removed.

The statue was removed temporarily in the wake of the tearing down of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.

The Poole Quay statue was listed on the Topple the Racists website due to Lord Baden-Powell’s alleged “documented homophobia, racism and enthusiastic support of Hitler”.

Following this, and concerns that the removal of the statue from Poole Quay could damage it, the council reversed its decision instead erecting protective hoardings around it.

Bournemouth Echo:

At the turn of the 20th Century, Robert Baden-Powell, who, seeing what such an idyllic and secluded place Brownsea was, suggested it as a campsite where he could educate young boys.

Baden-Powell had drawn great experience from his adventures in Africa and success at Mafeking where he had used boys as scouts/messengers, and with the success of the first camp on Brownsea in 1907, gave birth to the Scouting movement.

Brownsea Island has evolved into the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour, probably from a small hill when the country was still in the throws of the last Ice Age.

It is just over 1.5 miles west to east and nearly one mile north to south.

Bournemouth Echo:

It is thought there has been human activity on Brownsea since 1000BC. A 33ft logboat was recovered just off Brownsea Island in 1964 and carbon-dated.

In the late 9th century a hermit from Cerne Abbey is thought to have lived on the island. It belonged to the monks until Henry VIII seized it under the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s.

He built the first Brownsea Castle and stationed a garrison there.

In 1576 Elizabeth I gave Brownsea to one of her courtiers. The island became a stronghold for Parliament in the English Civil War of 1642-51.

Bournemouth Echo:

By the time of the Restoration in 1660, Brownsea was owned by Robert Clayton who later became Lord Mayor of London.

In 1726 Brownsea was bought for £300 by William Benson, sometimes known as 'Mad' Benson.

He rebuilt the castle as a residence, planted trees, and preserved hundreds of rare plants on the island.

Local MP Sir Humphrey Sturt took over in the 1770s, using barge-loads of dung brought from London to cultivate plants, as well as creating lakes and a pheasantry.Bournemouth Echo:

In the 19th century Brownsea became a military station again in battles against the French. 

A coastguard station was also built.

In the mid-19th century, Brownsea was bought by Colonel William Petrie Waugh and his wife Mary, who built a large pottery on the south shore, complete with engines, a brickworks and a horse-drawn tram.

Bournemouth Echo:

They built a village for workers - but sadly the clay could not make the fine china the couple were hoping for and they emigrated to Spain, selling the island at auction.

Two more MPs followed as owners, then the van Raalte family, who built the estate into a thriving community and planted the first daffodils.

Bournemouth Echo:

But in 1927, the island was bought at auction by Mary Bonham-Christie. She banned fishing and hunting and let most of the land revert to wildlife, living a reclusive life in a house on the quay.

She died in 1961, and after a national campaign to save it, Brownsea Island was passed to the National Trust.

As the Second World War overtook the country, Brownsea, like other sites in the area, was used to light fires deliberately to distract German bombers from their intended targets like Poole.

Maryland village was so severely damaged that it was eventually levelled.

Bournemouth Echo:

The Dorset Wildlife Trust has run the nature reserve since 1962 and the island is still memorialised as the birthplace of today’s Scout Movement.

The cherry on the cake is that it is one of the few places in the country where our native red squirrel is still surviving along with an abundance of other intriguing wildlife.