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Life in the footnotes

The 27th edition of Social Trends is published at the end of January. Paul Barker, a compulsive browser since the first edition in 1970, celebrates the big trends and the small print

By Paul Barker   February 1997

Everything is, we always read, in an accelerating swirl of change. So it is reassuring to discover, from the annual editions of Social Trends, that the Cubs and Brownies, at least, are unmoved. Membership has grown, year on year, through the never-had-it-so-good 1950s, the swinging 1960s, the catastrophic 1970s, the boom-and-bust 1980s. They entered the uncertain 1990s with their chins held high and their uniforms as pressed and shiny as ever. On Social Trends’ 1996 reckoning, Britain has about 350,000 Cubs and more than 400,000 Brownies, compared with 187,887 Cubs and 170,539 Brownies in 1950.

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