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The first Boys' Brigade company was set up by Sir William Alexander Smith on 4 October, 1883, at Free Church Mission Hall, North Woodside Road, Glasgow, Scotland, to develop "Christian manliness" by the use of a semi-military discipline and order, gymnastics, summer camps, and religious services and classes.

 

In the years following the establishment of the 1st Glasgow company, others were rapidly formed throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK leading to a movement comprising thousands of boys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the early 20th century there were about 2,200 companies connected with different churches throughout the world, with 10,000 officers and 160,000 boys. Each company is normally affiliated to a battalion encompassing several nearby companies, which in turn are organised into districts and then to national level.

 

Being the earliest of all youth organizations, a simple rosette was worn as an identifying uniform, shortly being replaced by the simple use of a belt, haversack, and pillbox cap (a popular military cap of the day) worn over the boys' everyday clothing. The pillbox cap was used into the 1960s, long after it had fallen out of use in the British Army, when it was replaced with a field cap.

 

 

The movement also pioneered camping for leisure in Britain, previously rarely used outside the military. Early admirers of the Brigade included Robert Baden-Powell who as Vice President of the Boys' Brigade used it alongside initiatives in schools, particularly Eton, to promote the idea of scouting and outdoor pursuits based on those of the military for boys. At the time, he did not originally intend that any individual organization would later arise from this aim in the form of the various Boy Scouts movements. Early examples of Scouting were seen in Boys' Brigade Scouting awards and even specialised Boys' Brigade Scout sections who wore a blue uniform with shorts and the distinctive Smokey Bear hat traditionally identified with Scouts, and still worn today by drill sergeants in the United States Army. However, nowadays there is a certain friendly rivalry between the two groups.

 

 

The Boys' Life Brigade was one of many similar movements formed by the Boys' Brigade's influence, sometimes along denominational or religious lines, including the Church Lads' Brigade, the Jewish Lads' Brigade, or the Catholic Boys' Brigade. The merger also prompted the abandonment of dummy drill rifles that had been used in The Boys' Brigade, due to the Life Brigade's objection to use of weapons or their representations. For some time afterwards, the section covering members aged 8–12 years was known as Life Boys, before being restyled as the Junior section.

 

 

Source - "The Boys' Brigade" - Wikipedia

 

 

 

Key Dates

1854 - William Alexander Smith born (27th October)

1883 - BB Founded in Glasgow (4th October)

1886 - First BB Camp (Tignabruaich)

1908 - Scout Movement Formed (by Baden Powell, developed from the BB)

1907 - 44th Aberdeen BB founded at Mannofield, Aberdeen

1909 - William Alexander Smith knighted (July)

1914 - Sir William Alexander Smith died (10th May)

1917 - Boy Reserves started

1926 - Amalgamation of The Boys' Brigade with The Boys' Life Brigade

1933 - Jubilee Celebrations

1976 - World Conference (of The Boys' Brigade) formed

1983 - Centenary Celebrations

1993 - Junior Section 75th Anniversary (previously called 'Life Boys')

2002 - World Conference renamed to Global Fellowship of Christian Youth

2004 - 150th Anniversary of the Founder's birth

2007 - 44th Aberdeen celebrate its Centenary

2008 - 125th Anniversary of The Boys' Brigade

 

 

Sir William Alexander Smith Founder of the BB Not Vintage but 1980's 1st Skene...click to enlarge