The Boys' Brigade in the United Kingdom

The Boys' Brigade in the United Kingdom

Infobox Non-profit
Non-profit_name = Boys Brigade
Non-profit_type =
founded_date = 1883
founder = William Alexander Smith
location = Felden Lodge, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP3 0BL
origins =
key_people =
area_served = International
focus =
method =
revenue =
endowment =
num_volunteers =
num_employees =
num_members =
owner =
Non-profit_slogan =
homepage = []
dissolved =
footnotes =

The Boys Brigade is the largest Christian uniformed youth organisation in the United Kingdom. Its British headquarters are located at Felden Lodge, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Companies in other countries may have their own national headquarters. They celebrate their 125th anniversary this year.


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 United Kingdom leading to a movement comprising thousands of boys: in the early 20th century there were about 2,200 companies connected with different churches throughout the United Kingdom, the British Empire, and the United States, with 10,000 officers and 160,000 boys.

The Object

The object of the Boys’ Brigade has remained relevant for over one hundred years and will remain relevant into the future.

The advancement of Christ's kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness


The motto of the Boys' Brigade takes the organization back to its roots and the reason for its work, the Bible, teaching Christ’s Kingdom to Boys.

The moto ‘Sure and Stedfast’ is taken from Hebrews ch 6 v 19 ‘'Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast' (AV)

The Badge

The original badge was an anchor and rope with the words Sure on the top bar and Stedfast on the bottom.

Some years later the Boys’ Brigade amalgamated with the Boys’ Life Brigade and the red cross was added behind the anchor.

The Uniform

The Uniform of the Boys’ Brigade has changed over the one hundred years, to keep it relevant but to keep instilling a sense of self respect which can come from being properly turned out on parade in the correct uniform.

Up until the last uniform change around the turn of this century uniform would be marked on camp and at weekly meetings. Brasso on your white haversack would see points knocked off as would boot polish on your brass buckle. The points competitions were often fearlessly fought between squads.

Early uniforms were often based upon school uniforms, jacket, tie and trousers with dress shoes. A brown belt with brass buckle was added as was a white haversack and a Pill Box hat.

In the 1980s and 1990s the uniform moved away from this and away from jackets to white shirts, as many schools no longer required jackets.

Many companies adopted a blue shirt with epaulets for officers ranks. The full Company section uniform in the mid 90s could be daunting

Blue Shirt, White Lanyard under the right left shoulder attached to the left Breast pocket, haversack or sash (depending on rank) over your right shoulder, main armband with rank (lance corporal – staff sergeant) on your right arm and your achievement badges, your Presidents Badge and Queens Award on your left arm band. A brown leather belt with brass buckle and a Forage cap.

The uniform has now become more relaxed and is a series of smart pullover and various variations for different ranks and sections.

:"More Boys' Brigade - History"

Regions, Districts and Battalions

Each company is normally connected to a battalion comprising several nearby companies, which in turn are organised at a district and then national level, although in Scotland each company is attached to a local district, which is attached to a battalion.

The Boys' Brigade in the United Kingdom is divided into two regions and four districts;
* London
* North West district
* Northern Ireland region
* Scotland region
* Wales district
* West of England district
* North Yorkshire

ections in the BB

There are five different age groups, known as "sections", within the organisation:
* Anchors - P2 to P3
* Juniors - P4 to P6
* Company - P7 and S1 upwards
* Seniors - 15 to 19 years
* AMICUS - 15 to 22 years (Note, this section also admits girls)

In many companies the Company and Senior sections are run jointly.


Leaders are designated as Warrant Officers attaining the rank of Lieutenant only when having completed additional formal training in youth leadership. To avoid unnecessary leader hierarchy, all qualified officers are Lieutenants. The post of Captain of a company is a brevet rank with those in the position reverting to Lieutenant when they cease to be in the position; similarly other positions such as the company Adjutant (second to the captain) are considered appointments rather than substantive ranks.

Older boys can be promoted to be an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer). There are four levels of an NCO, each being awarded when a boy reaches a high enough standard of leadership. The four levels are Lance Corporal (minimum age 14), Corporal (minimum age 15), Sergeant (minimum age 16), and Staff Sergeant (minimum age 17). NCOs often play an important role in the Boys' Brigade, helping the officers and other adult helpers with organising activities and awards classes, particular in the Anchors and Juniors sections. Based on the rank insginia of the British Army at the time the Brigade was formed, NCOs to the rank of sergeant wear chevrons on their upper right arm, and staff sergeants wear four chevrons on the lower sleeve, pointing down.

Notable Members

* Sir Alex Ferguson
* Alex McLeish
* Ally McCoist
* Sir Cliff Richard
* Kenny Dalglish
* Tam Cowan
* The Proclaimers
* Jonathan Ross
* Davy Moyes

See also

* Boys' Brigade
* Girls' Brigade

External links

* [ The Boys Brigade UK]
* [ UK Discussion Forums]
* [ Felden Lodge, Hertfordshire]
* [ The Boys' Brigade in Northern Ireland]

* [ Glasgow Battalion]
* [ Coleraine & District Battalion]
* [ West London battalion]
* [ Birmingham Battalion]
* [ Mid-Staffs & Sandwell Battalion]
* [ Inverclyde and District] Companies
* [ 1st Barnet, Boys Brigade]
* [ 130th Glasgow Company, The Boys' Brigade]
* [ 1st Knocknamuckley Boys Brigade]
* [ 1st Buckie Company] - Largest Boys Brigade company in the United Kingodm
* [ The Boys' Brigade 5th Scarborough]
* [ 167th Glasgow Company]
* [ 3rd/3rdA Chelmsford Company]
* [ 1st Hatfield Company]
* [ 1st Omagh Boys' Brigade]
* [ 1st Lye Company]
* [ 1st Richmond Company]
* [ 5th Livingston Company, The Boys' Brigade]
* [ 1st Haslington, Boys Brigade]
* [ 1st Acomb, Boys Brigade]
* 5th Lincoln Company (Currently No Website)
* [ 1st Kidderminster Company]
* [ 3rd Enfield Company]
* [ 14th West Bromwich Company]
* [ 12th Greenock Company] For More see the [ Boys Brigade Directory] .

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