Where we started
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.




First for Boys
You can also read more detail about the BB's history in "First for Boys", a book detailing the history of The Boys' Brigade. The book was prepared for the centenary in 1983. Read First for Boys online.




The Object
The object of the Boys‘ Brigade since its formation has been "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". These aims led the Boys' Brigade to become one of the founders of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS), which is an England-wide organisation working to support and promote the activities of charities and groups with a focus on the welfare of young people. The Boys' Brigade has remained a member of NCVYS since its creation in 1936. When writing the object Sir William Smith wrote down all of the important words in capital letters as to higlight them and as true of his century, when Glasgow was the heart of Queen Victorias' ever expanding empire, it was said that everything was either flown, carted, shipped or carried from there that was in the Industrial Revolution.




Motto
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'




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 the white haversack would see points knocked off as would boot polish on the belt's 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 with the simple addition of a brown belt with brass buckle and a white haversack and a Pill Box hat (a common cap in the British Army of the nineteenth century). The pocket functionality of the haversack later disappeared and dummy rifles used for drill and parade purposes were eliminated on the Brigades' amalgamation with the Boys' Life Brigade who objected to the symbolism of weapons.

Lord Baden Powell's interest in the organisation and the introduction of Scouting led to some units of Boys' Brigade scouts being formed in the early years with a similar uniform to that seen in early scouting but in blue.

In the nineteen sixties the uniform was updated with the replacement of the pill box with a forage cap and, with many schools no longer using a blazer in their uniform, from the early nineteen eighties the jacket was gradually dispensed of in facout of dark blue or white shirt variants with no jacket. Many companies adopted a blue shirt with epaulets for officers ranks.

A full Company section uniform for boys' from the eighties to mid nineties could be daunting: Blue Shirt, A brown leather belt with brass buckle and a Forage cap, White Lanyard under the left shoulder attached to the left Breast pocket, white haversack (red sash for colour sergeants or brown leather haversack and stick for staff sergeant) over the right shoulder, main armband with rank on the upper right arm (right cuff for Staff Sergeant) and achievement badges, on the left arm band.

The rank insignia for NCO's imitated that of the British Army with one to three downward pointing chevrons being used from Lance Corporal to Sergeant. The Four up-pointing chevrons on the lower right cuff for Staff Sergeants continued to imitate the insignia used by senior sergeants in the British Army up until the first world war. Trained officers (Lieutenants and Captains) wore a metal Boys Brigade anchor on each of their upper lapels (epalettes in shirt dress), and brown leather gloves. A captain's was distinguished by his cane carried under the right arm. Warrant Officers (adult leaders not having gone through the formal officer training) wore a metal badge in place of the anchor which featured the letters "BB" in a surrounding laurel.

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