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BB History

BB History

"Mom... quick! I have a remarkable story to tell..." as the excited young Boy came rushing to the kitchen to find his mother. Indeed, who would ever say the 'story' of the Boys' Brigade is not remarkable. Just look at how it grew into a big family... spreading around the world. It is the world's first uniform organisation, even before the Scouts!

The Beginning...

It all began on the 4th of October 1883 by a teacher who was at that time, William Alexander Smith, in Glasgow, the land of the Scots. He served as a Lieutenant with the volunteers on Saturday afternoons. William Smith shared his ideas with his two friends, which later invited boys from North Woodside Mission Sabbath School and formed the first company of The Boys' Brigade, 1st Glasgow Company. Hmmnn... why let me spoil the whole story? You can find a more interesting and detail account of the how the Boys' Brigade evolved during its early years from the BBUK website.

The Founder

William Smith was born in Thurso, Scotland in 1854. He moved to Glasgow in his teens and became involved in church activities. As mentioned above, William Smith was a Lieutenant in the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers in 1883 while he was teaching in the North Woodside Mission Sunday School. He brought the idea and methods used in the volunteers across to his Sunday school boys and formed The Boys' Brigade.

William Smith was the first Brigade Secretary in 1887 where he worked towards spreading the Brigade across the world. In 1909, King Edward VII knighted William Smith for his contribution towards youth development. Five years later, Sir William Alexander Smith passed away. Throughout his lifetime, Sir William A. Smith poured out all that he has into BB and he is best remembered as the man who spells Boy with a capital 'B'. Read a little bit more detail about the founder and take a glimpse of some pictures here.

The object of the Boys' Brigade is...

...the advancement of Christ's Kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tend towards a true Christian manliness.

A Big Family

The Boys' Brigade organisation had spread around the world to over 60 countries where almost half of the strength is outside the United Kingdom. In 1963, at a meeting in Dundee, Scotland, the World Conference of the Boys' Brigade was formed. The World Conference is a family of Christian Youth Organizations, which grew out of the international work of The Boys' Brigade founded in Scotland in 1883. Find out more about the World Conference excerpt from the BB Handbook.