Glasgow Boys Brigade
Old photograph of the 1st
Glasgow Company, Boys' Brigade taken 9th April 1885.
Kindly sent to me June
2013, Jim Vallance, Ayr.
|Following its formation as conceived by William Smith, the
first muster of The Boys' Brigade took place in the Woodside Mission Hall of the
Free College Church on the 4th of October 1883. Twenty eight boys paraded under
their Captain and his two Lieutenants the brothers Hill. Despite doubters, its
success soared, Smiths courage and divine gleam proved to be on the right
Early in 1885 with five companies building rapidly, the founder realised the
need for greater organisation and for a clearly defined constitution to meet the
possibilities of the Boys Brigade becoming a national movement. And so, at his
home at 4 Ann Street on 26 Jan 1885, the historic meeting was called which
constituted itself into the Council of The Boys Brigade.
Present with the founder were J.R. Hill, J.B. Hill, J.S. Couper, J.B. Couper,
F.P.R. Ferguson, E.W. Hamlen, and W. Nichol. Sir William Smith (knighted in
1909) had a heritage of upright living, firmly disciplined by exemplary military
service. His father was an officer in the 7th Dragoon Guards.
Since coming as a boy from Thurso to to stay with his Fraser uncle and aunts at
28 Hamilton Park Terrace, William Smith always had his Glasgow home in Hillhead.
On 7th May 1914 while in his sixtieth year , he attended a great display by The
Boys Brigade in The Albert Hall. The following day he collapsed in his London
office and died of a cerebral hemorrhage two days later.
On the 30th April 1971 the official world membership of the Boys Brigade
amounted to 255,495.
1st Glasgow Boys Brigade Company taken in 1913 in
Kelvingrove Park outside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery
with BB founder Sir William Smith in the photograph.
One early innovation was to hold a camp - at the time, public opinion was
aghast at the idea of Boys camping out in the "wilds"! The first camp
by the 1st Glasgow company was held in a building at Tighnabruach on the Kyles
of Bute in 1886.
Camping spread rapidly and camping under canvas soon became the normal order of
the day. Often camping became looked to as the crowning of the company's year.