Figure 1.--Unlike the Scouts who have many different national uniforms, Boys' Brigade uniform are similar around the world.
The Boys Brigade originated in Scotland. It was the first uniformed youth orgaisation in the
world. Sir William
Alexander Smith founded the Boys Brigade on October 4, 1883 when he
formed a company of 35 Boys at Free
Church Mission Hall, North Woodside Road, Glasgow. William Smith,
a Sunday School teacher and an officer of the 1st
Lanark Rifle Volunteers devised a unique system of church activities for boys
based on religion and discipline.
Initially, 59 Boys joined, many out of curiosity but 35 of them stayed.
Smith introduced simple form of drill, gymnastics and games
proved very popular. The uniform for the first year was a rosette;
afterwards the forage cap and pillbox cap, haversack and belt were introduced. Their
activities were soon added and in 1886 the first Boys' Brigade camp
was held. It
was, in fact, the start of camping for young people. From one small
Scottish company, the Boys' Brigade has grown into a worldwide
organisation with companies in over 60 countries.
Following the success of The Boys' Brigade, other uniformed
organisations were started which were more secular in nature or
associated with other religions. The early Boys' Brigade was strongly
associated with the Church of Scotland and subsequent with the Church of England
as the movement spread to England. Other groups included:
Church Lads' Brigade (1890), Boys Life
Brigade (1899), The Jewish Lads' Brigade (1900), Catholic Boys'
Brigade (1900), Girls' Guildry (1900), Girls Life Brigade (1902), the
Boy Scouts (1908) and the Girl Guides (1910). All of these
orgaisations can trace the idea of uniformed youth back to 1883 and
Motto: Sure & Stedfast taken from Hebrews 6:19. The biblical spelling of
stedfast has been retained.
Emblem: The emblem was originally an anchor. Like the motto, it stems from
the verse "which hope we have as an anchor of the soul..."(Hebrews
6:19). With the union of The Boys' Brigade and The Boys' Life
Brigade in 1926, a red cross was added to the anchor.
The Boys' Brigade uniforms are much more standard around the world than Scout uniforms which have adopted uniforms incorporating various
Figure 2.--Boys' Brigade uniforms are blue campaign caps, blue shirts, and blue long or short pants. Some units, showing the Scottish influence, have pipe bands and wear kilts.
Boys' Brigade page of the The British Boys' Costume Galleries: Some excellent historical and modern photographs of Boys' Brigade Uniforms
: Details on uniforms worn by youth groups. Space limitations do not permit me to provide more information on the Boys' Brigade uniforms around the world or additional photographs of the uniforms. There is, however a great deal of additional information and many historical photographs on the expanded Historical Boys Uniform web site.
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