William Smith had started as a a teacher in the Sabbath School which
was held in the mission hall, where he found that the older boys were bored and restless. They were suspicious of teachers
who told them to sit still, make less noise, and generally behave themselves - in short, they were typical teenagers! He compared
this with the time he spent on a Saturday afternoon, as a Lieutenant with the volunteers, when he had no difficulty in making
a hundred men obey his every word of command on the nearby drill ground.
It was then he had his idea: 'Drill and Discipline'. Why not turn
the Sabbath School boys into a volunteer band or brigade, with the same military order, obedience, discipline and self-respect
as the volunteers? A programme combining games as well as discipline, gymnastics and sport as well as hymns and prayers would
appeal to the boys. William Smith planned the programme for this new idea with two friends, and on the 4th October 1883 the
three leaders invited the boys of North Woodside Mission Sabbath School to join The Boys' Brigade.
The new organisation's badge was an anchor, and the motto 'Sure and Stedfast'. This was taken from the Authorised Version
of the Bible, from the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 6, verse 19: 'Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure
and stedfast'. The Object was also quite clear from the beginning:
"The advancement of Christ's Kingdom among Boys and the
promotion of habits of Reverence, Discipline, Self-Respect, and all that tends towards a true Christian Manliness."
(The word Obedience was added some ten years later).
For the first year the Boys only wore a Rosette as a badge, and the
officers wore the civilian bowler hat. The following year the Cap, Belt, and haversack were brought together as the first
complete uniform. The Pill-box in common use during these days had no chin-strap and fitted close to the head, but it had
two distinguished rows of white braid worn at a jaunty angle. Soon afterwards the proper pill-box was brought in and the officers
turned to the Glengarry for their headgear.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
William Smith was born on 27th October 1854 at Pennyland House, Thurso,
Scotland. At 15 he moved to Glasgow to work in his uncle's business. While there, he joined the volunteers and by 19 he had
become a Lance Corporal in the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers. The very same year he joined the church after hearing the
evangelists Moody & Sankey.
By 1883 William Smith had become a Lieutenant and was teaching in
the North Woodside Mission Sunday School. The boys in his Sunday School class were a challenge, and he was open to new ideas
about how best to deal with them. Someone suggested that the methods used in the volunteers might be appropriate, and by this
inspiration the Boys' Brigade was created.
William Smith took a leading role in the new organisation, accepting
a full-time post as the first Brigade Secretary in 1887. He worked non-stop for the movement, on two occasions even crossing
the Atlantic to promote the Boys' Brigade in Canada and the U.S.A. Throughout he remained Captain of the 1st Glasgow company,
rarely missing a meeting.In 1909 William Smith was knighted by King Edward VII for his service to boys. Sir William Smith
died on 10th May 1914 after being suddenly taken ill at a Boys' Brigade meeting in London. He was buried in Glasgow.
ABOUT THE GIRLS BRIGADE
A Brief History of The Girls' Brigade
The Girls' Brigade was formed in July 1965 by the
coming together of the following three organisations.
The Girls' Brigade (Ireland) was formed
in Dublin in 1893 on twin pillars, Bible Class and Physical Training, and had as its aim "The extension of Christ's Kingdom
among girls". Membership at the time of union was 8,000.
The Girls' Guildry was a church-centred organisation,
founded in Scotland in 1900, providing programmes for four age groups. Its varied activities were aimed at helping girls to
become mature Christian women. The movement was interdenominational and international, with a strong emphasis on service to
others. Membership at the time of union was 35,000.
The Girls' Life Brigade which was founded
in England in 1902 by the National Sunday School Union (now known as the National Christian Education Council) was a church-based
international movement, with a varied programme for four age groups. Its aim was "To help and encourage girls to become responsible,
self-reliant, useful Christian women". International membership at the time of union was 120,000.
All these movements
were designed to provide week-day activities for members of Sunday Schools and Churches and an opportunity to develop mind,
body and spirit in preparation for a life of useful Christian service and witness. Methods have been adapted over the years,
and the union of three organisations in The Girls' Brigade can be seen as a strengthening of purpose in the face of the challenge
of the present day.
Overseas, the wide membership of the Brigade includes
many races, with a variety of language and dialect. In 1923, the first overseas Company had been registered in Jamaica. Today,
the Brigade is operating in over fifty countries and islands throughout the world. It also has affiliation with church youth
work in Europe. Programmes of work have to be modified and in some cases extensively amended to suit differing environments.
The varying climatic conditions have led to the adaptation of the official uniform in different countries. Nevertheless, the
supreme aim, adhered to throughout the wholemovement, is to help girls to find true enrichment of life.
The steps towards Union. As early as 1928 The Girls'
Life Brigade had approached The Girls' Brigade of Ireland asking if representatives of their governing body would be willing
to meet representatives of The Girls' Life Brigade to consider the possibility of a union of the two organisations.
Seek, serve and Follow Christ.
The aim of the Girls’ Brigade
is; To help girls to become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and through self control, reverence and a sense of
responsibility to find true enrichment of life.
In the centre a Cross,
the symbol of Christ and his church. Below it a Lamp, that our glory may shine out upon the world. Above it a Crown,
that we may own Christ as our King. Behind it all a Torch, the flame of Christ’s living Spirit and our devotion
Brigade member will do her best to be loyal to Company and Church, to be honest, truthful, kind and helpful; and to remember
The Girls’ Brigade Motto, “Seek, serve and follow Christ.
I promise to do my best to keep The Girls' Brigade Law