The Boys Brigade is founded
Long before Baden-Powell had the idea of founding the Scout Movement Scottish Sunday School teacher William Alexander Smith , a Glasgow businessman who was also a member of the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, created the Boys’ Brigade, which has the distinction of being the first youth organisation to adopt uniforms for its members.
The inaugural meeting took place at the hall of the Free Church Mission on Woodside Road in Glasgow. Smith set out the object of the organisation in very clear terms, and the promotion “of all that leads towards a true Christian manliness” remains the aim of the Brigade to this day.
At a time when organised sport was not so readily available for children other than those at public schools Smith’s initiative was a boon for the working and even middle class children who joined his group. Drill was included, but so were gymnastics, religious instruction, and soon camping during the summer when idle hands away from school might otherwise have been found work by the devil.
The Boys Brigade bloomed rapidly. By 1887 Smith was its full-time paid organiser; and such was its success and the approval of the establishment that he was knighted in 1909.
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