Boys will be boys in Brigade

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The Boys’ Brigade was founded by William Alexander Smith, later Sir Wiliam, who put his idea of “a Brigade for Boys” into practice in a Glasgow Mission Sunday School in 1883, this saw the birth of the 1st Glasgow Boys’ Brigade Company.

The aims and objectives of the Boys’ Brigade have not changed since that first meeting almost 120 years ago.

These appear on all material published by the Boys’ Brigade Association, and to all those who are members and even those who were members in this week’s photograph all would be familiar with those aims and objectives.

If you have been associated with the Boys’ Brigade these words will be very familiar to you: The Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom among Boys, and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-Respect, and all that tends towards a true Christian Manliness.

William Smith’s first allies were his Y.M.C.A. friends James R. Hill and John B. Hill – both Sunday school teachers at the Mission.

The link between the three young men was firm, and throughout the summer of 1883 the trio, would get together to discuss the methods, organisation, rules and other details for their new venture

Then, one night when everything at last seemed settled, William Smith turned to the Hill brothers and said: “This is going to be a great thing; let us put it into God’s hands.”

Where upon the three young men committed the future Boys Brigade to God and asked his blessing on it.

The first two officers in the Boys‘ Brigade were the brothers James Robert and John Hill.

This is where the local connection to the founding of the Boy’s Brigade comes in – James Robert Hill went from being a Sunday school teacher to becoming a vicar.

In 1890 he was the curate at Brighouse Parish Church and then in 1897 was appointed the Vicar at St Matthews Church at Lightcliffe.

He remained at Lightcliffe until July 1903 when he resigned and died the following year.

Looking at this weeks featured photograph I can only name one person – back row 6th from the right who is Sydney Gill.

He saw military service in the Merchant Navy and then on his return to Civvy Street he was a reporter both for the Echo and later the Halifax Courier.

In 1952 he emigrated to South Africa.

But what happened to the Brighouse Boys’ Brigade, judging from the number members in this photograph it was certainly very popular.