Boys' Brigade Uniforms: Founding Concepts

Figure 1.--.

Sir William Smith had a very different attitude on how the church should work with boys than was commonly accepted at the time. The focus was laways, however, on the church. The Boy Scouts would eventually pick up on many of Smith's ideas, but without such a strong religious and military focus.

Sir William Smith, the Boys' Brigade founder was a very practical, commonsense man. He had little time, for instance, for boys singing hymns which were appealing to dedicated church ladies--but were ludicrously unreal to boys. Lead, Kindly Light was a beutiful fine hymn, but surely not very well suited for the Boys Brigade. How could he associate the boys that he knew them with ecstatic hailing of angel faces which they had loved long since and lost awhile?

Smith reasoned that "A Boy who sticks a pin into another boy gives promise of being a finer man than he who sings demurely, 'I want to be an angel'. Nor was Smith happy with zealous Officers who thought of Camp as a special opportunity to work on the Boys' feelings and convert them to a particular brand of religion. Camp for Smith was for health and enjoyment. Officers should do their work thoroughly, earnestly and devotedly, and leave the issue in God's hands. He insisted that Officers and Boys should share in all the adventure, weather, sports, hardships and fun of Camp, and that they must be together at meals. "If a dinner does not turn out a culinary success, Officers should not immediately dine at the nearest hotel."

Rules are rules, and in the B.B. they are made after careful discussion and often a plebiscite of the whole Movement. So The Brigade must be loyal to them.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 24, 2000
Last updated: June 24, 2000