Any odd jobs? Then send for General Gordon’s boys

Gordon Boys' Brigade on the corner of  King Streetand Green Road in 1913 and, below, their headquarters in 1978 shortly before demolition
Gordon Boys' Brigade on the corner of King Streetand Green Road in 1913 and, below, their headquarters in 1978 shortly before demolition
The Smith and Vosper baker's delivery wagon in Portsmouth about the time of the First World War. It was this picture which brought back so many memories for reader Norman Hall.

Still warm from the Gosport bakery, I couldn’t resist eating the loaf

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In the second half of the 19th century many people, particularly influential Christians, were worried about the poor spiritual and physical development of young people.

The majority of youngsters, at that time, left school at 13 and usually went straight into work.

Gordon Boys' Brigade headquarters in King Street, Southsea, shortly before demolition in 1978 PPP-150129-154458001

Gordon Boys' Brigade headquarters in King Street, Southsea, shortly before demolition in 1978 PPP-150129-154458001

For the ‘lucky’ few, mostly boys, who attended public schools, religious education and ‘manly’ military training were part of the curriculum.

It was inevitable then, that social reformers would try to copy this worthy programme.

From about 1860 isolated Brigades were formed all over the UK, but the first to develop into a truly national organisation was The Boys’ Brigade, followed by The Gordon Boys’ Brigade and The Church Lads’ Brigade’.

The many different brigades, for boys and girls became known collectively as the Brigade Movement.

These pictures show the Portsmouth branch of the Gordon Boys’ Brigade.