Girls’ Brigade turns 120 and celebrates with Portsmouth museum display

Members of the Girls Brigade at an Girls Brigade exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13161-128)
Members of the Girls Brigade at an Girls Brigade exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13161-128)
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Picture: Malcolm Wells (150701-4775)

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A MUSEUM exhibition is just one of the ways the Girls’ Brigade is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

Dignitaries, leaders and representatives from local groups met at the Portsmouth City Museum to launch a display dedicated to the history of the group.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Frank Jonas, the Mayor of Havant Councillor Gerald Shimbart, the Mayor of Fareham Councillor Dennis Steadman and the Girls’ Brigade’s national director Ruth Gilson launched the year-long display of artefacts representing the Girls’ Brigade’s history.

The display includes badges, uniforms, trophies, sashes, hymn books and a video of members’ memories.

It even includes the Girls’ Brigade’s mascot, Fudge the Happy Dog.

Kristina Dear, 18, a young leader at 1st Fareham, said: ‘Girls’ Brigade is great fun.

‘You get to meet new people and make friends. It gives you lots of opportunities.

‘I even went to the Royal Wedding as I was chosen as a representative, which was absolutely brilliant.’

Abigail Patis, six, an explorer at 2nd Leigh Park, said: ‘It’s good because you’ve got “get mucky” where we do art and make things. We go camping too.’

Betty Arnold, from Fareham, has been involved with the Girls’ Brigade since 1960.

She said: ‘When I first started it was known as Girls’ Life Brigade.

‘It is lovely to see girls grow and become mothers themselves. I still get letters now from girls who have been to Girls’ Brigade.

‘They are all over the world, even Australia. Girls’ Brigade teaches so many, so much. It’s wonderful.’

Cllr Steadman said: ‘It’s lovely that organisations of this nature are still around.

‘They add to the variety that young people can do.’

Cllr Jonas said: ‘The display is a great way for the Girls’ Brigade to raise their profile.’

Portsmouth City Museum is on Museum Road and is open 10am until 5pm Tuesday to Sunday and is free to enter.

Solent District Girls’ Brigade has 11 groups in Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant, Waterlooville, Emsworth and Portchester. The brigade helps girls between the ages of four and 18, grow and develop in confidence and skills in a Christian environment.

To find out more about Girls’ Brigade go to or call 07775 506390 for details of your local group.