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.
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.