We are part of the world wide movement of The Boys’ Brigade which is the oldest uniformed organisation for Boys in the world. It was founded in Glasgow in 1883. We are a Christian Organisation in which all of our groups are part of the Church.
With Paisley being so close to Glasgow (just 10 km to the east) the message of the success of the movement spread rapidly, and the first groups, which are known as Companies, were formed in 1884. We have expanded greatly since the 1st Paisley, 1st Renfrew and 1st Beith Companies were formed. We now have 26 Companies in 14 communities in Renfrewshire and part of East Renfrewshire, an area of more than 250 square miles. In the movement Companies support each other administratively and in training and activities in the Battalion. Our Battalion was formed in November 1894, when there were eight Companies in Paisley. Other Companies were added until a peak number of 43 was reached in the late 1970’s.
From the very beginning the Battalion provided football leagues, first aid classes, training for it’s leaders, and a wide range of activities for Boys. This continues to this day. In recent years bugle, pipe and brass bands from the Battalion have been winners of national championships.
Our movement has members from the age of 5 until 18 and now most of the Boys are under 13 in marked contrast to the start when they were all aged 12 to 17. At present there are over 1400 Boy members, although the peak was almost 3000 in the mid 1970’s. The changes reflect the changes in the membership of the Churches to which Companies are attached.
Many of our former members will remember taking part in Battalion activities such as the Lifeboys’ (Boys from 8 to 11 years now known as the Junior Section) “Sportagama” – an annual musical stage show with a cast numbering up to 200 Boys.
Some of our Companies pioneered international exchange visits with our brother organisation in Denmark (FDF). One of these connections resulted in a formal twin town link between the Councils of Paisley and Gladsaxe which is in the northern suburbs of Copenhagen which continues to this day. Our international links continue in conjunction with The Girls’ Brigade, the Scouts and the Girl Guides in Gladsaxe (Denmark), Sutton (London), Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and Gagny (Paris).
Thousands of Boys and young men of this area have been members of our Companies and their fond memories of activities (especially the annual camp) has been evident during celebrations of both the Centenary of The Boys’ Brigade in 1983 and the Battalion in 1994.