The Girls' Brigade was formed in July 1965 by the union of 3 organisations:
The Girls' Brigade
(formed in Ireland in 1893)
The Girls' Guildry
(formed in Scotland in 1900)
The Girls' Life Brigade
(formed in England in 1902)
All 3 organisations were designed to provide weekday activities for members of Sunday Schools and Churches. As these 3 organisations grew and developed they extended into many countries around the world.
In 1964, the 3 organisations merged to form the Girls' Brigade as we know it today, now operating in 52 countries and islands around the world.
Click here to view a timeline of GB History.
Miss Margaret Lytle formed The Girls' Brigade in Sandymount, Ireland in 1893, with the aim of 'the extension of Christ's Kingdom among girls'. The Girls' Guildry was formed in Scotland in 1900 with the aim of helping girls to become mature Christian women and the Girls' Life Brigade was formed in England with the motto 'to save life' and the aim 'to help girls become responsible, self-reliant Christian women'.
All three organisations developed into uniformed organisations with programmes designed to meet the needs of girls and young women at that time. Over the course of the next 60 years, the three organisations developed and adapted, meeting the needs of the changing cultures around them. They all saw much growth including, in 1923, the opening of the first overseas groups in Jamaica. Work also developed in Capetown, South Africa, Riga and Latvia (all in 1925) and then gradually work spread to the 52 countries GB serves today.
Over the years there were many conversations between the three organizations, but probably the most crucial and historic decision was the one made in 1964 when the three groups agreed to amalgamate. As a result of this amalgamation the inaugural meeting of The Brigade International Council, was held on 10th June 1968, attended by 19 countries. The meeting appointed Miss Joan Chenhalls MBE as the first International President. At this time two committees were established to oversee the developing work in the Atlantic and Pacific areas of the world. From this time on The International Council met every five years in different locations, around the world.
In 1993 the international Girls' Brigade family celebrated its centenary with celebrations around the world. This culminated with the 6th Brigade International Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The next Brigade International Conference in 1998, held in Brisbane, Australia saw a reorganisation of the international structure. As a result of this meeting the Atlantic and Pacific committees ceased to exist and were replaced with 5 fellowships: Africa, Asia, Caribbean & Americas, Europe and Pacific. Each Fellowship is responsible for the development and administration of GB in its own geographical area. Representatives from each fellowship, together with the International President and Treasurer form The International Presidents Committee, who have the responsibility of the work of The Girls' Brigade International. International council meetings are held every four years.
Worldwide there is now over 3,000 GB companies with over 126,000 girls and young women meeting and discovering Jesus week by week through the work of The Girls' Brigade.
Past Presidents of Girls’ Brigade Northern Ireland
2009-2012 - Mrs Margaret Ming, St Andrew's Presbyterian, Bangor
2006-2009 - Mrs Morva Brown, Hamilton Road Presbyterian, Bangor
2002-2006 - Miss Pearl Hassard MBE, Trinity Presbyterian, Bangor
1999-2002 - Mrs Laura Greenaway, Banbridge Methodist
1995-1998 - Miss Annetta Smyth MBE, Joymount Presbyterian, Carrickfergus
1992-1995 - Miss Isabel Rowley, Carnmoney Presbyterian