Girls' Life Brigade company sat in rows outside with GLB banner and certificates - black and white photo

Our history

Girls' Brigade Ministries is part of a global family, founded over 100 years ago.

Imagine nineteenth-century Ireland and two pioneering women sitting on a bench chatting and wondering how they could answer the needs of girls in their community.

Ok, the two women may not have actually existed but in this era – a time when women didn’t have the vote and when girls were given no formal education – the radical ministry that has become Girls’ Brigade was born.

The Girls’ Brigade (Ireland) was set up in Dublin in 1893 and in July 1965 merged with The Girls’ Guildry (founded in Scotland in 1900) and The Girls’ Life Brigade (founded in England in 1902) to form The Girls’ Brigade.

All organisations set out to offer significant opportunities for girls and young women, as well as giving them Christian teaching, and GB has continued to do so ever since.

Girl's dancing Irish history

Ireland 1893

Rooted in the Gospel, Miss Margaret Lyttle started a girls’ club in Sandymount Presbyterian Church in Dublin in 1893.

Starting with just a regular warm-up PE session for the girls during Sunday school, the girls-only group soon become a formally recognised group with a constitution and uniform called The Girls’ Brigade Ireland.

Their motto – ‘The establishment of Christ’s kingdom amongst girls’.

Girls' Life Brigade young women working and watching neddlecraft

Scotland 1900

By the start of the new century, the women of Glasgow went on to establish, The Girls’ Guildry in 1900 for the girls and young women of Scotland.

Their motto – ‘Helping girls to become mature Christian women’.

Girls' Guildry young girls sat in circle listening to leader teach

England 1902 

Soon England had established The Girls’ Life Brigade. Girls’ Life Brigade offered time outside of Sunday School for girls to discover how God fitted into their lives and become responsible, self-reliant Christian women.

Girls' Life Brigade company sat in rows outside with GLB banner and certificates - black and white photo

The Girls' Brigade 1965

On 10 June 1965 The Girls’ Brigade Ireland, The Girls’ Guildry and The Girls’ Life Brigade joined together to create one international organisation – The Girls’ Brigade.

This date is now known as the International Day of Prayer – and GB members around the world pray for girls, young women and the continuing ministry of Girls’ Brigade.

A large group of Girls' Brigade volunteers, girls and young people gathered in front of trees

Girls' Brigade today

Today Girls’ Brigade Ministries, the operating name of Girls’ Brigade England & Wales, is part of a global family. Worldwide there are over 3,000 GB groups and over 126,000 members.

GB is active in 5 fellowships (areas):

  1. Africa
  2. Asia
  3. Caribbean & Americas
  4. Europe
  5. Pacific.

Every country is united by its motto to help girls and young women Seek, Serve and Follow Christ.

Learn more

Girls' Brigade volunteers chatting at conference

Governance

Learn more about our charity governance and trustees, as well as links to important governance documents such as safeguarding.

Governance