In 1893, a young Curate the Rev. A. L. Bickerstaff MA, came from Nottingham, where he had founded the 12th Company in 1892, to Chapel Ash. Nottingham’s loss was very much our gain because he then formed the 1st Wolverhampton Company at St Mark’s. This remarkable man ran the company as Captain, as well as carrying out his normal clerical duties. He had a hand in the formation of many of the founding companies of the Battalion.
In 1904, the original 1st, 2nd & 3rd Wolverhampton companies along with the newly formed 4th, and the three Bilston companies, joined with the Darlaston, Bradley and Tipton companies to form the Wolverhampton Battalion.
“To embrace the area within a radius of five miles from the centre of Wolverhampton…”
Darlaston, Bradley and Tipton changed their designation to become 5th, 6th & 7th Wolverhampton with the three Bilston Coys becoming the 8th, 9th & 10th Wolverhampton. Rev. Bickerstaff had become Captain of the 10th Coy (St Mary, Bilston) at the time of the formation of the Battalion.
The original Companies which formed the Battalion in 1904:
1st St Mark's, Chapel Ash 1897
2nd Presbyterian Church, Chapel Ash 1897
3rd Tettenhall Parish Church 1900
4th Snow Hill Congregational 1903
5th All Saints, Darlaston 1898 (Originally 1st Darlaston Coy)
6th St Martin's Bradley 1899 (Originally 1st Bradley Coy)
7th St Matthew Tipton 1900 (Originally 1st Tipton Coy)
8th Wesleyan Church, Bilston 1903 (Originally 1st Bilston)
9th St Leonard's Bilston 1903 (Originally 2nd Bilston)
10th St. Mary's Bilston 1903 (Originally 3rd Bilston)
The Battalion in 1950:
1st St Mark's Chapel Ash
3rd Low Hill Methodist 1940
4th Ebenezer Baptist, Coseley
5th Little London Baptist, Willenhall
6th St. Batholomew's, Penn 1913
7th Masefield Road Congregational
8th Ettingshall Methodist
9th Wood Street Baptist, Bilston 1936
12th Bethel Methodist
16th Tabernacle Baptist 1927
17th Stafford Street Congregational
19th Bradley Methodist 1928
23rd Gospel Oak Methodist
The Battalion in 1983:
1st Cheslyn Hay, Salem Methodist, 1970 (Part of Battalion since 1976)
3rd Low Hill Methodist
4th Short Heath Methodist 1959
5th Hurst Hill Methodist 1979
6th St Bartholomew's, Penn
9th Bilston Baptist
10th Lanesfield Methodist 1963
11th Darkhouse Baptist 1952
12th St Andrew's Free Church, Bentley
15th Portobello Methodist 1962
16th Dunstall Road Baptist
18th Fordhouses Baptist 1950
19th Bradley Methodist
20th Lane Head Methodist
21st New Invention Methodist 1964
In 1900 there were only two BB Companies in Shropshire, the 1st Wellington -Wesleyan Methodist , and the 1st Shrewsbury – St Nicholas Pres. Church of England.
By 1950 the number of companies had increased, but a Battalion had not yet been formed.
1st Dawley High St. Methodist
1st Madeley Baptist
1st Oswestry Oswald Rd Presbyterian (1st Oakengates had existed between 1926 - 1946)
2nd Oakengates Congregational (1947)
1st Wellington All Saints Parish
Eventually, with a number of new companies being formed an ’embryo’ Battalion was formed around 1960, known as the ‘Wrekin Group’ comprising 1st Dawley, 2nd Oakengates & 1st Wellington. Within two years the 1st Shrewsbury joined and the 2nd Shrewsbury was formed. With the formation of a sixth company, the 3rd Shrewsbury, a Battalion was formed.
However, in August 1996, with only three companies remaining; 2nd Oakengates, 1st Wellington & 2nd Shrewsbury, the Battalion merged with the Wolverhampton Battalion. Since 1999, three new companies have been formed in Shropshire, in the New Town of Telford, 1st Ketley (2000), 1st Madeley (2006), 1st Dawley (2007).
Today the WOLVERHAMPTON BATTALION is made up of fourteen companies, and is, in fact ‘The BB in Wolverhampton and Shropshire’
Rob. Bolton B.Ed. Battalion President
With acknowledgements to Mr A. K. Timmis MBE, JP Hon. Battalion President & the booklet ‘The Boys’ Brigade 100 years Ahead!’ published by the Battalion in 1983. Also thanks to Mr Derek Whittingham. This history will be updated as new information is available
This is our unique “re-enactment” company, based at the Boys’ Brigade Headquarters in the Blists Hill Victorian Town, part of the Ironbridge Gorge world heritage site. The BB company is datelined for the year 1900 and has now been operating for ten years.
It provides the opportunity for BB boys in the Battalion (& outside) to dress up in Victorian BB uniform and act out a short time as BB bots from more than 100 years ago. The BB Captain is Mr Rob Bolton, our Battalion president.
The Blists Hill town provides a wonderful stage and backdrop for performance of Drill, Band, etc. The inside of the BB hut has a selection of historic BB items including a framed copy of the “Object of the BB” actually printed in the town. Living History!
Usually boys from school years 5 to 8 are the most appropriate age, but older boys can take part. A Girls’ Guildry company also exists.
Events include the annual Founder’s Day Parade in October.
Contact Mr R Bolton for more info on this unique facility.