Centenary celebrations for Boys Brigade Hall

Mid Suffolk Boys Brigade are celebrating 100 years at its base on Combs Lane, Stowmarket.
Mid Suffolk Boys Brigade are celebrating 100 years at its base on Combs Lane, Stowmarket.
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Stowmarket Boys Brigade celebrated 100 years of meeting in its own hall at the weekend and reunited some of its former members.

The 1st Mid Suffolk Stowmarket Boys Brigade and Girls Association started life in 1891 in a loft above stables at The Manse of the then congregational church in Ipswich Street.

The hall in Combs Lane was bought by the brigade’s first captain, Thomas Harwood, in 1904 who converted the building into a gym hall and gymnasium and it was officially opened on November 20 1912 by the founder of the movement William Alexander Smith.

It is the only boys brigade group in the UK to own its own hall.

On Saturday around 100 people visited the hall where there were displays of photographs and memorabilia recordingthe centenary.

The brigade has 45 members and offers activities for three age groups on Wednesdays. It also has its own band which was set up in 1991 to celebrate 100 years of the local organisation. This leads parades including Stowmarket Carnival, the St George’s Day Parade and Remembrance Day in Stowmarklet and Hadleigh.

Among the visitors on Saturday was Frank Green from Kesgrave who was reunited with two friends not having seen them for 60 years.

Former member Steve Williams is now hoping to write a book about the organisation and anyone with memories should contact 01449 736185