1977 – Anchor Boys
From the mid 1950’s the amount of BB Companies providing activities for the 3-8 year olds was increasing and at Brigade Council in 1974, the Brigade Executive duly reported that 690 B.B. Companies had pre-Junior Section groups in their Churches. The Brigade had conducted studies and produced reports in the late 1960’s, but had chosen to advise against work with this age group as it was “that this would have a detrimental effect on the work of the Company and Senior Sections. It is thought that Boys who are recruited into the Brigade at six years of age would be likely to leave correspondingly earlier.” It was further felt that, “This could have the effect of older Boys not wishing to be associated with a predominantly ‘little Boys” organisation, and consequently leaving.
In January, 1976, with the possibility of under-eight activity being started in The Scout Association, the Executive set up another Working Party to advise them again on the implications of extending pre-junior work to England, Wales and Scotland. The Working Party recommended “that there is a need for a national B.B. organisation for Boys under 8 years of age, and the Brigade Executive are invited to consider favourably this recommendation”.
Following a decision taken at Brigade Council last year in 1976, the new BB Pre-Junior Section become operative from 1st September 1977, with all Companies already operating pre-junior organisations encouraged to enrol their sections with BB Headquarters.
The age range was defined as: “From sixth birthday to the end of the Session in which the Boy reaches eight years of age.” With the Boys uniform defined as: “ The Boys’ uniform consists of a red jersey with BB cloth badge (No. 5 badge in Catalogue) sewn on and grey trousers. No hat is to be worn.”
It was felt that “there will be no Award Scheme in the Pre-Junior Section, and it is important that no special features of the Junior Section programme are adopted, e.g.. The Achievement Scheme.” The early Pre-Anchor handbooks focused on games and craft activities, however this started to become more structured and just after the new millennium, a set of three small triangle badges were available to Anchors to earn. Anchors well also allowed to wear on their uniform a service badge as well as special events and activities badges such as the ‘Get up and Go’ badge.
By 1982, the term ‘pre-junior’, and any local names discouraged, and the title ‘Anchor Boys’ adopted. With the adoption of the Girls Association in 2009, the name was no longer suitable, around about the same time, the rebranding which The Boys’ Brigade adopted changed the title to Anchors.