Robin Bolton was born on Palm Sunday, 10 April, 1949 to Ray and Doris Bolton in Walsall. 

Rob Bolton’s’ BB journey started at the age of eight when he joined the ‘Life Boys’ in 1957 as part of the 57th Birmingham Company BB. This would be the start of serving as Boy and Officer in the Company for nearly 30 years and a life time involvement in The Boys’ Brigade. He ran a large BB/GB marching band in the ‘70s and ‘80s founding the BB National Band Contest in 1976.

Rob remained very active in the brigade world, and his love of youth history resulted in the publication of many books on subject, the amassing of a huge collection of badges and uniforms, as well as being a Trustee for The Boys’ Brigade Archive Trust. In 2009, he founded the first ‘BB Re-enactment’ Company, the 1st Blists Hill (Ironbridge) Coy., datelined as 1901, which gives modern BB and GB members a taste of what brigade life was like at the end of the Victorian age. Rob was part of the team which were instrumental in creating and maintaining the BB Memorial Garden at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Robs’ involvement with bands was well known, and this was reflected in his weekly commitment to the 10th Wolverhampton Company where he ran a BB/GB American Style marching Band, and was Wolverhampton Battalion President from 2006-2022. Rob was also a participating member of the Bugles and Drums of the Stedfast Association, as a Bugler; and as band President for a number of years.

Rob has had an involvement with the Church Lads’ & Church Girls’ Brigade since 1976 and was Chair of the CLCGB Historical Group and National Brigade Archivist. The importance he attached to being a part of both Brigades was shown by the number plate on his car: “B13 CLB” spaced to look like “BB CLB”.

The author of a number of books and papers/articles on the brigade movement, his works include: ‘Boys of the Brigade’ Vols 1 & 2, (1991 & 1993) ‘Badges of the Brigade’ Vol. 1 – The BB (2000), ‘Forward’ a history of the Birmingham Battalion of the BB (2002), ‘Wilder than Panthers’, the brigade movement before 1883,(2009) ‘Boys of the Brigade- At War’ the Brigades in WW1 & WW2, (2016) ‘Walter Mallock Gee’ the biography of the founder of the Church Lads’ Brigade (2020).

His faith was an important part of his life and nothing distracted him from his mission that he gave everything right to the end. 



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Heritage is the newsletter of The Boys’ Brigade Archives. Volumns 1 and 2 were published in print form by the BB Archive Members Association. Volumn 3 onwards is a digital newsletter sent to supporters of the BB Archives monthly.


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