We are exceptionally proud to be the home of the first Boys’ Brigade Company in Ireland, founded by Mr William McVicker in 1888. Mr McVicker remained captain of the 1st Belfast for more than 36 years, until his death in 1925. Despite partial blindness for 20 years, with periods of total blindness and severe illness, he remained an active officer until the end. He lived up to the motto “Sure and Steadfast”.
On Sunday, 29th October, 1933 the Battalion Colour was handed over to St Mary Magdalene.
During the 1980s, partially due to the Troubles and the reduction in parish numbers owing to people moving away from the Pass, the 1st Company of the Boys’ Brigade was transferred to St Columba’s Parish, Knock where it was staffed by former members of the Magdalene. The Charlotte Street Hall, birth-place of the company, was demolished to make way for new housing.
In 1997 the 1st was returned to its rightful home, under the leadership of Bill McMillan and his staff who up until the Covid pandemic kept the company alive and kicking during very difficult times. Sadly, The Boys’ Brigade has not been able to restart but we are hopeful as normality returns to us all that the “1st Irish” will be up and running once more.