Our History

JLGB goes back a long way and though we've changed with the world around us, the core ethos of what we do remains the same. Today we celebrate an amazing history of providing skills and opportunities to Jewish young people in safe and supportive environments since 1895!

Find your local group



Colonel Albert E. W. Goldsmid MVO, the highest ranking Jewish officer of the 19th century, founds the Jewish Lads' Brigade to help young Jewish immigrants in the East End. The inaugural meeting takes place at JFS on 16 Feb 1895 with 120 boys.

1897 - 98

With the JLB growing in London, the first groups form across the country, in Liverpool, Manchester, Hull and Cardiff, and even further afield, including the creation of groups in Montreal, Johannesburg and even in Manhattan.


Camperdown House, a purpose-built headquarters for the JLB, is opened in Aldgate in the heart of the Jewish East End, by Viscount Milner. It is managed by the Camperdown House Trust, who still play a pivotal role in JLGB today.

1914 - 18

525 members of the JLB lose their lives during the First World War, accounting for almost one third of British Jews to die for their country throughout the conflict, and 80% of casualties amongst serving Jewish officers. 


The then Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, honours the Brigade with a visit to Camperdown House after presenting them with the Prince of Wales Boxing Shield at St James' Palace - which they win 12 times between 1921 and 1939!


15,000 mostly Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe pass through The Kitchener Camp in Kent, which is organised and run by three JLB leaders, teaching English and practical skills and providing a range of activities for 18 months.

1939 - 45

JLB officers and members volunteer to fight in the Second World War, with the press reporting that over 87 Officers, Warrant Officers and NCOs, and over 220 lads serve across the Army or Civil Defence Units. 


The JLB become one of the first participating organisations in the newly created Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, taking part in the pilot! Boys from Finchley Company earn the JLB's first Gold Awards in 1961.


Liverpool JLB opens its doors to girls for the first time, forming the Jewish Girls' Brigade. Young Jewish girls across the country join weekly groups, camps, competitions, take on leadership roles and reinvigorate the organisation.


JLB and JLG merge to become JLGB! The organisation continues to go from strength to strength with new mixed and Junior groups (aged 8-11) set up across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland!


With the sale of the original Camperdown House, the Camperdown House Trust purchase a new Headquarters at 3 Beechcroft Road, South Woodford, fondly named 'Camperdown' in memory of its more illustrious predecessor. 


JLGB celebrates its Centenary Anniversary with thousands in attendance at Wembley for a concert and ceremony!


The Lord Michael Levy, former accountant and the Chairman of the largest independent music label in the UK, is inaugurated as the President of the JLGB in a ceremony at Laurderdale Road Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue.


JLGB runs its first ever National Citizen Service (NCS) programme. Its faith-sensitive and inclusive programme wins two national awards!


JLGB is at the heart of 'Step Up To Serve', and takes the #iwill pledge to increase opportunities for young people to get involved in social action, in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace with HRH The Prince of Wales.


JLGB's evolve youth volunteering & skills initiative is launched by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis in a ceremony at Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall with HRH The Earl of Wessex as the guest of honour. 


In response to the COVID-19 lockdown, JLGB launches JLGB Virtual; streaming JLGB programmes and special guests including Craig David, Brent Spiner and Professor Lord Robert Winston, into the homes of millions around the world. 


In celebration of its 125th year, and in recognition of the organisation's successes, The former Prince of Wales agrees to become the patron of JLGB.

Your stories

Your Opportunities


Our funders