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St John Ambulance 140th anniversary timeline Helping the nation save lives since 1877

This year we celebrate a remarkable 140 years of helping the nation save lives, through teaching people up and down the country vital first aid skills, so that whenever an emergency occurs they can be ready to save the day.

On the 10th July 1877, we were originally set up by the Venerable Order of St John as a voluntary organisation called the St John Ambulance Association. Our aim was to set up first aid training sessions across the country, particularly for workers in heavy industry where there was a great need to learn life saving skills. During the 19th century industrial workers rarely had access to medical help, since accidents in the workplace were frequent, death or disability from injuries was common.

Over the next 140 years our charitable work rapidly expanded. As well as providing first aid in local communities, our volunteers have also played their part in many major historical events, such as the world wars and more recently, the London Olympics. Keep an eye out online as we reveal more fascinating stories from our past throughout the year and celebrate our incredible achievements over the past 140 years.

How you can support us

With the continued support of all of our amazing volunteers, donors and dedicated team-members, together we can do more than just respond to emergencies – we can continue to create the next generation of life savers. Help support our work for future generations by making a donation online or find out more about becoming a volunteer.

Celebrate our 140th anniversary

Over the next year we’re encouraging all of you to host your own party or event within your local communities. To help you celebrate, we’ve created online party packs which are available to download for some instant, fun celebration ideas and decorations.

Celebrate our 140th anniversary at a museum family fun day

Join us at the Museum of the Order of St John to celebrate 140 years of first aid! From bear bandaging competitions and first aid demonstrations to crafts and stories from a World War II nurse, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into!

When: 12:30pm- 3:30pm on Wednesday 23 August
Where: Museum of the Order of St John, St John's Gate, St John's Lane, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4DA