The St John Ambulance Brigade was formed in 1887, as a voluntary organisation offering free medical care. Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee saw the Brigade in action in public for the first time in 1887.
The end of the 1890s saw over 2000 St John Ambulance volunteers offer medical assistance during the South African Wars.
St John Ambulance volunteers performed their first duty for a major sporting event at the 1908 London Olympics, marking the beginning of a long-standing relationship between the charity and the sporting world.
The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw St John Ambulance join forces with the Red Cross to form the Joint War Committee, providing medical care for war casualties in hospitals in England and overseas.
In the 1920s, the St John Ambulance Cadets were formed for girls and boys aged 11 to 18, offering first aid training to those who were too young to join an adult division.
At the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, St John Ambulance volunteers provided first aid treatment to 9,000 members of the public.
During the Second World War, the Joint War Organisation once again came together, to provide voluntary first aid to the injured. In 1948, the formation of the NHS altered the role of St John Ambulance to one of support for local ambulance trusts in times of need.
St John Ambulance, the British Red Cross Society and St Andrew’s Ambulance Association published a First Aid Manual together in 1958. Now in its tenth edition, the guide gives step by step instructions on how to treat over one hundred medical conditions and injuries.
Beatlemania created a new type of casualty for St John Ambulance, as volunteers treated their first cases of hysteria in young women across the country.
The 1970s were a period of unrest, and St John Ambulance volunteers provided first aid to the injured in a number of dangerous situations such as riots.
New first aid regulations were introduced for the workplace and St John Ambulance has offered first aid at work training ever since. The Badgers programme for young children was introduced in 1987.
On 31 March 1990, central London saw the largest demonstration of the Poll Tax Riots, in Trafalgar Square. Volunteers provided first aid to 102 injured people, taking 46 to hospital for further treatment.
2005 saw St John Ambulance support the London Ambulance Service during the 7/7 bombings on London’s transport system, providing emergency transport and first aid where it was most needed.
In 2010, we launched initiatives including the First Aid Awards and Save a Life September to raise awareness of the importance of first aid.