Ancestry UK

St Vincent of Paul Shoeblack Brigade, Bloomsbury, London

St Vincent of Paul's Shoeblack Brigade was established in 1857 to provide employment for 50 Irish boys aged from 12 to 16. Around a dozen such enterprises were formed in London in the mid-nineteenth century, but St Vincent's was the only Roman Catholic one. The St Vincent boys plied their trade in the West End of London and wore a blue uniform with red cuffs and the initials S.V.P. on their arms.

The Brigade originally had its headquarters in Newton Street, Holborn, but was later based at 31 Queen Square, Bloomsbury. It is not clear whether the Brigade provided a residential home for its members.

The Brigade appears to have ceased operation by the 1880s.


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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.


  • None identified at present.