Where: Woolwich, East London
Scale: Training available across the developed world
It is remarkable to consider that the concept of teaching first aid to the general public has a history of less than 140 years. The formation of St John Ambulance in 1877 led to, a year later, two Scottish military officers, Surgeon-Major Peter Shepherd and Colonel Francis Duncan, creating a civilian first aid curriculum and running then-unique classes out of the hall of a Presbyterian school in East London.
The classes proved to be both popular and hugely valuable; the national distribution of these skills amongst railway and mining communities actively saved lives in industries fraught with poor safety standards and lethal accidents. Through two World Wars, the St. John Ambulance played a vital role in caring for the wounded and training medics.
With the establishment of the NHS, it adapted, becoming a support structure for the new Ambulance Service. Throughout these crises and transformations, the St. John Ambulance has maintained its educational model, teaching around the country and across the world.
It was grown to build a popular youth movement with nearly 20,000 members, and remains the UK’s foremost first aid training provider, presently teaching 800,000 people a year.