The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement started in 1863, inspired by a Swiss businessman, Henry Dunant.
Following the outbreak of war in August 1914 the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John formed the Joint War Committee.
In May 1919, the League of Red Cross Societies was formed and extended the role of national Red Cross societies to work in times of peace.
When war was declared in September 1939, the British Red Cross and the Order of St John joined forces and formed the Joint War Organisation.
Find out more about our work in a changing world since 1945.
The British Red Cross museum and archives contain a fascinating portrait of our humanitarian work, from our beginnings in 1870 to today.