Salvation Army (1888-92)

Collated by Ed Grimsdale, with additional information provided by Norman Saving and the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre

Modern photo of 33-35 Sheep StreetWinslow seems briefly to have had a Salvation Army corps in 1883-4.  The Salvation Soldier's Pocket Book for 1884  gives a list of all corps then in existence with their anniversary dates: a Winslow corps is listed as corps number 456, its anniversary being 9 Sep [1883]. However, Winslow is not present in the corresponding list in the 1885 Pocket Book. In 1888 there was another, more successful attempt to establish a corps. The barracks were at what is now 33-35 Sheep Street. The premises were rebuilt for the purpose, with a meeting room and house for a superintendent. In the 1891 census these were noted by the enumerator as an "unoccupied house" and a "building".

Pupils outside Mr Ray's school Buckingham Advertiser, 3 Dec 1887
We understand that the Salvation Army has at length procured a lodgment in Winslow, having taken the large room occupied by Mr. Ray as a school, in Sheep Street.

Bucks Herald, 21 April 1888
On Sunday [15 April] the opening services of a newly-erected barracks, situate in Sheep-street, and seating about 200 people, were held by the Army. A brass band, composed of contingents from Fenny Stratford and Buckingham, paraded the town morning and afternoon. At the latter service there was a crowded attendance (notwithstanding that a charge was made for admission). "Adjutant Mitchell" conducted the service, and there was a dedication of the "citadel", and also of seven Hallelujah Lasses to the work. There was an evening service that was also numerously attended.

The War Cry, 28 April 1888
WINSLOW is a small town of two thousand inhabitants, some five miles from Buckingham, the county town.  Hitherto it has been untouched by The Salvation Army, and the utmost excitement prevailed when the opening was announced.  The first attack was made on Saturday night, April 15th, but only a few would venture inside the barracks.  On Sunday, we were reinforced by part of the Buckingham Band and several soldiers from Fenny Stratford.  All these gave splendid testimonies to the saving power of God.  One man had often been to Winslow and been seen drunk, and on one occasion HE LAUGHED IN CHURCH and got summoned for it.  Now his heart is changed, also his home, and he desires that all his children may grow up to be officers in The Salvation Army.  Adjutant Mitchell dedicated the cadets (seven lasses) and the two officers, Capt. Hudson (late of the Cellar, Gutter and Garret Work, London) and Lieut. Theobald.
         He also explained how the depot would be worked and predicted a mighty revival in Winslow.  Each of the lasses said a few words, saying what town they came from.  The afternoon meeting was brought to a close by the adjutant dedicating the barracks to the service of God and the salvation of souls.
         The building was full at night, and we felt the power of God from the commencement.  One or two ex-drunkards spoke, followed by Lieut. Bulman (of Oxford District Staff) and Capt. Hudson.  Adjutant Mitchell gave the invitation, and one man rushed out at once to the penitent-form.  Everybody rose to their feet TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.  We had a real old-fashioned prayer meeting, and another man came out for mercy.  In a proper hallelujah wind-up many testimonies were given by the soldiers from surrounding corps.  We believe victory is sure, for God is with us and he shall conquer.

Herbert BoothNow that there was a citadel in place, it was time to drum support, including a visit from Herbert Booth (right) (1862-1926), son of the Army's founder General William Booth. From the Bucks Herald, 7 July 1888:

WINSLOW. THE SALVATION ARMY – The visit of the Salvation Army "Life guards" to this town on Thursday, 28th June, cause quite a commotion among the inhabitants. From the time the advance wagon called the "Rescue" put in its appearance until the general body arrived, about one, people were on the look-out, and quite a crowd turned out to receive them. Their appearance was generally admired, and the excellent plying of the band was much appreciated but the grotesque looks of the Chinaman on horseback, in front of the procession, caused great laughter. Among the "Iron-horse Artillery" – or in other words, tricyclists - at the head, was Mr W.H. French, of Winslow.  Preparations had been made at the barracks for their reception, including a good dinner, one of the items on the menu being, we understand, 50 meat pies contributed by the Winslow friends. A public tea was held in the afternoon, at which the attendance, exclusive of the 150 "Life Guards" was about 130. In the evening the town was thronged with people from the villages of Granborough and North Marston being present in large numbers. A preliminary meeting was held on the Market Square, and from thence a procession was made to the Centenary Hall, which was lent by the Baptist Deacons. Although a charge varying from 6d. to 1d.  was made for admission, the building was quite full, and as a consequence an overflow meeting was held on the Square. Among those present were Rev. J.S. Poulton, Messrs Fulks, Parratt, Benbow  and other leading Non-conformists.

"Commandant" Herbert Booth was the leader of the meeting, and it was admitted by all who heard him that he spoke extremely well. Among other things he bore testimony that nowhere on their journey had they been treated with more kindness than at Winslow.  He was supported by "Major" McKie and "Staff-captain" Complin and a very lively meeting was held from 7.30 to 10, when the band played up to the barracks again. By the kindness of the pastor and deacons, a number of the "Guards" passed the night at the Centenary Hall.

Quadrant tricycleMr French, ironmonger and well-known Liberal, may have been riding one of these tricycles. The 1880s were a time of quick expansion for the Salvation Army movement as it spread its gospel relentlessly across the country using colourful, dramatic and noisy methods that didn’t always meet with local favour. The Bucks Herald recorded in May1888 that in Winslow:

THE SALVATION ARMY in this place is far from meeting with the opposition it has experienced in some towns, and its services well attended, particularly on Sunday. Mr. C.[harles] Osborn, of Winslow [a confectioner,  canary fancier, dance M.C. and Odd Fellow] has presented an eight-day bracket clock for use in their hall.

The Northampton Mercury (8 Dec 1888) revealed in a piece about the completion of the Rushden Salvation Army Barracks that Lieutenant Hodgson had moved from Rushden to a new position at Winslow. Within the year the Salvation Army of Winslow had joined in spreading the gospel, as the Bucks Herald report of Winslow Petty Sessions held on 13 March 1889 revealed:

George Ward of Great Horwood was charged with assaulting Joseph Saving of Winslow, a member of the Salvation Army. He’d gone to Great Horwood with the Army and there were disturbances during which Ward struck Saving in his eye. Saving’s statement was corroborated both by his black eye and statements from fellow Salvationists: Frederick Foskett & Chas. Clark.  The defendant, Ward, was going across Horwood Green when he saw a crowd and decided to get involved. Saving came across, asked Ward what he wanted, & pushed him away, hitting him on his chest. William John Ridgway declared that the first assault came from Saving. William Willmore, baker, agreed – although he saw no blows, he had heard them. George Hall, labourer, was called but had neither seen nor heard anything. The Bench decided in Saving’s favour and Ward was fined 10s with 17s costs.

The Winslow Salvation Army continued to be a popular feature of the Winslow scene through 1889. Bucks Herald, 24 Aug 1889:

On Monday last, special services were held in connection with this body. A "Welcome tea" was held in the Barracks at six and was fairly attended. At night the Buckingham Army’s Brass Band came over and paraded the town, holding a special meeting in the Market-square. This was followed by a "Hosanna meeting" in the Barracks, which was crowded. "Captain" Hall and the "Lieutenant" from Buckingham "Captain" Cariss from Tingewick and "Captain" Pitt and "Lieutenant" Birchfield, of Winslow, conducted the services. Another tea was held at the conclusion and was well patronised.

After Christmas, the Northampton Mercury reported that "THE SALVATION ARMY sang carols in the streets [of Winslow]" at midnight on Christmas Eve. It’s clear that not all the residents thought that was a boon, and Jackson’s Oxford Journal described them being "woken from their slumbers" on Christmas Eve 1888. The same paper reported on the Army’s Harvest Festival in Autumn, 1890:

SALVATION ARMY HARVEST FESTIVAL: Commencing on Saturday evening with a meeting in the Market-square, special harvest festival services were held by the Army. The Barracks were tastefully decorated, and the services throughout the Sunday were conducted by the Winslow officers (Captain McIver and Lieutenant Short) and were well attended. On Monday, a demonstration was held on the Market-square, Captain Fisher, of London, taking the command.

The closeness of members of the Winslow Salvation Army to the local Baptists is revealed in a Mercury and Herald report of Christmas 1890. This is a synthesis:

On Boxing-day a public tea was held in the Centenary Hall and capitally attended by members of the congregation, a strong contingent of the Salvation Army, &c, 100 sitting down. At night a well rendered service of song was given by the choir, entitled "Billy Bray, the eccentric Cornishman," with pastor, Rev. G.T. Gillingham, presiding and giving the reading, and Miss Gillingham at the American [reed] organ.

In January 1892, an Evangelical Alliance was formed in Winslow at a meeting at the Congregational Schoolroom on the 7th. The attendance was good and represented a wide spectrum of Christian opinion. The Rev. C.M. Gough, vicar of Steeple Claydon, presided, and should have been assisted by the Congregationalist Rev. John Pither who was absent with ‘flu. Mr Gough stated categorically that he met with other denominations without any sacrifice of principle, seeing that whilst each of them might have differing views on certain points, yet they were all met for one common object – the advancement of God’s Kingdom – and he trusted that blessing would follow their efforts. Messrs Watson, Higgins, Clear, Ward, and the Salvation Army Captain also took part in the meeting, which was of "an earnest and hearty character, and concluded with the Benediction pronounced by the Vicar of Steeple Claydon".

By June 1892, it was time to redouble the Army’s mission. The Bucks Herald reported on the 18th:

THE SALVATION ARMY – Three days of special effort have been held in connection with the army in this town [Winslow] under the leadership of "Capt" Halestrop, assisted by the band from Leighton Buzzard, and friends from Buckingham, &c.

We may assume that midnight carols were sung again on Christmas Eve, but all does not seem to have been well with Winslow’s Salvation Army: its officers had changed repeatedly and do not seem to have been Winslow residents, and it was dependant, to some extent, on joint activities with the Baptists. One can detect that membership was not solid; that some people who were Baptists by faith assisted the Army but were not solely loyal to it.

The War Cry of 16 July 1892 reported the promotion of Lieutenant Elizabeth Buller to be Captain at Winslow, and on 5 Nov 1892 the promotion of Lieutenant Nellie Smith of Long Crendon to be Captain at Winslow.

Perhaps, in Winslow, differences between Christians were less important that points of agreement. Whatever, the Salvation Army, its officers, congregation and barracks drifted from view. Kelly’s Directory for 1891 says that there were Salvation Army barracks at Winslow.  They are still mentioned in 1895 but the text appears to have been copied verbatim from 1891. They have disappeared in 1899. I’ll leave the last word to the Bucks Herald, 31 Dec 1892:

WINSLOW: CHRISTMAS DAY AND BANK HOLIDAY passed off with unusual quietness at Winslow. For the first time since the establishment of the Salvation Army, there were no midnight carols on Christmas Eve, whilst on Boxing day there was no music of any kind – quite an unusual circumstance.

Buckingham Advertiser, 30 July 1904
TWO FREEHOLD HOUSES, with the large Room known as the Salvation Army Barracks, to the Sold in Sheep Street, now occupied by Mr. Greaves. – Apply JOHN KEYS, Builder, Park Road, Winslow.

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Copyright 16 May, 2019