Salvation Army

William Booth

On the 20 August this year (2012) it was 100 years since the death of William Booth, at the age of 83 years, the founder of the Salvation Army. The story of his life’s work and thirst for social justice can be viewed at the William Booth Birthplace Museum in Nottingham, and on a DVD entitled William Booth: A Passion For The Poor. As an evangelist he travelled thousands of miles worldwide and raised up a Salvation Army at work in 58 countries and had influenced millions for Christ. On the 29th August 1912 London came to a standstill, the day having been designated a half holiday for the five mile funeral march to Abney Park Cemetery, the horse-drawn carriage being followed by 40 bands and a seemingly endless procession of Salvationists watched by more than two million people.

1880 Mansfield Corps Formed

On the 1st May 1880 the Mansfield Corps of the Salvation Army was formed and services were held in a temporary hall over a garage. A band was formed in 1882. A quotation from the Corps History Book says that “in 1909 there was a visit by the General (William Booth) on August Bank Holiday morning in the Grand Theatre, lent free. The General was supported by His Worship the Mayor and the whole Corporation. His Grace the Duke of Portland presided. Theatre packed, income over £60. The General excelled himself and made a great impression.”

The History Book states that “in 1921 authorities considered the hall was no longer safe to use for public gatherings, and in a matter of days many friends came to help out. The YMCA loaned their hall for Sunday morning meetings and Sunday School which at that time numbered some 500 children. The Methodists at Clerkson Street School loaned their Hall for Sunday night meetings. Other friends placed halls at their disposal for weekly activities, all without charge. Land was secured from Mansfield Borough Council in Belvedere Street and Mansfield Colliery donated bricks. Two old Army huts were purchased from Clipstone Camp, all necessary stones for the foundations were dug out of the site from old cottages previously occupied, with sand found at a lower level. And so the work for a new Hall began with the labouring work carried out by members of the Salvation Army and other friends during a 14 week coal strike.

1921 New Hall

On the 5th November 1921 the new Hall was declared open by a Mrs. Houfton who had given the first donation towards the building along with much interest and encouragement. She was 93 yrs of age at the time.”

1930’s  Onwards

In 1948 plans were afoot to purchase the Methodist Chapel, a much bigger building in Victoria Street and so began many fundraising activities towards the new building fund. On the 21st July 1951, thirty years after the previous hall was opened, the new citadel was officially opened by Mr. H. Bernard Taylor, member of parliament for Mansfield and supported by the mayor Councillor G Abbott and his wife.

In the community

Over the years the band has played a big part in the community. On Sunday mornings the members walked to various street locations to hold open-air services and on Sunday evenings they held a service on the Mansfield market place which was always very well attended. Then they marched back to the citadel for their own service.

1950 Band Broadcast

On the 3rd October 1950 the band broadcast for the radio from the Mansfield Museum lecture hall.


In this year of 2012 the Salvation Army is officially recognised as working in 126 countries, also being on the front line of the war zones. Mansfield Salvation Army Corps continues to be a church with a mission of a Heart to God and a Hand to Man serving the community, putting into action the vision that William Booth had all those years ago.

R & S Blythe

General William Booth
With acknowledgement to Leanne Ruthven (Major) for permisson to reproduce this picture
Private Collection
Band Broadcast 3rd October 1950
Private Collection
Private Collection
In Mansfield Market Place
Private Collection
In Mansfield Market Place
Private Collection

Comments about this page

  • My father Sam Riggs transferred from Kirkcaldy Sinclairton in 1963. My brother, also Sam, were taught to play the cornet by Mr Bardon.

    By John riggs (25/08/2021)
  • i have just been looking at the comments re Mansfield S A. All of my growing up years were in Mansfield , many happy days through Sunday School and then the senior corps. Lovely to look back and remember the people that had such an influence on my life. Left the corps to move with work , now after a few years in Cambridgshire am in Derby Central. Still a Salvationist , I greatly value my early years , a hello to all who remember me ! Nina Stone. (nee Rose)

    By Nina Stone formerly Rose (29/08/2017)
  • Three generations of Jepson on these photographs. My grandad Harry, my dad “Jack” who was bandmaster in the 1950 photo, & myself also in that photo seated just to the left of the microphone aged 15. The bandmaster in the other photos is Tom Attewell, a good solo cornet player. Great days. Hundreds used to go along to the market place on the Sunday evening open air meeting.

    By Michael Jepson (24/02/2016)
  • Mike, I think the person you are referring to may be Stuart Rose.  His family were Salvationists and he had a sister called Nina.  He still lives locally.

    By R Blythe (06/03/2015)
  • The  photos and  comments  are  excellent and as  always  do  stir  memories.  I  think  there  is  not  one  person  who  lived  in  the  area  of  Mansfield  we  did, who  has  not  had a  connection  with  the  Salvation Army  in  one  way  or  another.  I  can  recall  going  down  to  Sunday  School  at  the  little  hut  next  to the  Citadel. I  cannot  recall  to many  people  who  were in Sunday School,  that  would  be in  the  early  50s  and  again  in  around  1959-1961.  There  was  the trips  to  the  seaside  and  of  course  the  Christmas party,  I  remember  getting a  book  Peter  Puffin.  The  last  time  I  was  in  the  Citadel was  for  my  Grandma Price’s  funeral  many  many  years  back,  she  was a Sally  Ann lady  as  well.

    A  classmate  in  2Br at  High  Oakham  played the  cornet  with  the  Band,  I  presume that  would  be a  junior band  as  he  would  have  been around  11-12,  his  last  name  is  Rose,  but  cannot  be  sure  of  his  first name.

    Either  way  the  Salvation  Army  is an  indelible mark  in  the history  of  Mansfield,  especially Moor  Street, Victoria  and  Princes Street  region. Cheers  ….   Mike

    By Mike Frost (01/03/2015)
  • My father always used to give generously to the Salvation Army on account of the fact they were the only organisation that waited for the last returnee’s from Dunkirk. He had to fight his way round the coast and was one of the last to be evacuated, on his return most other organisations like  the Red Cross, NAFFI and WVS had packed up shop but the Salvation Army stayed till the end and he greatly appreciated the cup of tea he got from them.

    By stephen Walker (01/08/2014)
  • The good old “Sally Ann” gone it seems are the days when after the seafood salesman in the Ex servicemen’s clubs years ago, along came a gentleman in a cap, or a lady in a bonnet selling the “War cry” etc. My late father having originated from Langwith and Shirebrook,where to this day a strong “Army” presence is still in evidence, was a former serviceman,who had done his time in the middle east and Egypt. He always said that no matter where you embarked/disembarked anywhere in the world, the SA was waiting for you with a welcome mug of tea. Like so many things, many people hold in some regard, it is usually with a good reason.

    By John (31/07/2014)
  • What a lovely page of history in Mansfield this is. In my pre-teenage days, I too used to attend the Salvation Army Sunday afternoon service when the citadel was on Belvedere Street. In those days one was expected to attend church on a Sunday. I think it would be fair to say the strictness of ones parents in those days, we were made to go! I can remember the Salvation Army moving up the road to the new citadel on the land between Victoria Street and Princess Street. Across the road from Platt’s Post Office, and the old Co-op Dairy to the railway side.To be honest, I thought the new building was opened a little before 1948, I was a lot younger when I received a Christmas present for attendance. Maybe I am wrong ?

    By alan curtis (10/01/2013)

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