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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Victorian and Edwardian Salvation Army Prints (Part Two) by 'P.H.'

Following the article entitled "The Illustrated London News and Salvation Army Prints", published in last year's journal, there were several requests for information on other prints from pre-1914 literature. In researching these, it seemed sensible to present a second part to the previous journal's article.

A popular picture of William Booth is the full length coloured lithograph published in Vanity Fair on November 25 1882. It is part of their highly collectable "Men of the Day" series. On an accompanying page is a somewhat lighthearted explanation of "General" Booth and his work. Included are the statements that Mr Booth's work will "sweeten our national manners and injure the race of brewers. Mr. Booth interprets the Gospels in an airy and gamesome way

The work of the Salvation Army abroad attracted much comment in the press of the 1880s and 1890s. Pictures sometimes accompanied the articles and one, from an unknown source but dated 1884, shows `Major Tucker conversing with a Hindoo Fakir". The Major is dressed in Indian garb and is shown holding a local edition of the War Cry

One particularly interesting print to come to light was from The Graphic of 19 November 1887. Entitled "The Salvation Army in Ceylon" it. shows many figures in different poses as well as a drum floating across a river! The figures are in fact the Singhalese Life Guards. One of the pictures is that of Captain Gape - formerly of the Trade Department and Regents Hall - now known as Captain Akbar.An unusual print came from The Graphic of 15 February 1890. It shows a musical item being performed at "A Cigarette Concert held at the Honourable Artillery Company's Headquarters, Finsbury." The print shows a man and woman, both wearing dresses and holding a cornet and tambourine respectively, performing a Salvation Army duet!

Another magazine, Black and White produced a three page article with pictures on 23 May 1891. It is entitled "In a Salvation Army Shelter?' and shows, among other things, women being given a straight talking to concerning the rules of the Shelter. These rules include "bed at nine, rise at six, and all out by eight". Other small pictures show a sale of old clothes in the shelter and a Salvationist forcibly restraining a young woman behaving in an unruly way! The article tells us that "As each woman entered she put her penny through the little hatchway to receive in return a big mug full of hot, strong, well-sweetened tea, with a huge slice of good bread spread with dripping". The article continues that the women look forward to the evening's "rousing, rollicking service" and that sometimes permanent good is done". It is stressed by the writer that the key thing about the Shelter is that the Army is there to help anyone in need regardless. of their beliefs.

The front page of The Graphic of 20 February 1892 was taken up with a picture of the Hercules, lined with Salvationists, greeting General Booth on board the Hilda. The caption reads "The return of General Booth from India and the Colonies - the first greeting at Southampton". The Illustrated London News of the same date also carried the story with pictures.

The next week The Graphic again carried a wonderful double page picture of "A Salvation Army Shelter for Women in Whitechapel`. On the reverse is a lengthy article detailing the work of the Salvation Army and a description of the Shelter. Of the dormitory the reporter states ' ... over the supports of the upper dormitory or gallery, is the awful question, in red and white, "ARE YOU READY TO DIE?' When the night is still, half the inmates surely look as though they are dead already; the unsightly receptacles for the sleepers are strangely like open coffins - open graves."

The Illustrated London News, continued to record events in the life of General Booth. In a well designed picture in the edition of 29 June 1907, the awarding of "the degree of D.C.L. from (Oxford) University" was celebrated. The picture shows General Booth with Bramwell and soldiers from all parts of the world. The variety of uniforms clearly echo national dress and include a Red Indian, Zulu, African and soldiers from various European countries. The accompanying caption records the fact that "The General has just returned from a tour of Japan, during which he was received by the Emperor, who expressed his deep sympathy with the work the Salvation Army is doing for social regeneration.'

Another full page spread again featured in the Illustrated London News of 14 March 1908. Under the title "Unconventional Portraits - No. V. Chief of an army of 84,0O0, there is the tall figure of William Booth surrounded by soldiers from many countries. The picture has a brief biographical sketch of `The Rev. Booth" and was issued to coincide with the start, that day, of the Army's Self Denial Week.

The prints described above and earlier do not constitute a complete list and 'forgotten' prints are sometimes discovered in the most unusual publications. One final word of advice, before framing your prints, look closely at the back as often there is information about the print and it is worth taking notes. If there is .no information, go to an original magazine if possible and look at the nearest pages to find it.

(Editor's note: We can supply much of the information referred to above - as usual, free of charge).

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