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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

1885: A Glimpse Into The Army’s First Year in Wakefield by Celia Parkinson

Saturday 28th March 1885

Premises owned by the Eastmoor Calvinistic Chapel Trustees was taken over and prepared for Salvation Army meetings which commenced under the direction of Staff-Captain Stonehill and two female officers (Captain Luke and Lieutenant Maclaurin). Reports stated that the building was overflowing and Major Elijah Cadman noted that the Corps would be looking for larger property in the centre of town.

Monday 8th June

At a meeting held in the Corn Exchange at the top of Westgate, the first flag to the Corps was presented. A Band played but many thought it was too loud and played too often.

Tuesday 7th July

As the Army were marching back to the Barracks at Eastmoor, following Open-air Meetings and on reaching the crowded Borough Market, an attempt was made to stop the procession. The Salvationists pushed their way through but were followed by a number of Irish youths. On reaching a point opposite Nicholson’s printing Works in Jacob’s Well Lane, a man carrying a wicket interceded on behalf of the Army. At once he was surrounded by roughs and assaulted in a brutal manner. Other cricketers, who were walking from the cricket field at the time, and seeing the trouble into which their friend had fallen ran to his assistance. Several of the Irishmen took off their belts and with the buckle ends, inflicted savage blows upon those within reach. A stalwart Salvationist who had been playing the drum, ran among the Irishmen in a courageous manner and with the knob end of the drumstick succeeded in routing the Irishmen.

Friday 5th September

140 Life Guards marched through Wakefield watched by a great crowd who had collected in the streets to witness the procession, headed by a brass band. A great roar was brought up by members of the Local Corps. The meeting in the Corn Exchange was a very large one. Commandant Herbert Booth conducted the meeting and after addressing the meeting reviewed some of the guards.

Late December/January

Great meetings but the drum is regarded by many tradesmen and residents as a great nuisance, especially as recently a horse was startled by the enthusiastic drummer and then knocked down a female.

(Editor’s note: Celia spent a year trawling records to produce a booklet giving details of the first twenty five years of Wakefield Corps. SAHPA will be publishing this in the Spring of 2012).

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