Our history


When William Booth died hundreds of thousands of working class Londoners packed the streets of the capital for his funeral procession. They recognised in him someone who was on their side, someone with a genuine passion for the poor.

Since The Salvation Army was born on the streets of the East End of London in 1865, we have gone from strength to strength – carrying on the commitment of our founders to serve God and to serve suffering humanity by fighting against social injustice.

From Nepal to Tonga, we are now a worldwide movement established in 126 countries, supporting and empowering the vulnerable and marginalised, including people without a home or a job, those who are lonely and victims of trafficking.

On the anniversary of William Booth's death and as The Salvation Army continues to grow,  we take a brief time out to reflect on his remarkable legacy and look back at the Army's early beginnings when it was first established as the Christian Mission.

Learn more about our history

Early years
The Christian Mission
Birth of The Salvation Army
In Darkest England
William Booth's death

[Click on the image above to see full DVD cover and information]

'William Booth- A Passion for the Poor'

With restored film footage and specially treated photos, this 30-minute film about the life of William Booth costs £14.95 and is available from the SP&S Shop.

Discover even more about us in our new short history book

Our new book 'A Short History Of The Salvation Army'  is available from The International Heritage Centre, the book costs £2.50 (inc pp, UK only)

To purchase the book, please send a cheque in the sum of £2.50 made payable  to The Salvation Army to:

The Salvation Army
International Heritage Centre,
William Booth College,
Champion Park,