Blue Plaque unveiled to founder of The Salvation Army in Spalding

published on 19 Feb 2015

Our Founder, a pioneering social-reformer and evangelist was honoured when the latest heritage blue plaque was unveiled on Saturday 17 October 2015 in Spalding at 12.30 pm.

The latest blue plaque – which recognises a person of historical significance - is the fifth in the series and honoured William Booth, our co-founder, as we celebrate our 150th year.

The plaque will mark the site on Bridge Street, Spalding, where Booth lodged – the dwelling is now a Boots Opticians - during his early ministry as a Methodist circuit preacher. He later moved to London’s East End, where he abandoned the conventional concept of church and took the Christian message to the Victorian slums – supporting his Christian ministry with a practical response to the need and poverty he encountered.

Booth’s great-grandson, Colonel Bramwell Booth, 86, conducted the official unveiling ceremony.

Colonel Booth said: ‘It is wonderful, and particularly poignant, that in the year The Salvation Army celebrates its 150th anniversary and commences official work in its 127th country, my great-grandfather’s legacy is being officially recognised in Spalding.

‘I am proud of what The Salvation Army does as a church, animated by a spirit of love and compassion, actively supporting those who need practical help, a warm welcome or a listening ear and I pray long may it continue this valuable ministry to those who most need it.’

Spalding and District Civic Society planning officer John Charlesworth said: ‘The blue plaques are just one aspect of the civic society’s efforts to protect and preserve all that is best in our local heritage and encourage quality in the new.

‘While William Booth was born in Nottingham and began his pioneering work in London’s East End, it is fitting that we mark his time in Spalding and recognise the contribution of The Salvation Army to people across the world when they need help most.’

Two donors, one of whom is Kevin Pallister (Managing Partner, Calthrops Solicitors), paid for the plaque to be purchased and installed.

The unveiling ceremony took place outside Boots Opticians shop – the former site of Booth’s lodgings – on 16-17 Bridge Street, Spalding PE11 1XA at 12.30 pm. A brass ensemble from nearby Boston Salvation Army church provided music.