Founders' Day - How well do you know your Salvation Army history?

published on 1 Jun 2017

1. In what year did William and Catherine Booth found The Salvation Army?

2. What was William Booth’s first job?

3. Fill the gap: ‘If we are to better the future we must disturb the [blank]’ – Catherine Booth   

4. Which two of William and Catherine’s eight children went on to become Generals of The Salvation Army?

5. During the First World War, which sweet treat was served to soldiers on the front line by The Salvation Army?

6. Before it was changed to The Salvation Army in 1878, what was the movement originally called?

7. In 1891, The Salvation Army opened a matchbox factory, which paid higher wages and allowed employees to work in much better conditions, than other factories. What was the slogan printed on the matchbox lid?

8. What was the name of the book that William Booth published in 1890?

9. To this date, how many Generals have there been?

10. How many countries is The Salvation Army working in today?


1.     1865

After his marriage to Catherine Mumford in 1855, William Booth spent several years as a Methodist minister, travelling all around the country, preaching and sharing God's word to all who would listen. Yet he felt that God wanted more from him, that he should be doing more to reach ordinary people. He moved to London with his family, having resigned his position as a Methodist minister.

On 2 July 1865, William commenced his first open air Evangelistic campaign at the old Quaker burial ground on Mile End waste in Whitechapel, preaching in a tent. It was noted that "the breath of any reeked with the fumes of gin or beer which drove from the already heavy air within those canvas walls the last vestige of wholesomeness".

2nd July is recognised as the birthday of The Salvation Army, known as 'Founder's Day'. 2015 will be a monumental year for our church as we celebrate 150 years of service to God and the community.

2.     Pawnbroker's apprentice

In 1842, when he was aged 13, his father sent him to work as an apprentice to Francis Eames in a pawnbroker's shop situated in the poorest part of Nottingham. This stirred his social conscience as through it he became aware of the plight of the poor.

It was at this time that William started attending Broad Street Wesley Chapel (Methodist) and in 1844 he had a conversion experience, noting that: "It was in the open street [of Nottingham] that this great change passed over me".

3.     Present

4.      Bramwell and Evangeline

William and Catherine Booth had eight children: Bramwell, Ballington, Catherine, Emma, Herbert, Marian, Evangeline and Lucy. Each became involved in Army work. Like all families, there was conflict as well as harmony. Two of the children were to become General, yet three of the children were to leave the movement.

Bramwell Booth was born in 1856. By his teens, he was his father’s right-hand man, a loyal adviser and administrator, and was to become the Army’s Chief of the Staff. In 1912 he was appointed General. His autocratic leadership style based on his father’s was not always popular. In later years and declining health, his leadership was questioned, resulting in a bitter struggle. He died in 1929.

Evangeline Booth was born in 1865. At age 20, she became officer in charge of Marylebone corps. She went on to lead the Army in Canada, before becoming US Commander in 1904. Evangeline spent thirty years in America, before serving as General from 1934-1939. The Army prospered under her leadership, and Evangeline traveled extensively around the world. She died in 1950.

5.     Doughnuts

With limited resources, these treats were fried, only seven at a time and the female Salvation Army volunteers, later named “doughnut dollies”, would hand them out to soldiers on the front line. In 1938, The Salvation Army created National Doughnut Day (still celebrated in America) to commemorate this service.

6.     The Christian Mission

In 1878 the Booth's named their campaign The Christian Mission; however, by 1878 it was renamed The Salvation Army. As military terminology became more commonplace, Booth became known as the 'General', a suitable shortening of the title of 'General Superintendent' that he held as the head of The Christian Mission.

A 'Deed of Constitution' outlining his duties and responsibilities, which included the power to appoint a successor, was drawn up. Mission station preachers were given the rank of Captain and uniforms suitable to the ranks followed. A military discipline governed the lives of the officers.

Writing in 'The Salvationist' in 1879 Booth summed up the purpose of the Army in the following simple but striking way:

"We are a salvation people - this is our speciality - getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more until full salvation on earth makes the heaven within, which is finally perfected by the full salvation without, on the other side of the river."

But getting people saved was not always an easy task, as Booth found out. There was opposition from organised groups such as the so-called Skeleton Army. And early Salvationists were often pelted with stones or even imprisoned for marching down the street.

7.     Lights in Darkest England

This initiative led to the raising of standards in all British match factories.

8.     In Darkest England and the Way Out

William Booth's social manifesto, 'In Darkest England and the Way Out,' explored various ideas such as providing food and shelter for the poor, helping the disadvantaged learn agricultural trades, and assisting people in search of a better life to emigrate. From this point on, the Army's mission became two-pronged: to provide social salvation, as well as proclaiming personal salvation.

9.     20

The first being William Booth 1865 – 1912 and the current, Andre Cox, who was elected in 2013

10.  128

International statistics (as at 1 January 2015)

Number of corps: 13,826

Number of officers: 26,675

Number of employees: 108,786

Soldiers: 1,056,722

Adherent members: 156,842

Junior soldiers: 378,811

Senior band musicians: 48,135

Songsters: 133,480

Sunday school members: 616,093

Community development programmes: 10,211 (number of beneficiaries: 2,016,867)

Homeless hostels: 440 (capacity: 24,860)

Residential addiction dependency programmes: 252 (capacity: 14,267)

Children's homes: 182 (capacity: 7,001)

Homes for elderly persons: 200 (capacity: 11,605)

Mother and baby homes: 47 (capacity: 1,372)

Refuges: 95 (capacity: 2,247)

Community day care centres: 619

Non-residential addiction rehabilitation centres: 70

Services to the armed forces: 25 projects

Disaster rehabilitation schemes: 104 (serving 129,323 people)

Prisoners visited: 266,089

Refugee programs: 58  (serving 32,143 people)

General hospitals: 16

Maternity hospitals: 26

Specialist hospitals: 10