The Salvation Army was pleased to be part of the recent BBC2 TV series, A House Through Time.
This second series of the popular social history programme, produced by award-winning production company Twenty Twenty Television, focusses on a single Georgian property in Newcastle, No. 5 Ravensworth Terrace, which was once owned by The Salvation Army.
No. 5 Ravensworth Terrace operated as a Salvation Army Goodwill Centre between 1964 and 1982. At this time, The Salvation Army ran a number of dedicated Goodwill Centres across the UK offering practical assistance to those in need.
The International Heritage Centre of The Salvation Army helped the production company’s researchers by providing historical information from our archives. We were also able connect the researchers with retired officer Major Eileen Moffat who was a lieutenant based at the Goodwill Centre for four years in the 1970s.
The Salvation Army’s part in the property’s history is featured in episode 4 of the programme, first aired on 29th April 2019. Major Eileen was filmed for the programme by presenter David Olusoga about her memories of her time at 5 Ravensworth Terrace.
Major Eileen remembers: “People came to the Goodwill Centre with all sorts of needs. Perhaps would want a meal a perhaps they had problems with money. Maybe they had children and they weren’t sure how they would cope.”
Major Eileen continues: “We gave everyone who came to the Goodwill Centre a cup of tea and a biscuit and we listened to whatever was troubling them. But what we tried to do mostly was to give them some worth. We’d say ‘okay, perhaps things are difficult right now, but it won’t always be so, you can get through this’.”
As well as filming Major Eileen Moffat at her home, Twenty Twenty Television visited our Newcastle City Temple congregation at Brunswick Methodist Church to capture a snapshot of The Salvation Army's work today in the city and to explore its history with Salvationist Bill Ions. Bill told presenter David a little more about Goodwill Centres and corps work and how The Salvation Army adapts to the changing needs of local communities. He was keen to highlight that while poverty and challenging circumstances existed in the area and The Salvation Army met these needs, the resilience of the people of the North East is, and continues to be, strong.
Major Eileen concludes, reflecting on The Salvation Army’s her ministry at the Goodwill Centre in Newcastle: “I just wanted to make a difference, if I could, to those in the area, at the time. I did what I did because I felt that is the Lord wanted me to do.”
The final programme in the series A House Through Time is available on the BBC iPlayer until 30 May 2019.