From the archive, 30 August 1905: Salvation Army chief, William Booth, tours the country

Scarborough folk thronged the streets to welcome man hailed as the savior of the more helpless of the human race

Scarborough, Tuesday night.
The veteran chief of the Salvation Army rode into Scarborough to-night with the spirit and freshness of a holiday-maker. Life in the open air and plenty of hard work do more for General Booth than doctors, and he seems to have immensely improved in physical fitness since I left him at the end of a trying journey in Cumberland nine days ago. Yet those nine days have been full of motoring and platform activities, and General Booth has nearly a fortnight of the same kind of thing still before him.

The journey that he is now making down the east coast is breaking fresh ground. To-day the change has been very marked. The sweating ironworkers paused at their work to cheer a farewell at Stockton this morning, and the procession of motor-cars then made its way from busy Tees-side up into the Cleveland moorlands and on to two of Yorkshire’s great summer playgrounds – Whitby and Scarborough.

At Scarborough the Mayor, Mr. William Morgan, attended the reception at some personal inconvenience in order, as he said, that he might have the honour of standing on the platform with a man who had toiled so long and so laboriously to raise the more helpless of the human race. Holiday folk thronged the streets, and if their greetings were less demonstrative than those which have awaited the General in the industrial centres, they were in no degree less cordial.

When General Booth reached the large chapel in Queen Street the doors had been closed already against further admission, for the building was so packed that every seat was occupied and every gangway choked. In Scarborough, I learned, the Salvation Army has a standing corps of between two and three hundred men and women, nearly all of whom wear the uniform for no other reward than the privilege of sharing in the Army’s work. General Booth tells me that there are more than 40,000 such voluntary officers in Great Britain alone, all devoting their time to the carrying on of the religious and social work which he initiated forty years ago.

In Scarborough the fishermen to-night doffed their blue jerseys and put on what General Booth delights to call the “blood-and-fire toggery,” and while I awaited the General’s arrival one of these seafarers told me that but for the Salvation Army he might have died, as he had lived for the greater part of his life, notorious as “the heaviest drinker in Scarborough.” “It is,” he said, “especially because of the temperance work of the Army that the uniform is so proudly worn by the fishermen ashore.”

General Booth had for his chairman to-night Mr. Joshua Rowntree, who claimed that the General had set a notable example to all the churches in doing something for the dwellers in the slums while others only talked about it. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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