Soon after the Salvation Army, originally 'The Christian Mission to the Heathen of our own Country' began in nearby Whitechapel under General William Booth in 1865 the bands and uniforms were seen and heard in Stratford. The military-style organisation, public presence, women and men in leadership, flags flying, 'in your face' evangelism, direct preaching, open-air singing, concern for the 'down and outs' disturbed the streets and shocked the church-goers.
100 years ago the Stratford Express made comments over 20 years about the initial shock, the expansion and then the welcome acceptance of their work:
'Various parts of Essex have been incommoded during 1880 by the operations of the Salvation Army, a religious body whose proceedings are marked more by enthusiasm than prudence' 1.1.1881
'Canning Town was taken by storm on Tuesday when the Salvation Army flooded the district with its battalions, and drowned the noise of traffic with its drums. Brigadiers, Colonels, Captains and Privates were everywhere. The main street had a fringe of red--banded peak-caps and coal scuttle bonnets; the great public hall was crowded with zealous, strong-lunged warriors were every where' 19.1.1901
'if the Salvation Army could help to save the Borough from Sabbath-breaking, wife-beating, drunkenness and other evils, what a great work they are doing' 15.3.1902
Across Newham bands marched, the magazine War Cry was distributed in pubs, halls were hired, open-air services spread, uniforms were seen in the streets and the work expanded By 1901 the Stratford Corps in Angel Lane, established in 1883, had nearly 1000 soldiers.
Soon after the Salvation Army, originally 'The Christian Mission to the Heathen of our own Country' began in nearby Whitechapel under General William Booth in 1865 the bands and uniforms were seen and heard in Stratford.