Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Hanley - William Booth (1855)

William Booth was invited here by the President of the new Connexion in 1855 to do a series of revival meetings. These are excerpts from Booth's letters to his fiance Catherine.

Jan 13th - Yesterday I took the pulpit in this immense chapel — the congregation this morning was very good, probably 1,500 people; at night the place was full, over 2,500 were present. It was an imposing sight when all rose up to sing. What a responsibility to have to preach to them. The Lord helped me to say a few words. In preaching both morning and evening I was much blessed. At night we took the names of 24 persons who professed to find peace; it was not so great a number as I had hoped for — but I trust the success will increase as the work advances. 

Jan 16th - The work is progressing most satisfactorily, last night I had 2,000 to hear me preach and the Lord helped me to preach and afterwards we took down 40 names. I have a splendid band of assistants... after the toil and anxiety and excitement of the day is over I generally go to sleep thinking about you (Catherine).

Jan 17th - The congregation was very glorious last night and, although I did not preach with my usual pleasure, and as I thought power, a good influence pervaded the meeting and we finished up with the best prayer meeting we have yet had and swelled the numbers up to about 110 on the three nights. Mr I.yn and his father were with us; were much pleased and worked very hard... A respectable woman met me this morning in deep distress; she was coming to see me; she could not rest; we went home with her; Mr Lyn, junior, and Mr Gutteridge were with me; prayed with her, etc. and she found peace directly. Praise God forever and ever. I am happy, very happy. My heart is right, I trust, with respect to tracing all the power back to God. I want to give Him all the praise.

Jan 18th - Last night the congregation was very good although the night was unfavourable near 2,000 I suppose were present, not quite perhaps — but it was a large congregation. 'The word was with power and point. 'Lot’s wife.' A good prayer meeting until half-past 10 or later-— and 40 names taken down, making near 160 during this week. For all this, we cannot be sufficiently thankful. The cases were of a higher order last night. Many very line young men and many very respectable females, One old and fine leader told me that his son and daughter had found the Lord for whom he had been praying many many years. Another grey-headed man said his daughter and daughter-in-law had found the Lord for whom he had been praying near 28 years. Let us give God all the praise!

Jan 22nd - Yesterday was a remarkable day. In the morning the congregation was very good, at night that large chapel was crowded; it was an imposing sight. I suppose there were 3,000 persons present, some from a distance, some Independent Wesleyans, Church people, Primitives, many infidels and indifferents. Cod helped me to preach with a little power and in the prayer meeting we took down 50 names, many good cases. I should much have liked you to have been there.

Jan 23rd - The work continues; last night the congregation was very large and I preached with some liberty and power and afterwards a number of very clear and satisfactory conversions; took place. Near 140 names were taken. I am somewhat tired and fatigued this morning, but a good walk will set me up again.

'The Life of General William Booth', by Harold Begbie, Volume I, pages 236-241.

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