Camberwell Hall, London (1875)

As might be expected in the closing week, vast numbers of people have besieged Camberwell Hall during the concluding days of the evangelist services. The crowds that hastened to the Hall on Sunday were especially overwhelming; but even on the weekdays it has been necessary to hold overflow meetings, which have been addressed by Mr Henry Morehouse and others. Special meetings for young men have also been addressed by Mr Henry Drummond and for women by Miss Cotton, daughter of Sir Arthur Cotton.

Many persons of high position have attended the afternoon Bible lectures when several thousand persons, mostly ladies, have been present and numerous carriages were constantly waiting outside during the services. The Duchess of Sutherland has been frequently present at Camberwell Hall as well as formerly at the Opera House and must have heard more than once some of Mr Moody's Bible lectures. Lord Chancellor Cairns, as well as others of the nobility has also been at some of the Camberwell services.

Last Sunday's services were particularly impressive. Mr Moody and Mr Sankey referred in affecting terms to this being the closing Sunday of their meetings in Great Britain. On Monday a meeting of ministers took place at Camberwell Hall and on Tuesday the Evangelists began to enjoy a season of rest from their arduous and unremitting labours ever since June 1873, when they first landed in England.

A London contemporary says: "Not a few people who have plunged into the thick of the revival movement are beginning to breathe much more freely now that the end of the campaign is close upon us. But there are those who are loud in their lamentation at the near approach of the time when the crowds and excitement shall have passed away. Hosts of acquaintances have been formed through these services and one at least rather interesting match was made at the Opera House and without waiting for the departure of the evangelists, has resulted in matrimony. Many times Mr Moody's begged for some few hundreds of the ’old faces’ to walk out and make room for the unconverted.

On Monday night it was known at the hall that 500 excursionists would arrive from Boxmore. They reached Camberwell about 7:30 and by that time the place was full. ’Would the Christians retire and make room for these people?’ went forth again and again from the platform. Not much room was made, so after travelling close upon four hours they were scattered all over the building - inquiry rooms, passages and doorways. These countrymen and women had been brought from Boxmore carriages where they had to stand by 50s, and had to return the same night, but at 9:30 o'clock they were endeavouring to pick themselves out of the dense crowd of excited people - for excitement was at its height on Monday, both inside and out. The services have attracted immense crowds, sometimes out of all proportions to the size of the building. The Bible readings drew together an average of from 5 to 6,000 people. As the owners of the small houses near the hall supplied ladies with tea, with this accommodation and the seats in the Green, hundreds of women always contrived to be present at both services. The weather has at times been very unfavourable and for this reason the hall was only three parts full at the 8 o'clock meeting on Sunday morning, July 4th. Cabs, broughams and vehicles of all descriptions were pressed into use, although 9/10 of the audience arrived on foot. Waterproofs and greatcoats were the fashion and as the morning was cold, these winter garments were required in that dreadful draughty building. Hats were pretty freely worn, Mr Sankey himself having to resort to this mode of self-defence. Mr Moody gave his address on ”How to study the scriptures.” They were to spend 25 shillings and procure a Bible with large print and not be afraid to carry it under their arm. They were to study it topically, tracing out all that is said on faith, grace etc. Then take the verilys, the I wills etc, or study it book by book. They were also to procure a Cruden's Concordance and a Scriptural Textbook. At the Opera House ladies carried their bibles to receive “D L Moody” on the blank leaf, and the hymn books to receive “Ira D Sankey.” As it has become fashionable to use bibles very similar to Mr Moody’s own, and when his name is added who knows but in a few years that much talked of “Chicago Bible” may often be offered for sale. With a few exceptions, ministers and representatives of the press, the hall was crowded in the afternoon with 8,000 ladies. At the same time a meeting for men was held in Camberwell Green Chapel and another at night for women, the latter conducted by Miss Cotton, who has been holding services for women here similar to those for young men presided over by Mr Drummond in the Presbyterian schoolroom. The 8,000 women on the whole were, for the most part, well dressed, and the great variety of colours, when viewed from the platform, presented a strange contrast to the sombre scene in the evening when the place was similarly packed with men."

"Signs of Our Times," July 14th, 1875.

Additional Information

This was a temporary building for Moody and was only used by him for a few weeks. It held about 9,000.

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