Gloucester - Salvation Army (1880)

I have seen the crowds on the Tyne and surging mobs of Manchester and the Rhondda crush, but never anything like the dense eager multitude of listeners which nightly crowd the Wellington Hall and all approaches to it at Gloucester. The men and women who surround the building long before the opening time, who almost fight for admission to it and who remain within it hour after hour in deep attention, although hundreds of them have to stand the whole of the time are not persons without employment, still less rowdies after a lark; but genuine working people of all sorts of employment, many of whom walk miles day after day for the chance of getting within the doors just for once.

… Fancy a state of things in which our soldiers do not hold an open meeting on a weeknight – not for fear of any sort of opposition, because it would be utterly impossible either for them or for the thousands who would eagerly follow them, to get even into the street facing their hall at the hour of service! I trust whenever officers, whose voices are almost all gone, are able, arrangements will be made to use the zeal and force of our men out of doors, at midday, near their works, or in some other way.

God has already raised up a host of men and women who are eager to do anything they can for Him. Of the singing, their praying, their speaking, I heard enough to satisfy me not only of the mighty work already accomplished but of the far grander victories that may yet be led to. It was the bayonet charge in the prayer meeting that pleased me most of all. So loth were the people to leave that place that the meeting had to be closed repeatedly and still they hung about, even standing to the last. I saw as many as three at once fall upon some poor sinner and almost force him to his knees. The same sort of work I am told goes on all day in the various workshops throughout the city. No wonder there is such a victory! 

“Oh, but it has been a hard fight,” said mother Shephard. “For the first fortnight, we could not get more than one's and two's night after night.” It was sowing in tears; but now they had 25 souls on Sunday, 18 on Monday and 18 on Tuesday and many of those who are scarcely 3 days old were amongst the speakers that I heard.

From, 'The War Cry', January 1880.

Additional Information

I do not know where the Wellington Hall was.

Related Wells