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Article researched and presented by Margaret Craddock
The Salvation Army badge

Photograph of the Salvation Army Citadel

Northampton Mercury Sat 11 June 1887 – "Burton Latimer - Salvation Army – Three services were held on Sunday last in Mr. W. Northern’s barn by a contingent of the Salvation Army from Kettering. At each of the services there was a crowded audience." This is the first mention we can find of the Salvation Army's activities in Burton Latimer and from 1888 Salvationists met in a cottage in Ambler's Yard until the Citadel was built in the town in 1896. It was believed to have been built about 10 years prior to the erection of The Britannia Club which was situated next to it in the High Street. Ambler's Cottage was on the other side of the Citadel. The Salvation Army rented the land from Thomas Ambler until at least 1920, when it was mentioned in his Will, and it was later purchased by the corps.

The Citadel fell into disrepair (see photograph below) when the corps folded in 1956 and was demolished in the mid 1960s.

Photograph of the Citadel in disrepair

By this time the Britannia Club officers had acquired the land for an extension but the Salvation Army put conditions on its use. A condition of the sale of the land was that no intoxicating liquor should be sold or consumed on the purchased land. As a result, the land was used to construct a new front entrance and staircase, with the entrance at the extended frontage being bricked up.

There were three officers living in the town at the time of the 1901 census. The first two officers lived in Duke Street in a house rented for their accommodation and were still living in the house in the early 1930's.

Salvation Army Officers in Burton Latimer

Photograph of Capt Todd - 1920's Photograph of Capt Day - 1920/30s
Capt Todd - 1920s
Capt Day - 1920s/30s
Photograph of the first two officers to  live in Duke Street
Photograph of the second pair of officers to live iin Duke Street
The first two officers to live in Duke Street in a house rented for their accommodation
The second pair of officers to live in the Salvation Army house in Duke Street - early 1930s

Photograph of little Alf Caffrey and a Salvation Army officer on an outing to Sawtry
Little Alf Caffrey gets a pick-a-back from a Salvation Army officer on an outing at Sawtry.


Photograph of The War Cry

Sketch by Graham West "Selling the War Cry - 1956"
Selling the War Cry - 1956
Sketch by Graham West of the Salvation Army "War Cry" being sold in a public house - a common sight in these days.
Graham West and his pals are in the foreground.

The town's Salvation Army was quite strong between the wars when, at one, time, it had a sixteen-piece band, some of whom can be seen here playing for a Remembrance Day parade. The band is passing the Dukes Arms outside which the musicians regularly played on a Friday or Saturday night whilst some of the officers were inside selliing "The War Cry".

Salvation Army on parade - 1930's
Salvation Army on parade - 1930's
Mrs Howard is the lady on the left hand side.
John Chester (see following reference) is on the right in uniform

Memories of Ray Chester:

My grandfather, John Chester, became a lifelong member of the Salvation Army in the town. This came about when he was in The Dukes Arms public house, much the worse for drink, and when he heard the band passing by he left the public house. He lost his balance and fell through the big drum and injured himself. The members of the Salvation Army ministered to his needs and from then on he became a Salvationist for the rest of his life. My aunt, Evelyn Villette (nee Chester) was another member of the Salvation Army.

Burton Latimer Salvation Army Boy's Band 1930's
Burton Latimer Salvation Army Boy's Band 1930s
taken outside a house in Duke Street
Johnny Wiles middle of front row

Memories of Phil Mason

As a youngster I remember visiting the Salvation Army Citadel on Saturday mornings with my friend, Geoff Barclay, to watch a film show run by an officer who came by bus from Irthlingborough.  The films were mostly cartoons and there were others with Christian content.  Meetings were sometimes held at the War Memorial and as a young lad I attended and was given a penny by my parents to contribute to the funds.

Occasionally joint services were held at the Salvation Army with the Methodists, Baptists and Anglicans.  At one time, in the 1950s, an officer came from South America and lived with a family in Alexandra Street.  A welcome service was held at the Citadel and then the congregation went to the nearby Mission Room where there were facilities for refreshments.

Two regular Salvation Army members were Mrs Howard and Beattie who lived in Finedon Street.  Another staunch member was Mrs Flo Underwood from Hawthorne Close.  When the Citadel closed she continued to worship by walking from Burton Latimer to Rothwell to join the worshippers there and then would return by car.  Another Salvationist was Mr Sturgess who lived in Finedon Street.

When the Citadel closed most of the followers went to the Methodist Chapel and Beattie went to the Mission Room.

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