Royal Tunbridge Wells - Old Salvation Army Citadel, Varney Street

This Citadel in Tunbridge Wells was opened in 1886, just nine years after the Salvation Army was created in 1877.  Having spread to the town in 1880, its methods were initially opposed by some townsfolk, who even resorted to attacking the Salvationists with sticks and stones as they marched to the Common for their outdoor preaching services.

Old Salvation Army Citadel, Varney Street

However the town clearly soon warmed to the newcomers, as many inhabitants contributed to the building of this substantial Citadel in Varney Street, a street no longer existing having been swallowed up by the monstrous Royal Victoria Place shopping development.

When the founder, 'General' William Booth visited the town in 1909 he was given a Civic Reception and accorded a friendly welcome.  He had also visited in 1869 when he conducted a mission in the town.  In 1867 Mrs Booth assisted at a mission conducted by Bishop Taylor in association with the Vale Royal Wesleyan Church.

The General also attended a great demonstration at the Opera House in 1912 at which he described the foundation of the Army.

The Salvation Army now have a new Citadel in Bayhall Road.

Salvation Army Citadel, Windmill fields, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - 23rd January 2005

Scanned image & information from "Non-conformity in Tunbridge Wells" by C H Strange, 1949

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