Rochdale - History
The Salvation Army first commenced its work in the town of Rochdale in 1878. They took over the local Theatre for four Sundays, but after the third they were not allowed the use of it any longer due to the damage that had been caused by those in attendance!
They moved to the Wash House and continued from there. After three changes of leadership, Captain Polly Perkins and Lieutenant Marion Smith closed the work down - in 1878! The converts joined with the 'Everybody's Mission'. Eventually the members of the mission appealed to General William Booth to open up the work of The Salvation Army in Rochdale again, and if he did so, the members of the mission would become Salvationists and stand by the Army.
So it was on Sunday 12th March 1882 The Salvation Army 'opened fire' in Rochdale. The first premises, or 'Citadel', was the Old Rink on Castlemere Street. This spacious building was packed night after night with many experiencing conversion.
It was not all plain sailing, for the Army met with opposition from the 'Skeleton Army' whose purpose was to disrupt and destroy the gatherings of those who had come to listen to the preaching of the Gospel.
In 1892, a new Citadel was opened in Lord Street, which today is Newgate. A fortress like building it remained on the present site until 1989. The condition of the fortress was such that a new Citadel had to be built. In January 1993 - The Salvation Army & Bradbury Trust Community Centre opened the doors of the purpsoe built centre. For over 100 years the work of The Army has been directed from the same location in town, making it a well known local landmark.
Did you know ...
That the Founder of The Salvation Army was General William Booth.
General Booth visited Rochdale on three occassions. On his first visit in 1901 he was given hospitatlity at the home of the Reverend Thomas Champness at Castleton House. It was whilst the General was there that a fire broke out and the fire service had to be called to deal with the incident.
Apparently soot had gathered in one of the chimneys and had ignited - thus causing the fire which was dealt with, with great 'promptitude'!