Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Salvation Army Riots

There were ‘Salvation Army riots’ in Worthing, East Sussex in the 1880’s and in Eastbourne in the early 1890s as the evangelical movement clashed with publicans and members of the public who resented the attack on their drinking habits.

In Eastbourne the authorities attempted to enforce a law banning the Salvation Army from ‘marching bands’ on Sundays, but the brave Salvationists carried on anyway – being physically attacked by angry mobs and then being thrown into prison. They were vigorously opposed by the major, William Epps Morrison, who went so far as to ask the home secretary for permission to leave the ‘Salvationists’ to the mercy of the ‘Skelton army’ organised to attack them, but this callous approach was refused. The case of ‘unlawful assembly’ against the Salvationists eventually reached the High Court in London, and was thrown out. In 1892, Parliament repealed the clause in the Law which had caused all the trouble, and the Salvationists were able to claim a great and hard-won victory.

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