History

Article on new Citadel in ‘The War Cry’

12 September 1892 – It all begins

A remarkable day began at 7.00am when 500 people gathered for morning prayers. Commander Eva Booth – daughter of the Salvation Army Founder – accepted the keys to the building from the architect.

In the evening service, the doors had to be closed with hundreds clamouring to enter the new Salvation Army church. The Salvation Army band from Burton upon Trent led the singing. The Birmingham Citadel Band was formed a year later.

1911

The Salvation Army’s Founder, William Booth, visits Birmingham with Sunday services in the Town hall drawing great crowds.

1912

Through the kindness of W.A. Cadbury Esq and other friends, over 12,000 meals were distributed to Birmingham’s needy and over 300 needy families were supplied with coal, boots, groceries and other essential supplies during the winter and coal strike.

1923

The Grimsby Salvation Army Fisherman’s Brigade marched up Birmingham’s Corporation Street complete with lifeboat, attracting huge crowds to the services. This was one of many campaign events held during the years between the wars.

1939-1941

Birmingham Citadel’s building was used as a canteen for servicemen during the war. The German blitz made it impossible to hold evening services and the Citadel was damaged. Afternoon services were conducted in the air raid shelters.

In 1941, the Corps held an Easter Sunday open air service in the Bull Ring. The triumphant instrument playing, singing and declaration of the Easter message sounded out as a challenge to the desolation around and of a joyous hope of better things that were to come.

The present day Bull Ring with its modern shopping centre is still a focus for Sunday afternoon open air outreach watched by many shoppers and visitors.

1948

Salvation Army General Albert Orsborn visits Birmingham Citadel which was packed out meaning many were unable to gain admission to the services.

1974

The Salvation Army moves from its building in Corporation Street to the new Citadel in St Chad’s Queensway. A grand march was held from the old Citadel to the new home with crowds lining the streets.

1992

Centenary Celebrations were held to celebrate 100 years of Birmingham Citadel. Many former comrades joined the celebrations.

Today

Birmingham Citadel continues to thrive today. The musical sections enjoy a good reputation, the young people’s work is growing and a new Contact Centre for estranged families is helping many people across the city. Find out more about the work of The Salvation Army in Birmingham in the ‘Groups’ and ‘In the Community’ sections of the website.

Christmas with the Salvation Army - click here for more details ›