At the end of November 1908, the Blantyre Salvation Army celebrated their 22nd Anniversary and with it they had found the passage of time had brought them acceptance within the Blantyre community.
Times had certainly changed since the Army Corps had first tried to “plant their flag” in Blantyre. The two lassies who were first sent to Blantyre came in for rather a rough time and in those early days in the 1880s, their small band of followers were subjected often to ridicule. There was general non-acceptance of their beliefs, which even at times manifested in violence towards these Salvationists.
This was partially due to inadequacy of premises with meetings in those initial months taking place in a sawmill loft at Auchinraith Road at Robert Davidson’s “Auchinraith Sawmills”. (Directly at the head of Merry’s Rows). By 1908, the sawmill had long since been demolished and the Salvation Army had their own hall at Forrest Street.
Their new building on Forrest Street was known as “The Citadel”. The Citadel commenced construction in summer 1886 and was officially opened at the end of November 1886.
November 1908 saw some celebrations, with a band playing on the last Saturday of the month, and on the Sunday Ensign and Mrs Liddle conducted special services. It was encouraging to hear of the growth, acceptance and progressive nature of the Army. Quite a few of the old timers gave a breezy and interesting account of those old days. On the Monday evening a table soiree was held with tables decorated and plenty of food. Music was provided live by bands, a concertina performance by Mr Robert Nelson and then a selection of gramophone records were played. It was altogether a happy occasion.
The former citadel is pictured on Forrest Street.