A New Corps

Origins of the local Salvation Army

The Bletchley Timbrels in the mid 1950s
The Bletchley Timbrels in the mid 1950s
Bletchley Band in Central Gardens, early 1960s
Bletchley Band in Central Gardens, early 1960s

The Salvation Army was founded by William Booth in the East End of London in 1865. It spread throughout the country opening corps (churches) in many towns and cities, eventually commencing work in Fenny Stratford in 1886.

In November of that year, Staff Captain Harriet Lawrence, a twenty–eight year old officer arrived at Bletchley Station with twelve Cadets to ‘open fire’ in bitter weather and pouring rain, only to discover that The Salvation Army was not wanted in that area. The porter refused to carry their luggage across the line, and no-one would help them to the house where they were to live. When they finally found the house they discovered that it was condemned as unfit for human habitation. There were no beds, no food, no water and no money.

Despite this discouraging start, they began holding meetings (services) in the Fenny Stratford Town Hall later that month.

By June 1887, a new hall had been built in Church Street, Fenny Stratford and a flourishing corps established.

In the late 1970s the Bletchley Corps, as it was then known, moved to premises in Buckingham Road. It later merged with the Milton Keynes Corps in Conniburrow.

The first Salvation Army corps in Stony Stratford opened in 1887.

Mr J.W.C. Fegan bought the buildings of St. Paul’s School and allowed The Salvation Army to use the chapel for their meetings. He was said to be a friend of William Booth.

The New Bradwell Corps was opened in 1893. Up until 1900 they met in the top floor of a building known as the ‘old mill’. In 1915 they moved to a purpose built hall in Newport Road.

Comments about this page

  • As a little boy of 3 I lived at 5 Woodbine Terrace where the toilet was outside and I went to the Church St Salvation Army and to get in I had to go down the steps on the side, can’t remember what I did. However, what was important was we got to go upstairs and join in some sing along and my favourite was “Deep and Wide” where we had to use ours arms as we sang and when it was our birthday we got claps for how old we were AND we could choose our own song, well no guessing what song I chose but I did say that I was 16. I think after the morning had finished the band would come outside and march up Church St much to the annoyance of those who lived there.

    By Jim Gibbison (29/03/2021)
  • I have been given a book by Grace Old, called “Amazing Grace”. If correct with working out the dates, I believe she and her husband, Fred, were in the Corps at New Bradwell and Wolverton during 1950s – 1970s. If anybody would like the book, please let me know.

    By Mrs. Wendy Wallace (23/04/2018)
  • I believe my parents were the corps officers at New Bradwell somewhere around 1945. My father was Captain Arthur Holliday and my mother as Winifred Holliday.
    I have a very vague memory of being taken for a walk to see the ducks with a family friend, Rene Murrell who was working at Bletchley Park.

    By Jean Tuer (23/02/2016)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.