Book logs rocky history of town’s Salvation Army corps

Ted Longhurst who has written a history book about the Salvation Army in Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin
Ted Longhurst who has written a history book about the Salvation Army in Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

A Horsham man, whose father co-founded the town’s Salvation Army’s branch, has written a souvenir book commemorating its 125th anniversary.

Ted Longhurst, of Arunside, is a third generation Salvationist, with his father, uncles and grandfather all being officers and musicians in the church’s renowned band.

He has played the euphonium and baritone horn for the church and was in the band until fairly recently.

Over the past two years he has compiled a book from the church’s records together with articles from the War Cry to produce March Forth! – A history of Horsham Corps of the Salvation Army 1887 to 2011.

In the first chapter the 77-year-old records the reaction from the town when the Salvationist first set up a corps.

“Horsham is horrified with us since we captured a first in the town, and in 14 days, 57 of its worst characters have received pardon.”

This was a common feeling across the UK, but by 1890, the church was given a permanent base at a hall in Springfield Road.

Mr Longhurst shared how attitudes were towards Salvationists in his family’s lifetime.

He said: “My father and his brother were founder members of the Horsham Salvation Army. My grandfather founded the Worthing branch.

“Before a service they had to read out the Riot Act. The Salvation Army were the ultimate do-gooders and people didn’t like it.”

He said he experienced friction in his lifetime too.

“I made history at Collyer’s to be the last boy to be caned by a prefect. I told my house prefect I wouldn’t be staying for football practice because I had a concert.

“The next day I was hauled up in the prefects’ room and they caned me for going out with the band the night before. My father went in to see the headmaster and from that day on prefects stopped caning the boys.”

Today the Salvation Army is now very much a part of the national and regional church community and a partner of Horsham Churches Together.

The centre in Booth Way hosts activites including the Friday luncheon club and the Thursday night Hope In and they have a waiting list for their parent and toddler groups.

For more information and to buy a copy of the book call the centre on 01403 254624.