The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up the comfort of his pulpit and decided to take his message into the streets where it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute.

His original aim was to send converts to established churches of the day, but soon realized that the poor did not feel comfortable or welcome in the pews of most of the churches and chapels of Victorian England. Regular churchgoers were appalled when these shabbily dressed, unwashed people came to join them in worship.

Booth decided to start a church especially for them and named it the East London Christian Mission. The mission grew slowly, but Booth's faith in God remained undiminished.

In May of 1878, Booth summoned his son, Bramwell, and his good friend George Railton to read a proof of the Christian Mission's annual report. At the top it read: THE CHRISTIAN MISSION is A VOLUNTEER ARMY. Bramwell strongly objected to this wording. He was not a volunteer: he was compelled to do God's work. So, in a flash of inspiration, Booth crossed out "Volunteer" and wrote "Salvation". The Salvation Army was born.

By the 1900s, the Army had spread around the world. The Salvation Army soon had officers and soldiers in 36 countries, including the United States of America. This well-organized yet flexible structure inspired a great many much-needed services: women's social work, the first food depot, the first day nursery and the first Salvation Army missionary hospital. During World War II, The Salvation Army operated 3,000 service units for the armed forces, which led to the formation of the United Service Organizations.

Today, The Salvation Army is present in over 130 countries and continues to work where the need is greatest, guided by faith in God and love for all people.


Our Beginnings in Singapore

Brigadier Herbert Lord established The Salvation Army in Singapore in 1935. The first headquarters was an old Chinese house in Killiney Road where we received requests to commence relief work and social services for women and children. The Singapore After Care Association also sought our assistance in the rehabilitation of ex-prisoners.

In 1937, we opened a home for victimized women on Paterson Road caring for the destitute and those forced into prostitution. A school was also set up to teach English and useful skills such as tailoring. This developed into the Women's Industrial Home which later moved to a larger home at River Valley Road.

The Army's work expanded and we moved to a quaint old Chinese house in Tank Road (later renamed Clemenceau Avenue) in January 1938. After 50 years in Clemenceau Avenue, growing services necessitated a move. After a brief period in Changi, the headquarters was eventually relocated to our current location at Bishan.




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