Leighton-Linslade Past Times: including Billington, Eggington, Heath & Reach and Stanbridge
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© copyright Kevin Quick

Salvation Army in Leighton Buzzard

Salvation Army Citadel, Lammas Walk, Leighton BuzzardIn the Leighton Buzzard Observer on the 12th January 1886, an article appeared which indicated the intention of the Salvation Army to establish themselves in the town. On the 21st March 1886, the first meeting was held at the Market Cross in the High Street, and at the Corn Exchange in Lake Street. The original premises used by the Salvation Army were an old woolstapler's barn on the left-hand side of Lake Street, near the river. This building was termed their 'barracks' and was capable of seating 400, and was fitted out with old pews from All Saints Church. The original force was lead by Major Kilbey, and was composed of elements from the Leicester and Northampton division of the Salvation Army.

Site of the old Salvation Army Citadel, Lammas Walk, Leighton BuzzardThe Salvation Army soon outgrew the original premises, and in 1905 they acquired the lease of a site, which included five old cottages, in Lammas Walk. Some of the cottages were demolished to make way for a purpose built hall (or 'Citadel') capable of seating 300 persons. Two of the cottages were improved for the use of a caretaker and the local captain. The total cost was around £400. The Citadel was opened 26th August 1905 by Brigadier Barrett.

The hall in Lammas Walk was intended as an interim measure, until more permanent premises could be found, however, this task proved difficult. The hall, which the Army only rented, was placed on the market in 1926, however, the Salvation Army managed to purchase it for under £300 (other potential bidders declining to bid against the Army). The Corps continued to grow and additional temporary outbuildings had to be erected to accomodate them.

Eventually, in February 1966 work started on a new hall, on a site on the opposite side of Lammas Walk. This new hall (the current Citadel) was opened on 8th October 1966, by Commissioner Erik Wickberg, Chief of Staff of the Salvation Army.