(Abandoned Salvation Army citadels and corps buildings in Britain, the US and Australia)
Nowadays, the Salvation Army is best known as the international organisation that runs thrift stores, charity shops and shelters, and provides disaster relief around the world. After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the quasi-military organisation, which has its roots in Methodism, was on hand to provide humanitarian aid and offer support to the emergency services. With a presence in 127 countries and a global membership of over 1.5 million soldiers, adherents and ‘Salvationists’, the Army seeks to advance the Christian mission and meet the “physical and spiritual needs” of the poor, the hungry and the destitute.
(Image: Ian S; the abandoned Salvation Army citadel in Sheffield)
In addition to its charity work, the Salvation Army is also a Protestant church. Founded by British Methodists Catherine and William Booth, the organisation’s quasi-military theology is reflected in the castellated design of many of its church buildings, also known as citadels or corps (the latter pertaining to both a physical place of worship as well as a local church body). This design influence can be seen in several of the abandoned Salvation Army Citadels and corps buildings featured here, most notably the derelict structure on Cross Burgess Street on Sheffield (which, relatively speaking, isn’t too far from Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the birth place of co-founder Catherine Booth).
Abandoned Salvation Army Citadel in Sheffield, England
(Images: Google Street View; derelict Salvation Army citadel in Sheffield)
Jump on Google and search for “abandoned Salvation Army citadels” and this building in central Sheffield features prominently. The neglected red-brick Corps building has been empty since around the turn of the millennium when the Salvation Army moved to another location in Psalter Lane. The abandoned citadel in Cross Burgess Street was taken over by the Occupy Sheffield group in 2012, who renamed it the Citadel of Hope and intended to open it up to the local community.
(Image: Christopher Hilton; neglected Citadel of Hope in Cross Burgess Street)
Apparently not much has happened since then; 2016 imagery courtesy of Google Street View (top) reveals the abandoned Salvation Army Citadel’s distinctive facade looking as neglected as ever, despite a signboard marketing its availability as a “new retail opportunity”.
Derelict Salvation Army Center in Detroit, USA
(Images: Google Street View; Detroit’s derelict Salvation Army meeting hall)
Detroit Urbex writes: “Unfortunately, details about this location are hard to come by. It was built in 1927 by the Salvation Army, and was later used as a rental hall by Okuns Ventures. Amenities included a chapel, banquet halls, offices, and a kitchen… The smaller single-story addition was used as a medical clinic.”
Recent years have been particularly unkind to the abandoned Salvation Army hall (which had latterly been known as the Word and Faith Christian Center), which was just one of many historic derelict places in a city that’s known for its modern ruins. As Detroit Urbex points out: “This building is another example of how quickly scrappers move. Just a few days after taking these pictures, the front door was smashed in and the basement flooded. A week later the windows were gone… On October 19th, 2014, the building burned down.”
Abandoned Salvation Army Corps in Portland, England
(Images: Google Street View; abandoned Salvation Army Corps in Portland, Dorset)
Empty and boarded-up, it otherwise appears to be in good condition. The congregation remains active too, albeit at a different premises. A signboard on the front of the abandoned citadel states: “The Salvation Army Portland Corps has moved to the Methodist Weston Room Easton Square”.
This attractive structure is built from the same stone as its surrounding buildings on Easton Street in Portland, Dorset. The photograph of the abandoned Salvation Army corps building is taken from a Google Earth image dating to 2009. If you live nearby and know of the structure’s fate, please drop us a comment below.
Abandoned Salvation Army Citadel in Dubbo, Australia
(Images: Google Street View)
Built in 1935, this abandoned Salvation Army citadel in New South Wales, Australia, is located in the aptly named Church Street, in the city of Dubbo. The sign above the door suggests the shuttered place of worship was last used by the Western Plains Baptist Fellowship. This May 2015 Google Street View image shows the building to be available to lease.
Demolished Salvation Army Hall in Falkirk, Scotland
(Image: Google Street View)
Take a drive down Bank Street in Falkirk via Google Street View and you’ll find an ominous patch of neglected wasteland where the abandoned Salvation Army Hall once stood. Its empty ghost can still be seen on Google Earth from above and also appears on Bing Maps. Sadly, however, the notable 20th century structure was demolished a few years ago.
(Image: Google Street View)
The Falkirk Herald writes: “The Army arrived in Falkirk in 1886 with premises at the east end of the High Street. The early days were not too promising because their enthusiastic and very public approach to worship did not appeal to the existing churches and most hoped they would soon fade away. Thankfully attitudes changed and the Army prospered. On July 23, 1910, their new Bank Street building was dedicated by Army Commissioner William Eadie, Provost Archibald Christie and many of the town’s most prominent citizens.”
(Image: Google Street View)
A century later, however, the historic building’s fortunes had changed, and the old citadel was abandoned and later demolished. According to the newspaper: “The Army moved in recent years to their new centre on High Station Road and sadly the Bank Street hall disappeared along with James Murphy’s Wire Works next door.”