Writing the stuff down that's not allowed on the AWARE terminal.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Skeleton Army

In 1861 William Booth resigned from the Methodists in Liverpool and headed for London where, in the grand tradition of metropolitan reinvention, he founded his own church and took Christ, bread and social work to the heathen natives of east London. In 1878 he declared that he was tired of being called a volunteer and that he was a regular in the army of Christ or nothing at all; thus the Salvation Army was born.

But no army, however pure its motives, occupies a foreign country without resistance, and this was provided by the Skeleton Army. Driven by gin, bone-headedness and growling resentment that being the Victorian working class was bad enough without having to be preached at by a bunch of self-righteous northerners, the Skeleton Army broke up Salvation Army meetings, disrupted marches and attacked its officer corps.

The emblem of the Skeleton Army was a white skeleton against a black background – a badge worn by right-thinking ne’er-do-wells from Worthing to Bethnal Green.

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