"a disturbance which has made Sheffield almost a scandal to the whole country"

I must admit when I came across this headline in the paper I was shocked and rather intrigued. Whilst I can hardly be called a Salvationist - I have had a long and mostly happy relationship with life's earthly pleasures - I do have a respect for the Army and the work they do especially with regard to missing persons. And I also have respect for people who devote their life for a particular cause. It was therefore with some trepidation that I read the reports of the riots.

The first report was in The Pall Mall Gazette dated Tuesday, January 17, 1882; Issue 5270 


"An extraordinary scene was witnessed yesterday at Sheffield. The Salvation Army decided a short time ago to hold a grand council in the Albert Hall and on Sunday General Booth and Mrs. Booth addressed crowded meetings. In the afternoon the Army marched through the town where they were threatened by a large mob but they reached the hall in safety, Yesterday their march was most disastrous

The procession consisted of three carriages, containing the officers of the Army and a brass band. In the procession was "Lieutenant" Emmerson Davison, a converted Northumbrian wrestler who wore a scarlet tunic and rode a grey horse. As the Salvationists started their "triumphant march" they were pelted with mud and brickbats, the roughs throwing stones and mud at the women, as well as at the male officers of the Army. In consequence of the threatening attitude of the crowd the procession was divided, one party headed by the Northumbrian wrestler going down St Philips and West Bar towards the centre of the town and the other made its way to the Albert Hall by a nearer route. That portion of the procession headed by the wrestler were terribly treated by a crowd of roughs numbering 4000, Some of the members of the Army were blinded and almost choked with mud and their faces cut and bruised with stones. The four standard bearers were dragged about by the hair whilst an attempt was made to wrest the banners from them.

At the bottom of Snig Hill, a comparatively narrow and steep thoroughfare, a young man threw a short stick with great force at Davison striking him with violence at the back of the head and rendering him almost unconscious. He would have fallen off his horse had not two men held him and kept him in his place till he reached the Albert Hall. Davison still almost unconscious, was lifted from his horse and carried into the Hall. The band and the carriages containing General and Mrs, Booth, and other prominent members of the salvation Army were driven to the main entrance and admit scene of considerable excitement a hasty scramble had to be made to reach the interior. Blood was flowing from the heads of several of the bandsmen and the faces and dresses of almost all of them were covered in mud. Medical assistance had to be summoned for Davison and it was discovered that the man was suffering from concussion of the brain and from shock to the system.

A large crowd of roughs waited outside the Albert Hall in expectation that General Booth and his staff would leave for the barracks at the close of the meeting but they wisely decided to remain within the Hall to tea and in readiness for the evening meeting. While the stone throwing was at its worst the police marked tow mwn and have since arrested them as ringleaders"

The second report was a day later and appears Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser (Exeter, England), Wednesday, January 18, 1882; 


The Salvation Army has been conducting services in Sheffield preceded and followed by the usual processions through the streets of the town. During a service on Sunday a crowd collected about the Albert Hall in which it was held and threw mud and stones at the Salvationists as they left the meeting, wounding several of them. On Monday, a disturbance of a more serious kind occurred. About half past one about 700 of the Salvation Army left a place called Thomas Street "barracks" accompanied by a brass band and preceded by a "converted wrestler" in scarlet uniform. wearing a polished helmet and mounted on a white horse. As soon as the procession left the hall it was received with shouts and stones and mud were again thrown at the Salvationists. The converted wrestler was very roughly treated. His uniform was covered with mud, his helmet was knocked off and he and his horse were wounded. A man calling himself " Major Cadman" was also hurt.

At Snig Hill a crowded quarter of the town the converted wrestler received a blow with a stick and would have fallen to the ground had he not been supported. He clung to his horse till the Albert Hall was reached. There it was found that he had sustained concussion of the brain. A female trumpeter who had fainted had also to receive attention and three fourths of the Army were engaged in clearing the mud from their garments and faces before they could hold their "holiness meeting". At Barkers Pool another crows in waiting for the Army created further disturbance. Bricks and stones were thrown and shopkeepers closed their premises for the afternoon. An exciting incident of the last march was " a fight for the colours" but the Salvation Army beat back the crowd and retained their banners"

The Illustrated Police Gazette dated 18th January 1882 carried a graphic illustration and also a report of the riot




A day later on 19th January 1882, under the heading


The Leeds Mercury reported

The final report is in The Pall Mall Gazette dated Saturday, January 28, 1882; and refers to the court case of those arrested at the riots by the police. 


The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Tuesday, January 17, 1882; Issue 5270

Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser (Exeter, England), Wednesday, January 18, 1882; Issue 6031.

The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Saturday, January 28, 1882; Issue 5280. 

The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Thursday, January 19, 1882; Issue 13660.

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