The First Sale Corps
THE small township of Sale had a population of under 12,000 when the Salvation Army first opened a Corps in the town in 1895.
The area was green and pleasant. It was surrounded by farms and market gardens and the merchants of Manchester found it a desirable location to build their large houses.
Lamplighters would light the lamps one hour before sunset and extinguish them at midnight. The clip clop of horses’ hooves were a common sound. Horse drawn vehicles reigned supreme on the roads.
Cars would be few and far between. The view from Sale Station Bridge down Northenden Road or Broad Road was like looking through a tunnel of trees. It was into this rural scene that the Army first commenced its work at Egerton Street, Sale. Egerton Street is no more but the hall would have been situated at the far end of what is now Waterside 1 off Bridgewater Street, (backing onto the canal) parallel to Harley Road.
There were three blocks of terraced houses on either side of Egerton Street together with two fustian cutting shops or works. One of these was reached by means of a set of wooden stairs erected between the first and second row of houses, the other works was at the far end of the street and was at ground level. It was the latter that the Salvation Army acquired (a large room) as their Barracks or Corps Hall. Thus the Army began its work in Sale at 95 Egerton Street. The room was probably furnished with benches, a raised platform and no decoration.
At number one Egerton Street was the Egerton Street Mission (Wesleyan Mission Room) where a soup kitchen operated and Christmas breakfasts were provided, with the assistance of the Army, for over 300 children, drawn from Sale, Sale Moor and Ashton on Mersey village.
The Corps thrived. The band mainly held their open air meetings on Sale Station Bridge, after which they would lead the march of singing and tambourine playing Salvationists down Chapel Road (paved with cobble stones) back to their hall in Egerton Street.
In 1896 the grandfather of Ernie Young (retired bandmaster) was promoted Captain and appointed to Sale Corps.
The Officers at Sale in February 1900 were A. Clark and M. Dinning. They would probably have stayed for five or six months before being moved to another appointment.
Much excitement was caused in August 1904 by the visit of the Founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, to Sale during his motorcade from Lands End to Aberdeen. The run from Leigh to Sale was made in pelting rain past decorated houses and groups of bystanders. The General wore a white mackintosh and motoring-cap. He met with dignitaries of the town in Sale Public Hall before the motorcade made its way to Manchester and thence to Bolton.
The Sale Public Hall (known as the Palace Cinema in the 1950’s) was situated on Ashton Lane opposite Park Road, near to the site of our present Hall.
That night a meeting, conducted by Adjutant Clarke and others, was held at the Ashton-on-Mersey Congregational Church.
The Corps closed sometime in 1909 though the Barracks continued to appear in the street directory until 1912.
Written & researched by Baden Bishton