William Booth
Born: 10 Apr, 1829
Died: 20 Aug, 1912
Field: Priest; philanthropist
Location in the Abbey: Georges chapel
Type of memorial: Bust
Type of material: Marble

On 2 July 1965 a memorial bust was unveiled in St George's chapel in Westminster Abbey to William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. This is a replica in white Palombino marble of a bronze bust  by the General's grand-daughter Mary, in the possession of the Salvation Army. The inscription reads:

"William Booth Founder and First General of the Salvation Army 1829-1912"

He was born in Sneinton, Nottingham on 10 April 1829, a child of Samuel Booth and his second wife Mary (Moss). His family were poor and he was apprenticed to a pawnbroker and later became a lay preacher. Moving to London he married in 1855 writer Catherine Mumford (died 1890) and they had three sons, (William) Bramwell Booth, Ballington and Herbert and five daughters, preacher Catherine Booth-Clibborn, Emma (Tucker), Marian, Evangeline and Lucy (Hellberg). Ten years later they set up the Christian Mission in the Whitechapel area of east London, which became the Salvation Army. The movement spread and tours were made to the USA and India. He died on 20 August 1912 and was buried with his wife (and son William) at Abney Park cemetery, Stoke Newington in London.

A photo of the memorial can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading

for William and his wife, Bramwell and Catherine Clibborn:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

"Life of William Booth" by H.Begbie, 2 vols. 1920.

William Booth birthplace museum www.wbbm@salvationarmy.org.uk

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