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William Booth Memorial Halls

A Grade II Listed Building in St Ann's, Nottingham

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Latitude: 52.9564 / 52°57'22"N

Longitude: -1.1429 / 1°8'34"W

OS Eastings: 457676

OS Northings: 340233

OS Grid: SK576402

Mapcode National: GBR LQN.PC

Mapcode Global: WHDGS.DYZF

Plus Code: 9C4WXV44+HR

Entry Name: William Booth Memorial Halls

Listing Date: 8 January 2021

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1454672

Location: St. Ann's, Nottingham, NG1

County: Nottingham

Electoral Ward/Division: St Ann's

Built-Up Area: Nottingham

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire


William Booth Memorial Halls, built 1914-15 to the designs of Oswald Archer.


William Booth Memorial Halls, built 1914-15 to the designs of Oswald Archer.

Materials: red brick laid in English bond with stone detailing and slate roof covering.

Plan: sub rectangular in plan, with an apsidal northern end.

The rear block to the south-west and the small extension to the east, both added in the late 1980s, are excluded from the listing.

Exterior: the eclectic neo-classical design is most clearly expressed at the northern end, around the principal entrance of the building. The entrance comprises an almost double-height, double-leaf multi panelled timber door with a domed over light subdivided with timber glazing bars and leaded lights. The deeply channelled rusticated stone door surround has an elliptical arch above and an enlarged key block which extends into a plaque above. The embossed memorial plaque reads ‘THE SALVATION ARMY/ WILLIAM BOOTH/ MEMORIAL HALLS.’ The plaque is surmounted by a shallow segmental pediment and above that a partially balustraded parapet, behind which stands a squat domed tower. A window on each face of the square plan tower has a moulded stone surround with a segmented pediment above and pairs of miniature Ionic columns to either side.

Giant engaged Ionic columns on brick plinths with a moulded stone cornice and dentiled detailing, flank the central door and the smaller doors to either side. The columns, cornice and balustraded parapet continue along the east side of the building with each of the eight bays being defined by a column. Full height windows with moulded stone surrounds and leaded glazing occupy five of the bays, a door and shortened window occupies another whilst a small window at first-floor level occupies another. The eighth bay is blind but with the Salvation Army emblem attached. Plaques positioned above the brick plinth in the first and eighth bays record various people who laid foundation stones during the building's construction on 7 July 1914, these include William Booth’s son Bramwell, the Mayor of Nottingham Councillor Frederick Ball, Frank Bowden JP and Councillor Edwin Mellor JP.

Interior: the principal entrance to the building, at the northern end, leads into a small vestibule. Doors on either side each with pedimented, moulded timber architraves are labelled LADIES and GENTS. Although the architraves are original, the doors have been replaced with C20 fire doors. These each provide access not only to WCs but to a staircase leading to the gallery above the main hall. External doors either side of the principal entrance provided separate access for male and female members and led to the same stairs and ultimately up to the first-floor gallery. Immediately in front of the main entrance, a C20 glazed partition with a sliding door leads to an inner vestibule created by another, similarly dated partition wall which has been inserted to separate the main entrance from the meeting hall. Within this inner vestibule, a moulded cornice and decorative detailing creates a modest but elegant space, with timber panelling across the sloping ceiling reflecting the raked seating of the gallery above. Doors through the C20 inserted partition lead into the main meeting hall. The shallow vaulted ceiling and symmetry of the main hall includes a moulded cornice, and moulded plaster panels between the tall windows. The stage was extended slightly in the early-C21 to provide greater accessibility and additional seating but the form and layout of the original platform is still clearly readable. To the rear of the stage is a portrait of William Booth by William J Carroll presented to the hall by Alderman Sir John Turney.

The gallery at the northern end of the hall is elegantly detailed, with similar moulded plaster panels to the main body of the hall but with added rosette decoration within each of the panels. The original tiered floor survives. A glass screen has been erected to heighten the front of the gallery for safety reasons (a C21 addition). Access to the gallery is provided by a pair of double leaf fire doors (C20 in date) which are positioned slightly off centre in the rear wall of the gallery.


Nottingham occupies an important strategic site on the sandstone cliffs which command an ancient crossing point of the River Trent to the south of the town, the site of the present Trent Bridge. There was no apparent Roman occupation but some pre-C9 history is indicated by its Saxon name – Snotingeham, homestead of the Snots. Nottingham was one of the five boroughs of the Danelaw but in 921 it was recovered by the Saxons. The medieval walled town consisted of the French settlement to the west dominated by the royal castle built by William Peveral for William the Conqueror, and the Anglo-Danish settlement to the east dominated by St Mary’s church with the largest market place in England linking them together. The Trent fostered trade and Nottingham prospered in industry and commerce, chiefly wool-dyeing and cloth-making. The medieval town, according to John Leland, ‘was both a large town and welle builded for tymber and plaister’ with thatched roofs.

After the Civil War, two fashionable quarters grew up, one round St Mary’s church, the other round the rebuilt castle, and by the end of the C17, Nottingham was transformed into an elegant town filled with fine brick townhouses, some with generous gardens. A series of visitors left glowing records of the new town created by this rebuilding. Celia Fiennes in 1694 called it ‘the neatest town I have ever seen’, and Daniel Defoe, thirty years later, said it was ‘one of the most pleasant and beautiful towns in England’. Transformation into an industrial city began in the C18 with the commercial success of the domestic framework-knitting industry, salt-glazed stoneware and brick-making at Mapperley. The population nearly doubled from 28,000 in 1801 to 50,000 in 1830, and the gardens, orchards and other green spaces were gradually built over replacing the once green and pleasant town with a congested industrial one. This was largely caused by the corporation townsmen who were not willing to relinquish common land around the town for development. It was only after the reform of the town council in the 1830s and the eventual passing of a series of Enclosure Acts in the 1840s that land around the town was released to allow for the Victorian expansion to begin in earnest.

After the exodus of large numbers of people to the new suburbs, the lace trade took over the streets round St Mary’s church for its warehouses, and the area became known as the Lace Market. The 1870s saw a spate of public works, such as Trent Bridge (1871), the first Board School (1874), the first industrial dwellings (1876-77), and University College (1877-81); and in 1877 the borough was extended to include Sneinton, Basford, Bulwell, Radford, and Lenton. Nottingham became a city in 1897 but its population increased most significantly when more of the surrounding villages were incorporated in the 1930s and 1950s. Nottingham suffered little war damage but in 1942 a Reconstruction Committee was appointed to plan post-war development. There were major slum clearances and an inner ring road was constructed which disrupted the old town’s plan.

The William Booth Memorial Halls was built in 1914-15 to the designs of Oswald Archer and opened on 12 July 1915 by the Duke of Portland. The building appears to retain its original footprint, occupying a corner at the junction of four main roads; King Edward Street, Beck Street, Bath Street and St Ann’s Well Road.
William Booth (10 April 1829 – 20 August 1912), the founder of the Salvation Army, was born in Sneinton, Nottingham into a relatively wealthy family. The family fortunes declined, however, and in 1842 his family could no longer afford his school fees and the 13 year old William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker. Within two years Booth was converted to Methodism and eventually became a Methodist Lay preacher. When his apprenticeship ended in 1848 he moved to London where he worked as a pawnbroker and took to open-air evangelising. Booth joined the Reformers (Methodist Reform Church) and on his 23rd birthday he became a full time preacher at their headquarters in Binfield, Clapham. In November 1853, he was invited to become the Reformers minister in Spalding, Lincolnshire. He married Catherine Mumford on 16 July 1855. Booth became increasingly unhappy with his position and resigned from the ministry to become an independent evangelist, believing he had found his destiny. Later in 1865 he and his wife opened The Christian Revival Society who wished to share the repentance that salvation can bring through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. The society was later renamed as The Christian Mission and was one of some 500 charitable and religious groups trying to help the poor and needy in London’s East End. In May 1878 William Booth was dictating a letter to his secretary and said ‘we are a volunteer army’, Bramwell Booth heard his father and said ‘Volunteer, I’m no volunteer, I’m a regular’ the word volunteer was removed and replaced by the word salvation and this marked the beginning of the Salvation Army as we know it today, structured in a quasi-military fashion. Today the Salvation Army operates in around 130 countries and provides services in 175 different languages. William Booth received the freedom of the city of Nottingham on 26 October 1905.

Oswald Archer was architect to the Salvation Army from 1906 to around 1936 and in this capacity designed the Salvation Hall, Constitution St in Dundee in 1908, Salvation Army Hall in Falkirk in 1909 (now demolished), York Road Salvation Army Hall in Belfast in 1911 and Salvation Army headquarters in Dublin in 1912, and in partnership with Rowland Anderson Paul and Partners the Salvation Army headquarters and Home in Leith, Edinburgh 1936. Currently he has no listed buildings to his name.

In the late 1980s the rear block of the memorial hall in Nottingham (the former office range) was demolished and a new range built on the footprint, with the reuse of some original architectural features on the King Edward Street elevation. A small single-storey, red-brick extension was also added on the Beck Street side of the building at around the same time. Neither of these extensions are included in the listing.

Reasons for Listing

The William Booth Memorial Halls, built 1914-15 to the designs of Oswald Archer, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural Interest:

* it is a handsome building with a distinctive and well-proportioned neo-classical design, each bay strongly articulated by the attached columns;

* the main meeting hall is a simple and finely detailed space, relying for effect on the shallow-vaulted ceiling embellished with a decorative cornice, the elegantly detailed plasterwork, and the panelled balustrade of the gallery;

* it is a well-preserved example of a Salvation Army hall, retaining the separate stairs for men and women which provide important and evocative evidence of the circulation routes within the building;

* it is a notable example of Archer’s work, clearly demonstrating the hand of an accomplished architect.

Historic interest:

* it is associated with the evangelical and social reformer William Booth who was supremely important in the late C19 development of non-conformity through his establishment of the Salvation Army, the most powerful religious movement to grow from Victorian England which achieved worldwide fame with 2,900 centres in 34 countries, including most of the countries of the British Empire;

* the hall, erected in the parish of his birth, is a fitting memorial to William Booth whose birthplace at 12 Notintone Place is already listed at Grade II.

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