After the Victorian Era and the Industrial Revolution there became two distinct and divided social classes in England – the rich and the very poor. Workers migrated to London because they could find work there. They were known as the “working class” and were composed of Englishmen, Irishmen, and the poor Jewish Immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. But the wages they earned were not enough to sustain a decent life. These workers barely had money for food and shelter, and most of them ended up in the great slums of London – the worst being the East End. The living conditions were deplorable, and it was not uncommon for three or four families to live in one dwelling. Workers (men, women and children) would come home after 12 hours or more in the factory and sit down to eat stew made out of potatoes and cheap vegetables – in urban areas, meat was a rarity. Many children did not make it to adulthood, and if they did, most only lived to be 40. But, from this breeding ground of human squalor, a light of salvation emerged with the war cry of “Soup, Soap and Salvation” when William Booth, a revivalist preacher, and his wife, Catherine, waged war against the evils of society with military efficiency. They founded the Christian Mission which, over time, became known as the Salvation Army. Men and women were equal in this new army, which waged a war on London’s slums by starting soup kitchens, preaching and helping the destitute. The Salvation Army grew and expanded. In America, during the Great Depression, it housed and fed many of the needy families. After its help with the armed forces during WW-I and WW-II, the Salvation Army became recognized as an international charity organization. One hundred and fifty years ago (1865) one minister and his wife were brave enough to shine a light into the cesspool of depravity and extreme poverty in the slums of London. From the East End to the world, that light has turned into a beacon, improving the lives of people and the communities where they live.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.