Instrument Making of the Salvation Army

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The Salvation Army has effectively used brass bands to further its evangelical purpose in Britain and overseas. In 1882 the Army set up a Trade Department in London to manage the provision of goods and services for its activities. One operation of the Trade Department was the supply of brass instruments, soon expanded to brass instrument repair and then to the in-house manufacture of the brass instruments used by Salvation Army bands. After occupying workshops in various London premises, a factory was established in St Albans in 1901 which employed over seventy at its peak. The Army ceased manufacture in 1972. This article relates how the Salvation Army commenced instrument making, discusses their business model and staffing, describes their instruments and how these met their own specific requirements. The disruption of two world wars and the reasons for the eventual cessation of instrument making are outlined, and a brief account is given of extant ‘own make’ instruments.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-59
Number of pages30
JournalGalpin Society Journal
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 24 Mar 2020