A Potted History of The Beginnings of Hadleigh Temple Corps
Although the corps itself is relatively new in Salvation Army terms, Salvation Army service in Hadleigh can trace its roots back to the founder himself. Hadleigh was the location for the realisation of his vision for a farm colony described in his book In Darkest England and the Way Out.
In this book, General Booth says:
‘My present idea is to take an estate from five hundred to one thousand acres within reasonable distance of London. It should be of such land as will be suitable for market gardening, while having some clay on it for brick-making and for crops requiring a heavier soil. If possible, it should not only be on a line of railway which is managed by intelligent and progressive directors, but it should have access to the sea and the river.’
Part of the colony was a worship hall, known as ‘the Citadel’. In the period between the wars, it was decided to build an additional worship hall away from the colony, in the town of Hadleigh and a site was secured on the main road. The purpose of this was to create a centre that would be accessible to the townsfolk. This centre opened as a corps in 1938. It couldn’t be called ‘Hadleigh Corps’ because there was a corps in another Hadleigh, in Suffolk. It couldn’t be called ‘Hadleigh Citadel’ because of potential confusion with the citadel on the colony. So the name ‘Hadleigh Temple’ was given.
In the 1990s it became clear that the building that had served the salvationists for over 50 years was showing its age and was inadequate for the corps’ needs into the 21st century. A new larger building was commissioned, which was opened in 2003. It has enabled the corps to extend its outreach to the community but already some feel that even that building may have been outgrown. But then before the original hall was opened in 1938 the then commanding officer wrote to headquarters concerned that the hall wasn’t going to be big enough. History repeats itself?