The Poor Man’s Palace #OnThisDay

On the 7th of August 1879 The Salvation Army Openshaw Citadel was opened in Manchester. It became known as The Poor Man’s Palace.

Manchester was central to the success of the Industrial Revolution in England. Cheap imports of raw materials came in through the great port of Liverpool from the colonies of the British Empire, and before it was abolished, from the slavery plantations.

Manchester grew to become the centre of Lancashire’s cotton industry and was dubbed “Cottonopolis“, and a branch of the Bank of England was established in 1826.


With great wealth for the few comes hardship and poverty for many. In 1819 a peaceful demonstration was turned into a bloodbath when people, some of them soldiers who had returned from the Napoleonic Wars, were cut down where they stood. It became known as ‘The Peterloo Massacre’. ‘Elections Belong To The People’

The Salvation Army began in the East End of London but soon spread to the big industrial cities of England, responding to the needs of the poor both with preaching Christian values but also with practical help: “soup, soap and salvation”.

The Openshaw Citadel was the third building of its kind opened by the Salvation Army in Manchester. It was there the poor of Manchester and those who were struggling could find help – and it became known as ‘The Poor Man’s Palace’.

It was closed in the 1970s and the Salvation Army moved to premises in Grosvenor Street, Manchester.

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