chapter  3
45 Pages

The Reverend William

This chapter focuses on William Booth's life between 1850 and 1870 and the development of his thought and work. This period included Booth's critical decision to base his future work in Whitechapel. The size and density of the London residuum was crucial to this decision and the chapter examines the living conditions of the people of Whitechapel, their work, poverty and lifestyles and the impact these had on Booth. The first interactions between Booth and the London residuum took place in these two decades. Booth began his ministry with evangelical certainties, but he worked in an era when people were beginning to feel less certain of beliefs and theories that had been dominant for decades, sometimes centuries. Both natural science and biblical criticism articulated a changing background to the life of the church. It was the size of the residuum that was crucial to Booth's decision to stay in the East End.