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This article came from the Chronicle published April 1984. Page 82



Author: W.T.J.Chapman


In 1982 the Yorkshire Evening Press celebrated its centenary year. The following is an item from one of its earliest editions:

“There were riots in the Somerset town of Yeovil where people were trampled upon but none seriously hurt. The Salvation Army singing was drowned in the cheers of the rioters and blows were freely dealt”.

Having had my interest stimulated by this account, I referred to the records of the Western Gazette for October, 1882 and came across this report of October 6th :-

“More Salvation Army disturbances

There was a repetition on Monday evening of the disgraceful proceedings which have been frequent since the Salvation Army commenced operations in the town (Yeovil). The Army met with some opposition on assembly in Wellington Street and were followed on their march towards the Borough by a group of several hundred persons. On coming near the Wilts and Dorset Bank, the Army halted and were soon surrounded by a group, consisting principally of boys. Whilst the Salvationists sang hymns, their opponents shouted and hooted and at times nothing but the cheers of the crowd could be heard. Coloured fires were also lighted giving a weird appearance to the scene and whilst attention was being directed to this unusual occurrence, the crowd hustled the Salvationists and treated some of the members rather roughly. At length a move was made for the Barracks. The Salvationists experienced great difficulty in breaking through the crowd and they had anything but a pleasant journey through Middle Street. There were probably a thousand persons present and it is surprising that no accident occurred, as several buses and other vehicles drove through the crowd. On arriving at the Barracks the mob halted and when the Salvation Army leaders and their friends had gone into the Barracks, their opponents dispersed.

The Police did not interfere”.

Such were the riots in our town of Yeovil that made news in the Yorkshire Evening Press, in October, 1882.

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