Celebrating the remarkable life of the ‘Mother of the Sally Army’


Catherine Booth, who co-founded The Salvation Army with husband William, died 130 years ago this month. Nicola Lisle explores her extraordinary life and her deep Derbyshire connections.

THE seeds for international Christian charity The Salvation Army could be said to have been at least partly sown in Ashbourne. It was here, in a humble cottage in Sturston Road (formerly Lane), that Catherine Booth, nee Mumford, was born on January 17, 1829. She was the only daughter of strict Methodists John Mumford, a carriage builder and lay preacher, and his wife Sarah. Of Catherine’s four brothers, only one, John, survived infancy. Catherine’s upbringing at Sturston, and later (from 1834) at Boston in Lincolnshire, was rather unorthodox and largely shaped by her mother. Sarah Mumford was anxious that her children should not be corrupted by outside influences, so they were given a strict religious education at home and forbidden from playing with other children…