BBC2’s Series “A House Through Time” Highlights The Salvation Army’s Good Works

Written by: Posted on: 22 May 2019

BBC2’s Series, A House Through Time, Highlights The Salvation Army’s Good Works

The Salvation Army has played an important role in the UK’s social history. This role was highlighted in an episode of the BBC2 TV series, A House Through Time. Seeing as how the second series centres on 5 Ravensworth Terrace, a Georgian property in Newcastle that once belonged to The Salvation Army, it’s only reasonable to expect coverage for the charity.

Twenty Twenty Television, the production company behind the series, dedicated the fourth episode to the Goodwill Centre which operated from the property between 1964 and 1982. This Goodwill Centre, as well as the centres throughout the UK, provided vulnerable people with practical assistance to better manage their lives.

Getting the inside story

Twenty Twenty turned to The Salvation Army’s International Heritage Centre to get the inside scoop on the Goodwill Centre’s operations at that time. In addition to providing historical information, the Heritage Centre arranged for a meeting with Major Eileen Moffatt, who was a lieutenant at the Goodwill Centre for four years in the 1970s. Now retired, Major Eileen regaled presenter David Olusoga with stories of her time at the centre.

According to Major Eileen, the centre was a hub for people with a variety of needs. In turn, the centre would provide people with a good meal, financial assistance, and child support.

Major Eileen said, “We gave everyone who came to the Goodwill Centre a cup of tea and a biscuit and we listened to whatever was troubling them. But what we tried to do most was to give them some worth. We’d say, ‘okay, perhaps things are difficult right now, but it won’t always be so, you can get through this’.”

Major Eileen felt that working at the centre was a calling. “I just wanted to make a difference, if I could, to those in the area at the time. I did what I did because I felt that is what the Lord wanted me to do.”

Past to present

In addition to interviewing Major Eileen about the good works of yesteryear, David talked to Salvationist Bill Ions at the charity’s Newcastle City Temple congregation at Brunswick Methodist Church. The primary topic of conversation was The Salvation Army’s current role in the city, including how the Goodwill Centres and corps continually adapt to the changing needs of local communities.

Bill also commended the people living in the North East as being strong and resilient, especially those living in poverty and facing challenging circumstances that continue to exist in the area. The Salvation Army’s centres and initiatives do a lot to relieve and empower citizens, but commitment from people in local communities is essential to the charity’s overarching success.

The Salvation Army’s part in the property’s history is featured in episode four of the series, which first aired on the 29th of April 2019.
The final programme in the series is available on BBC iPlayer until the 30th of May 2019.


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