Manufactured at the Salvation Army’s Spa Road Centre in London, these tokens were distributed to all the men’s social work centres around Britain. Stamped with ‘F’ and ‘S’ (for Food and Shelter), they were designed to be given out to those in most need – often in return for a chore or small service. They could then be exchanged for provisions or a roof for the night at any of their branches. Such a system allowed the organisation to ensure that their resources weren’t over allocated.
They are still waging war on poverty over a century and a half after William Booth, a Methodist preacher, first began his ministry in the East End of London. It can trace its origin to the Blind Beggar pub, still present on Whitechapel Road, and more recently notorious as the spot where Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell. More happily, it enjoys the distinction of being the site where the first modern Brown Ale was brewed!