The outdoor services at Bolton were held in the Market Square on the steps of the Town Hall, where from two to three thousand people gathered to hear addresses by Mr. and Mrs. Corbridge and myself.

We had some difficulties with the Roman Catholics. Several of them were converted, and two young women brought their beads and rosary to Mrs. Corbridge and gave them up. This roused the anger of other Roman Catholics in the town and of the priests. One night Mr. Corbridge was not feeling well and stayed at home, Mrs. Corbridge remaining to nurse him. So I had to conduct the open-air service in the Market Square alone. The crowd was larger than I had ever seen it before. My workers rallied round me and I was provided with a chair. As the service proceeded the crowd grew. Until the benediction was pronounced everything had gone on in peace and quietness, but the moment the benediction was said the crowd began to sway menacingly. My band of workers and myself were in the centre. The swaying grew more powerful and the people more excited. Then they set up one of those wild Irish Catholic yells and closed in upon us. My workers gathered round me for my protection. One ferocious woman in the crowd took off her clog and struck at me with the heel. But just as she was driving the blow home, her companion came between me and the heel and was felled to the ground. There were a few policemen near the spot, and when they heard the yelling and perceived what it meant they worked their way into the crowd and came to my rescue.


From: Gypsy Smith (1860-1947) His Life & Work By Himself

First Printed in 1901 in London as a 363-page book.