Salvationist, friends and members of the public can join The Salvation Army's 150th anniversary celebrations through an opportunity to see 'behind the scenes' at International Headquarters (IHQ) during Open House London 2015. A citywide celebration of the buildings, places and spaces where people live and work, Open House provides a unique opportunity to see, explore and learn about London's amazing architecture and design over one weekend, offering access to more than 700 buildings in the city and allowing people to see areas that are usually closed to the public. IHQ will feature on Saturday 19 September, opening from 10am to 4.30pm.
The Open House London website (www.openhouselondon.org.uk) says the selection of buildings includes 'beautifully designed residences, innovative infrastructure projects and prestigious civic buildings, alongside a programme of neighbourhood walks, engineering and landscape tours, cycle rides and experts' talks – all for free.'
This will be the sixth time that IHQ has taken part in Open House London. Architects from Sheppard Robson, the company that designed the building, will be on hand to explain significant design aspects while Salvation Army staff will welcome people and assist with tours. The last entry for a tour is 4pm.
For many people this will be a special opportunity to spend time in the serene surroundings of the International Chapel or visit the General's office. The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner William Roberts, will be in his office to meet people and share his experiences of IHQ and the international ministry of The Salvation Army.
The 101 Queen Victoria Street site has been home to IHQ since 1881, with the current building constructed in 2004 – remarkably, at no cost to The Salvation Army. Presentations at midday and 2pm by renowned Salvation Army historian Lieut-Colonel Jenty Fairbank will provide insight to the Army's time on the site and other information from the movement's 150-year history.
Food will be available from Café 101 all day and there will be plenty to look at in the adjoining Gallery 101, which will host Inspiration, an exhibition created by clients from the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA). There will also be activities for children, including face-painting.
Music will be provided outside the front door by Regent Hall Band in the morning and Maidstone Band in the afternoon.
As has been the case for previous Open House events, Major Beverly Ivany, writer of The Salvation Army's daily Bible reading series Words of Life, will be signing copies of the latest edition and answering questions about her writing ministry. A selection of Salvation Books publications will also be available.