Galt, John

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Date of Death:
Galt, John

John Galt was a missionary whose commitment to the London City Mission compelled him to produce powerful photographs of the East End.

Galt was born in Elgin, Morayshire. After school, he was apprenticed to a local draper. A few years later, he moved to London, where he worked in the profitable West End textile industry.

However, distressed by the exploitation of cheap labour he witnessed in East End sweatshops, and driven by his religion, Galt applied for missionary service in the Congo. He was rejected on medical grounds, so channelled his Christian devotion into the Baptist Forward Movement instead. At 26, Galt had joined the London City Mission as a probationer.

In 1890, as a full missionary, Galt was assigned to the Tent Street Mission, Bethnal Green. This was one of several mission houses for London City Mission activities, and Galt was one of over 100 missionaries dedicated to its cause.

When his Mission closed a few years later, Galt transferred to Poplar. With his new wife, Frances Jackson, he began to tackle the surrounding poverty. The extraordinary hardships caused by the 1893-4 winter, when the Thames froze and the docks ground to a halt, forcing many locals out of work, prompted the initiation of a relief fund.

To raise money for Mission operations, missionaries travelled the country approaching churches for donations. Galt made many such journeys in the early 1900s.

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