|In 1882 when The Salvation Army became involved it was by then well known as a meeting place for people of dubious repute. Right in the garden prostitutes gathered to ply their nightly trade. William Booth already knew of this deplorable situation when he became aware that the property was being offered for lease. It was for him the moment to act. Obtaining the lease was for Booth a deliberate attempt to bring an end to the impact the Eagle had been making on the community and at the same time the opportunity to develop it as a facility for the work of God.
The cost of this transaction was agreed upon, and the funds were raised to purchase the lease of the tavern and the grounds, which housed a music hall and included the "Grecian Theater" with gardens. Commissioner Railton was in charge of the opening meetings.
As soon as The Salvation Army occupied the buildings a raging storm of opposition broke out.
The avers side of the medallion shows the facade of the Eagle Tavern. The inscription says
THE SALVATION ARMY
In the section below is written:
The revers side of the medaillon says:
EAGLE TAVERN AND GRECIAN THEATRE, OCCUPIED BY THE SALVATION ARMY
SEPT 21.1882 CAPTURED, AUGUST 10.1882
||As the Salvationists attempted to sing the place was assaulted by a howling mob which drowned out the music. Day and night the area was infested with patrols of drunkards, pimps and armed men, so much that even Booth's life was in danger. The police were required to restore security.
Legal process against The Salvation Army soon followed. The main contention was that the ownership of the property included with it the ownership of the lease of a drinking establishment and therefore the selling of alcohol. But this was of course never the intention of The Salvation Army.
In the end the court ruled in favour of the drink interests against The Salvation Army and in this case the alcohol was the winner.
A familiar old English song contains these lines, referring to the tavern:
"Up and down the City Road, in and out the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel!"