Brethren Archive
Monday December 5, 2016

Gospel Vehicles

Some while ago a brother who had visited the website and seen my interest in Victorian gospel work, got in contact about a collection he has built up of several thousand photographs, postcards etc of 'Gospel Vehicles', from the Victorian era to the present day. Many books I have retell stories of this type of evangelism in days gone by, people whose whole life sometimes was just to travel around in one of these carts, maybe selling Bibles to pay expenses but with the sole intention of spreading the Word. Anyway the brother kindly shared with me a few scans I could use for the website. Would love to get more of these type of pictures!



["Christ Our Life" Photographic black & white card of travelling preachers postcard]





[Evangelism CARAVAN Probably at BEDFORD Unglazed Real Photograph 1905]



[Evangelists prepare their 'gospel caravan' for a meeting  in Chesham. Early 20th century.]



[Gospel Wagon, C Taylor]



[Gospel Van]



[Swindon, 1918]



[The Gospel Van, Birkenhead, England, 1894]


In This Section

Lance said ...
Thank you Tom
Fascinating - I see some have the preachers names
Tuesday, Dec 6, 2016 : 20:34
jeff said ...
Thanks for sharing these pictures of Gospel vehicles. I was raised in an assembly of Bible believers who got their start from a brother that was saved at a tent meeting in Oakland, California. The evangelist was Harry Ironside, a prominent Plymouth Brethren. The brother I referred to went by the name of Nels Thompson who designed his car and coach with Gospel verses lettered in Old Gothic style. Check out the website and you can see the cars I grew up with from the 30's through the 80's.
Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 : 23:49
D. Nels Reese said ...
Hello Tom, I just recently discovered your website and am very interested in learning from it. I am the grandson of Nels Thompson, who as a Danish immigrant, found his salvation through Harry Ironside in Oakland, CA. (Ironside was a rather famous teacher and preacher related to the Plymouth Brethren) Thompsons particular claim to fame was the use of Scriptures written on Gospel Cars. I am particularly intersted in the Victorian Gospel Vehicles and would love to know more about them and would be happy to pay for your permission to publish a few of them. I am writing a book about similar vehicles in the American West. My working title is Nels Thompson and the People of the Godmobiles. My e-mail is and I live in Mocow, Idaho, 83843. Address, 308 South Hayes St. I presume you are in the UK. I would be happy to share information with you. My grandfather, bolted from the Plymouth Brethren around 1919 but held to their basic priciples with the exception of water baptism. He was the leader of a group of Christians in the American West that included 20 assemblies in five states and Canada. I hope you are still active in this work as I find the Gospel Vehicles a very important piece of research for my upcoming book. I go by Nels as I was named after my grandfather. The D is for David my given first name. Sincerely
Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019 : 04:38
Tom said ...

Thanks for your comment Nels; I find the vehicles fascinating too -- there are stories of this work in some of the Victorian Gospel Work books I have, e.g. the biography of Ned Wright in particular I remember. The photos here, as says at the top, were given to me by another person; I am sure he wouldn't mind you publishing them, but I can put you in contact with him if you would like. Would be glad for more information on your discoveries too, and the book of course when you finish it! best, Tom

Friday, Jan 11, 2019 : 17:38
Walt said ...
I would be interested in information about the connection between the Portland meeting with Dee McCroskey and Nels Thompson. I remember reading that they were associates in some way. I read some of Brother McCroskeys publications years ago. My address is Thanks for your website.
Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021 : 06:03
Russell said ...
A great collection of photos. I was returning from PA, USA last weekend from an event there with my daughter and her family who live in NJ. Parked at the side of one of the on/off ramps from highway 87 was a large transport trailer with a huge Gospel Verse "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" emblazoned on its side panels.
Friday, Oct 22, 2021 : 19:39
Nick Fleet said ...
There is a Gospel Van at the Black Country Living Museum near Dudley in the Midlands, UK.
Saturday, Oct 23, 2021 : 01:37
Keith Walker said ...
Have you seen A large collection of gospel cars to view.
Are you related then to Ken and Hannah Reese? They stayed with my family when in town preaching at the Longview Assembly back in the 50's and 60's. I was 4 or 5 in early 50s and I remember Ken would bounce me on his knee but made me quote John 3:16 first. Well I hope after all that you are related.
Thursday, Jan 26, 2023 : 10:32
Jeff Cook said ...
Keith, yes, Nels Reese is related as his name Nels is taken from his grandfather Nels Thompson. I might have known you too. I was from the Phoenix assembly back in the early 50-60's. We would travel to the Bible conferences held every Thanksgiving in Gerber/Red Bluff, California. I just remember there were tons of kids there. Where did we all go?
Tuesday, May 16, 2023 : 04:27
David Nels Reese said ...
I am the grandson of a Danish/American evangelist, Nels Thompson who was in the evangelical business between 1915 and 1935. He passed at a young age, of 51, but his followers continued the evangelical work up to the mid 1970s. Thompson was a friend of Harry Ironside while in Oakland between 1912 and 1920. I am working on a book about the group that I call the Thompson Assemblies. I would very much enjoy knowing more about the early Gospel vehicles in England. Do you have any guidance for me. I live in Moscow, Idaho at 308 So. Hayes St, 83843.
Friday, Jan 5, 2024 : 07:10
Bryn Kemp said ...

I am interested in the uncaptioned photo of the Gospel car outside a house with 2 men stood in front and a man on the platform, I guess playing an instrument. Do you have any information on the photo or wagon as I have one very similar and I am trying to find out more information. Mine was built by the Bristol Wagon and Carriage works.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kind regards

Wednesday, Mar 6, 2024 : 15:53

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