In response to unhealthy
social conditions arising in the big cities at the end of the Industrial
Revolution, the Young Men's Christian Association was founded in London,
England, on June 6, 1844, Growth of the railroads and centralization
of commerce and industry brought many rural young men who needed jobs into
cities like London. They worked under deplorable conditions up to 12 hours a
day, six days a week.
Far from home and family, many of these young men lived at the workplace. They
slept in crowded rooms over the company's shop, a location which proved to be
safer than London's tenements and streets. Outside the shop things were
dangerous—open sewers, thieves, thugs, beggars, drunks, prostitutes and
homeless children running wild by the thousands.
Founder, Sir George
Williams was born on a small farm in 1821,
came to London 20 years later as a sales assistant in a draper's shop, a
forerunner of today's department store. He and a group of fellow drapers
organized the first YMCA to substitute Bible study and prayer for life on the
streets. By 1851 there were 24 years in Great Britain, with a combined
membership of 2,700. That same year the Y arrived in North America: It was
established in Montreal on November 25, and in Boston on December 29.
The idea proved so popular that in 1853,
the first YMCA for African Americans was founded in Washington, D.C., by Anthony
Bowen, a freed slave. The next year the first international convention was held
in Paris. At the time there were 397 separate Y's in seven nations, with 30,369
Sir George Williams was
born on October 11, 1821, the youngest of eight children. When he came to
London, he described himself as a "careless, thoughtless, godless,
swearing young fellow," but while staying in the town of Bridgewater
and learning to become a draper (clothing goods trade) he became a devout
Christian. Aware of the terrible conditions in London for young men like
himself, who came to the city to work and were faced with few recreational
opportunities other than saloons and brothels, he gathered a group of young men
together for prayer and reflection. This developed into the YMCA.
Williams was not memorable just for this. He was a crusader for improved working
conditions such as shorter hours (a standard working day was 15 or so hours),
and as he became a successful businessman, he gave away approximately two-thirds
of his income.
He has been commemorated by a stained glass window in Westminster Abbey and is
buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, both among the highest honors given to English
national heroes. -- Partial
Text courtesy of the: YMCA
Here for the Guide to the Archives of the YMCA
George Williams and the
... References. Binfield, C. (1973) George Williams and the YMCA. A
study in Victorian social attitudes, London: Heinemann. ...
WILLIAMS & THE YMCA
SIR GEORGE WILLIAMS & THE YMCA. An article for the April
1996 Deep Cove Crier Once a year, Easter ...
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George Williams College, United Kingdom
... Name: YMCA George Williams College. Region: Europe - United Kingdom.
The YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) National College was established
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George Williams College
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Who was George
Who was George Williams? Sir George Williams was born on October 11, 1821 ...
This developed into the YMCA. Williams was not memorable just ...
YMCA - Young Mens Christian Association
- Brisbane Australia
Visit www.ymca.org.au for the latest information on Fitness, Sport, Childcare,
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... the world - the YMCA. George Williams' YMCA legacy was so highly regarded
he was knighted and, upon his death in 1905, buried in St. Paul's Cathedral ...
... Schools. In 1926, the Montreal YMCA Schools changed its name to Sir George
College in honor of the founder of the YMCA (London, England, 1844). The ...
Town Web Links
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Training & Development | TRAINING
... Miriam Jackson from the Regional Youth Work Unit. Specialist advisors
Winstanley from George Williams College YMCA and Pat Ledwith from PAULO. ...
... YMCA George Williams College 199 Freemasons Road, Canning Town,
London E16 3PY; Tel: (171) 540 4900; Fax: (171) 511 4900. ...
YMCA's around the world
... United Kingdom YMCA Anglia & Central Region YMCA England YMCA George
YMCA George Williams College--Informal Page YMCA Wales YMCA World Urban ...
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... In Europe, George Williams and his associates introduced the YMCA movement
France, and to other major capitals. By 1854, 397 associations had 30,369 ...