Founded (1844) by a group of twelve young draper's assistants headed by George Williams (b. 1821) for ‘the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in drapery and other trades’, who then lived in appalling urban conditions. Meeting for prayer and Bible study, they impressed Lord Shaftesbury, who became the YMCA's first president (1851–85). It spread rapidly throughout Britain and, after the Great Exhibition (1851), world‐wide.
Subjects: Regional and National History.