Young Mens Christian Association

From Historical Hastings

Formed in 1844 by George Williams, the Young Mens Christian Association, or YMCA as it is more commonly called, was originally a prayer and bible study group made up of male shop workers living in the London area. It quickly expanded to have forty groups outside of London by 1855. The main purpose of the group was to improve the 'spiritual and mental condition' of young men, who otherwise may have sought company in the various pubs and beer-houses of the time. The various local associations founded libraries and gave evening classes, then expanded into providing accommodation.

Local Association

Brett gives record of a meeting in March of 1856, where a lecture was delivered by Dr. Armstrong of Bermondsey on "Protestantism as distinguished from Real Popery"[1]. Reported as moving from the Memorial Buildings to 'Shaftsbury Rooms' at 12, Claremont on the 18th of September of 1885[2][notes 1]. The premises at number 12, Claremont appear to have been shared with other enterprises, these being the South of England Telephone Company Ltd and J. and A. Bray's auction rooms between 1886 and 1896.[3] By 1899, the YMCA in Hastings were reportedly in some financial difficulty[4] and finally closed in 1903[3].


On the 11th of November 1907, a meeting was held to form a new local branch and by 1908, they occupied new premises at 41 Havelock Road[5] Between 1907 and 1936, the YMCA had property on Breeds Place in a building next to Mastins department store from where they ran a 'shadow' town council called the Y. M. C. A. Town Council and debated items of political interest.

Notable Members

Current Location

The association has been at its current location in St Pauls Road since 1970.



  1. According to section 5.4.1 of this document; Interpretive Survey of premises in Claremont, they are recorded as using the premises at Claremont in 1871

References & Notes

  1. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 56
  2. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 26 September 1885 pg. 3.
  3. a b Interpretive Survey of premises in Claremont
  4. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 24 Feb 1899
  5. Hastings Chronicle