YMCA and YMCA Derbyshire timeline

                                 George Williams
                                                 George Williams

Dr Ogle        Mr H H Bemrose
                         Dr Ogle                                             Mr H H Bemrose



The first Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is formed by George Williams in St Paul's churchyard in the heart of London.


Derby YMCA is founded – one of the first YMCAs in the world outside London. Dr Ogle is one of the leading figures in the Association's early years and served as its president. He is later described fondly as "the dear old doctor".


The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London proves to be a milestone in the YMCA's history as publicity leaflets distributed at the time helped to develop links with other countries.


The World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations is established at the first International Conference of the movement, held in Paris.


Derby YMCA is put on a firmer footing under the presidency of Mr H H Bemrose JP.


Derby YMCA's new facility in St Peter's Churchyard, Derby, is officially opened in the presence of the YMCA Movement's founder, George Williams. As the door is ceremonially opened, Mr Williams expresses his “fervent hope” that it will “prove a door to hope, happiness and success”. The centre cost £2,110 - plus £911 7s. 6d for the gymnasium.

1894 The YMCA movement has become so significant that its 50th anniversary is marked with George Williams receiving a knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Victoria and the Freedom of the City of London.


Sir George Williams dies and is laid to rest in the crypt at St Paul's Cathedral.


During World War I, the British YMCA extends its work across the Channel to support the troops. YMCA huts provide soldiers with food, drink and free writing paper and envelopes.

1932 Derby YMCA provides assistance to locals during Derby's Great Flood.


Derby YMCA operates a war-time tea cabin at the city's rail station.


The YMCA continues its war work and mobile canteens were introduced to bring refreshments to the troops.


A government report is published on the need for better leisure facilities for teenagers. As a result, many YMCAs begin youth clubs to help young people with their personal development through recreation, leisure and informal education.

1961 Derby YMCA's centre on St Peter's Churchyard is sold to Rolls-Royce and we move to temporary accommodation on Friargate.


Derby YMCA moves to Devonshire Court, a new building on London Road in Wilmorton, Derby. The new building is officially opened on 10th April 1967.


The YMCA George Williams College is established to provide professional training for youth workers. It remains today one of the leading training colleges for those working in informal education.


YMCA Training for Life is launched. This will result in the creation of YMCA Training - one of the UK's leading vocational training organisations.


A new residential block, Hilton Court, is opened on Derby YMCA's London Road site by Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.


The YMCA begins work in prisons and young offenders institutions. Today, the YMCA's Prisons Unit works with around 5,000 young people a year, helping them to find accommodation and jobs on their release.


Derby YMCA is renamed YMCA Derbyshire to reflect our growth and also to encompass our activities across the county.


The 150th Anniversary of the World Alliance of YMCAs, culminating in a global event in Mumbai, India from 17th - 22nd August 2005 on the theme 'Celebrating, envisioning and building peace with justice.'


The old Devonshire House building on London Road is demolished, with residents moved to temporary accommodation at Laverstoke Court in Derby. There is no break in service provided.


New YMCA Derbyshire centres are opened in Alfreton and Ilkeston. YMCA Derbyshire's offices in Chesterfield are moved to Field House in Wheatbridge, from where a new Furniture Project is launched.

2009 The new flagship Campus for Learning and Development opens its doors on the old Devonshire House site, providing residential accommodation, training facilities, an enterprise zone, conference facilities, office space and a café.


The Campus for Learning and Development is formally opened on 2nd November by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester.

Old Devonshire Court



Left: The old Devonshire Court building on London Road in Derby in the process of being demolished in 2008. It was replaced by the new Campus for Learning and Development the following year.






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