George Williams

Sir George Williams (11 October 1821 – 6 November 1905)

Founder of the first YMCA
George Williams was born in Somerset, England, on 11 October 1821. In 1836 he moved to London to work as an apprentice to a Draper, and by 1841 was himself working as a Draper. He stayed in the accommodation provided by the firm in the same building, and became one of the 150,000 young men who had flooded into the city of London.

On 6th June 1844, George Williams, together with ten Christian young men, established the YMCA. “Our object is the improvement of the spiritual condition of the young men engaged in houses of business, by the formation of Bible classes, family and social prayer meetings, mutual improvement societies, or any other spiritual agency.”

Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894, and after his death was commemorated with a stained-glass window in the nave of Westminster Abbey. Sir George Williams is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

George Williams – a photo journey