George Williams (YMCA)

Sir George Williams ( born October 11, 1821 in Dulverton, Somerset, England; † November 6, 1905 in London) is the founder of the YMCA in 1844 in London.

Early years

George Williams was the youngest of eight children into the world. His mother's name was Betty Ann as single persons. His father, Amos Williams and was a farmer. This working up to the edge of a vast moor Ashway farm, about six miles from the village center Dulverton, since about 1809. George Williams visited until 13 years of age the Gloyn 's Grammar School in Tiverton, for him a time of privation and suffering. At that time were based on information from the marriage registers roughly a third of the population illiterate and the quality of schools was usually very modest.

1835 saw George Williams in the Congregational church in Bridgwater a conversion to Jesus Christ. In winter 1837 the words of there preaching evangelist Evan James from Wales made ​​a deep impression on George: Give your heart to God, as long as you are still young. On February 4, 1838 he was admitted as a member of this community.

Working years

George Williams is described as small, petite, slim, restless and subtle way. After he and his family had come to the deep-seated realization that George was not called to a farmer, he served an apprenticeship as a draper, where he worked with 27 other employees and lived. His environment was his affable nature and his practical intelligence in connection with great intuition.

In October 1841, he joined as a clerk in a trading company Hitchcock & Rogers in the City of London, where at that time still lived to 130,000 people. London was the largest and most important trading city in the world. With about 140 colleagues, he lived in a confined space in one of the upper floors of the trading house in St. Paul's Churchyard near the St Paul's Cathedral. George worked on six days a week, 13 hours.

George Williams went into the service of Thomas Binney at the King's Weigh House The Old Chapel. Binney was formerly printer and bookseller, and now the most famous London preacher before the time of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. His church had 1,500 seats. George was in January 1843 Secretary of the local Sunday school.

The Christian influence in Hitchcock & Rogers was greater from 1842. As a result, the working time from 1 November 1843 was shortened to seven hours a day. This event reverberated throughout the industry. Many employees were members of the Movement for the early closing time (Early Closing Movement), including George Williams belonged. He had an influence in the formation of an appropriate national association. The end of the seven-year, hard economic crisis in England picked up the courage to break new ground. The Times reported on 10 October 1844, the improvements in the company. The young employees have become hardworking, friendly and cheerful as a result of working - shortening. The company boss George Hitchcock did not want the staff to be walked on Sunday at the expense of worship attendance and therefore gave them the Saturday afternoon free. In addition, he led on August 13, 1843, a daily morning at seven clock held company Prayer Devotional one. Hitchcock paid 1857 400 pounds in the coffers of the closing movement, to save them from bankruptcy.


On June 6, 1844, seven to eleven colleagues met ( are the memories of the founders different) by George with him to his room No. 14 They did not want the spiritual gatherings that took place at the home of Hitchcock discuss, but an association for form young Christians. As a result of this, several meetings were held for this goal. At the 5th meeting, on 4 July 1844 discussed the name. Inter alia was proposed Berea Association. The final name was decided a little later.

" In No. 14, a meeting took place at a company founded with the aim of the converted men in the different cloth stores of the metropolis growing close in the sense of their obligation and responsibility as Christians so that they among those who are around them religious knowledge spread either through prayer Communities or other means that they deem appropriate ... "

On the same June 6, 1844, the Parliament had adopted a new law on working hours. The maximum allowable working time was henceforth twelve hours a day, even if the applicant Lord Ashley had asked for a maximum of ten hours. His request was only made ​​with effect from May 1, 1848 episode. Ashley was born on February 28, 1846 Chairman of the YMCA and stayed there over 35 years.

In December 1845 the first general meeting of the YMCA in Sergeant 's Inn was attended by 161 men, and the second on March 6, 1845 in Radley 's Hotel of 300 people, including 160 members. 1869 spoke at the Annual General Meeting Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Hitchcock and Williams

George Williams married on June 9, 1853 Helen Hitchcock, who was eleven years his junior and the daughter of his boss. This accepted his son and made him to be married to a partner. The company was now called George Hitchcock, Williams & Co. Based on the census of 8 April 1861 announced that George Williams lived at No. 30 in Woburn Square, along with his wife and four sons, Frederick ( b. 1855 ) Howard, Charles and Percy. It also included some unmarried maid who lived in the same house. In 1883, sons Frederick and Howard were partakers of the company.

George Williams, who belonged politically to the Tories, moved to the raised Anglican Church in Portman Square on the edge of Hyde Park. George Williams did not write down how Siegfried Fischer biographer records his memories. The children of George Williams joked that he was looking at holiday places by the white spots on the map from the YMCA.

George Hitchcock died only 58 years old on September 22, 1863. As a result, George took over the office of the YMCA treasurer instead of Hitchcock. At the foundation of the YMCA World Alliance in Paris in 1855 George Williams was elected conference president. He restrained himself, however, and was one among many. 1882 George President of the English YMCA National Association and in 1886 was elected president of the YMCA London.

Late life

1884 took place in London, the 50 - year anniversary of the YMCA with 1972 participants from all over the world instead. This conference opening in Westminster Abbey and a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral honoring George Williams. In May 1894 he became an honorary citizen of London. On 18 July 1894 he was knighted by Queen Victoria. George was active in 33 organizations in any way. In 1905, he did not show it take to go to the YMCA conference in Paris:

"Young men of France ... one thing I want to tell you like: if you want to have a happy, meaningful and rich life, then give your hearts to God, as long as you still are young. My last legacy - and that is a valuable - is the Christian Association Young Men. I leave you, you dear young men from so many countries, to continue and make a spread. I hope you will be as happy with this work as I was and even more successful. And that means blessing for their own souls and for the great mass of the other. "

For his services was George Williams buried after his death in 1905 in the St. Paul's Cathedral. For the funeral 2,600 tickets were printed. The funeral was for nearly two hours and included 200 carriages.