A Brief History of YMCA Doncaster

1857 A meeting was held on 21st August in view of forming a Doncaster Young Men’s Christian Association, working to the rules of the London Association.

1858 On Friday 1st January, a social tea meeting was arranged at the Town Hall.

Over the next 20 years, Doncaster YMCA focused on providing lectures, bible studies, a Christian library and a reading room as well as classes in essay writing, singing, French, history and science.

On 1st March the Association occupied new premises at Cleveland Street (formerly St James’ Hospital) due to the increasing number of members.

1914 Doncaster YMCA became involved in “war work”. The first YMCA Hut in Doncaster, based at Waterdale, was opened in front of a large military audience. The formal opening took place a number of years later in 1917 by Mrs Gresley, the wife of Sir Nigel Gresley.

The Glyn Hotel was acquired by the YMCA and opened as a soldiers’ central club and hostel, with a view to the building being used as the Association’s head quarters following the war. YMCA (Central) was officially opened on 5th February by Princess Helena Victoria.

Doncaster YMCA once again became involved in “war work”. A new YMCA canteen was opened on Station Road. A number of tea carts were purchased to serve refreshments to the areas surrounding the town centre. A scheme called “Get You Home” was also developed, which saw the YMCA purchasing a van to drive soldiers home when they arrived at the station.

The YMCA building was damaged by falling bombs. Due to the help of volunteers, the building was able to reopen with its canteen facilities and 50 bed spaces available within 40 hours of the damage being done.

This decade was an uncertain time for Doncaster YMCA. With the premises set to close negotiations took place for the purchase of land on Wood Street and the construction of a new YMCA building.

The foundation stone of the YMCA on Wood Street was laid on 13th July. The building officially opened on 6th June 1962 by Lt Col the Rt Hon Earl of Romney D.L.J.P

1989 The building work for the Hostel began in 1988 with the ‘Topping Out’ Ceremony carried out on 3rd June 1989. The first resident moved in on 30th October of the same year. The Hostel was officially opened on 29th November 1990 by HRH the Princess Royal.

The 150th year of Doncaster YMCA. Celebrations included a large dinner dance, a church service and a project archiving the Association’s photos and other memorabilia.

Building work was completed on the ‘Penthouse’ in the Hostel, taking the accommodation capacity to 30 rooms.

The Private Rented Sector service, which assists young people to settle in a longer term home, began.

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