A DISTRICT ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE FOR SOUTH WALES.
After the founding of the Association in London, the growth of the Movement in the United Kingdom was phenomenal. This necessitated the setting up of a National Council for England, Wales and Ireland, in 1882; a National Council for Scotland was already in existence having been constituted in 1872.
Up to this time the initiative for establishing a local YMCA rested with a group of Christian laymen in the locality. Information about ways and means was gathered from various sources.
Such rapid expansion produced the need for a central administrative body to facilitate growth, provide information, frame rules and regulations, assist in raising funds for various projects and to maintain the standards of the Association.
To implement these purposes, England and Wales were divided into regions or districts. Regional Committees were formed and vested with power to open new Associations in their respective regions; each District Committee appointed its own officers including an honorary secretary, usually a layman. Travelling Secretaries were employed by the National Council, each being responsible for, and having oversight of, activities in four or five regions. They visited their regions as often as possible to speak at conferences and to advise on procedures in the newer Associations. District Committees reported annually to the National Council and each one appointed three of its members to represent their district on it.
The YMCA's history in Wales from 1882 to the outbreak of war in 1914 falls into three stages, each stage coinciding with an increase of administrative authority vested in the South Wales District Committee constituted as the responsible governing body.
The South Wales District Committee was established in 1882. Its juris- diction extended to the Southern Welsh Counties together with Herefordshire. It was the only regional Committee for Wales. The Liverpool YMCA Committee accepted responsibility for fostering new Associations in adjacent counties including the near counties of North Wales.
The first District Secretary, W.A. Southall, also became the employed Secretary of the Cardiff Association. The first Travelling Secretary was Henry Thrope, but little is recorded of his activities in Wales.
The District Committee was represented on the National Council by John Cory, Cardiff, J. F. Fawckner, Newport, and W.A. Southall.
The aims and purpose of the work of Looal Associations in South Wales being already firmly based on the pattern of the London Association, it was natural that the new South Wales District Committee should also adopt the same pattern, the accent being on religious and evangelical activities generally confined to Bible Study Classes and Prayer Groups, together with Missionary Study Circles, Self Improvement Societies and Physical Education Classes.
The early outreach of the new Committee towards the valleys and small towns of industrial South Wales radiated generally from Cardiff, Newport and