No minutes were taken of the meeting but in the diary of one of them - Edward Valentine, a friend of George Williams - a record was entered and the original is in existence today. The following statement is an extract from that diary:
"On June 6th, 1844, a meeting was held in the room of George Williams for the purpose of forming a society to spread the Redeemer's Kingdom among young men in business houses in London, especially drapery establishments. They appointed two officers and the twelve persons present to act as a committee."
Thus, at that historic meeting, the first YMCA in the world was founded.
A few days later a further meeting was held to consider ways and means of implementing their decisions to extend their evangelical work to other business houses. Subsequent meetings were held every week. One of the earliest decisions was to acquire premises for the new association which would not, however, be associated with any particular business house and which offered more accommodation for meetings than George Williams' room. Such accommodation was rented to the committee at St. Martin's Coffee House, Ludgate for half a crown a week. This was the first outlay for rent by an organisation which, today, estimates its valuable property at many
thousands of millions of pounds.
The next stage in the outward-movement
the Association was
circulation of communications to a considerable number of firms. These communications expressed the Association's purpose of promoting the spiritual welfare of young shop assistants.
The aims of the Movement were outlined, as was the programme of religious activities in the establishment of Hitchcock and Rogers. A request was made that a deputation to explain further their objectives, be received.
But this communication could not go out without a title or a name for the new organisation. Much thought was given to this. Out of three suggested names the present world-wide title was adopted: "The Young Men's Christian Association."
The response to the communication was encouraging. In a short time fourteen business houses reported that a religious service was conducted once a week and that some of their assistants attended the religious meetings at St. Martin's Coffee House. Soon the growth of the Association was such that more extensive premises were needed for these meetings and for this purpose Radley's Hotel, opposite Ludgate Hill Station, was acquired. This became the centre of Association life and the headquarters of the Movement for the next five years. Here were held their Bible classes, prayer meetings, the meetings of the Missionary Society and the Mutual Improvement Class.
It will be noticed that the pattern of activities followed the programme of work at Hitchcock and Rogers.
The accommodation at Radley's was such that Annual and other meetings could be held there. It was also suitable to take the May morning breakfast, a traditional institution, which is still celebrated every year at the Newport, Swansea and Neath Associations. George Williams held his first May morning breakfast in 1850. The first Annual Meeting was held at Radley's when 161 members were present.