PROGRESS OF PRE-1914 ASSOCIATIONS
In many respects the growth of Associations in Wales during the 1930s and 40s resembles the upsurge of building projects which occurred between the turn of the century and the outbreak of war in 1914. But the history of the YMCA Movement in Wales would not be complete without information about the continuing efforts and endeavours, after the 1920s, of Associations founded prior to 1914. More detailed information has been given in the early chapters purporting to cover the period up to the 1920s, concerning the work done on behalf of the following Associations, and therefore, only a brief factual account will be given:
The Central YMCA, Cardiff.
In the early 19O0s, the General Committee opened YMCA Institutes in the suburbs of the City, - Canton, Grangetown, Splott and Broadway. These were John Cory Workmen's Institutes, which the YMCA took over after Mr. John Cory and his brother had agreed to clear the existing debt on them. The then President of the Association, Sir John Cory, made substantial donations towards the capital cost of these Institutes and towards their maintenance. In more recent times all these Institutes ceased to function,
the last of which was that in Milford Street, Splott, which was the home of the Cardiff YMCA Boxing Club.
for many years
The YMCA Hostel at the Central YMCA was, from its inception
, at the opening
of the Association, in demand. It was popular with young business men and overseas students. Many parents in Wales, from whom letters of thanks were received, found comfort that their sons were cared for and looked after in this hostel.
Agencies established in the 19O0s, still continue to flourish, including the Dramatic Society, Photographic Section, Chess Club and Cricket Team.
The years of the depression brought overwhelming hardship to the unemployed in South Wales, and during the 1930s over 11,000 men and women walked the streets of Newport looking for work - people with idle hands, with nothing to do.
The Commercial Street YMCA honourably bore the burden of relief; quiet reading rooms became workshops, especially for repairing boots and shoes. Land was secured for allotments. Accommodation was allocated for lectures and discussion groups. The YMCA Women's Auxiliary bought materials and transformed their meeting room into a minute factory for making children's clothing and distributed them where the need was greatest.
A YMCA Boys' Club had been maintained at the Newport Docks for forty three years, having been established in 1919. The club's premises, formerly a Police Station, had been in commission for over 200 years.
The fabric of the structures was in part, porous; after heavy rain it was necessary to bail out the water. Other accommodation was imperative. Fortunately, this was available in the district - this time a disused Fire Station, commodious, in good condition and adaptable. A reconstructed building yielded a gymnasium, social hall, and various club rooms. The building was opened in 1962. Land had also been purchased earlier in the docks area for the purpose of a playing field for the members of the Temple Street Association.