YMCA Swansea’s history can be traced as far back as 1857.
Find out more our unique history and significant historical dates:

Watch our Y-Legacy documentary to learn more about YMCA Swansea’s history

The beginning – 1857

CoE Young Men’s Association Meeting

The announcement in the Swansea Cambrian Newspaper, of the Inaugural meeting of the Church of England Young Men’s Association. In 1868 the group adopt the usual name of YMCA Swansea.


Becomes YMCA

A news article in the Cambrian on the 13th November 1868 reporting that the Church of England Young Men’s Association had taken the decision to change the name to the usual format of YMCA.


First building, library and reading rooms Herbert Place

In 1870 the YMCA opens its first building consisting of a library and reading rooms on the corner of Dillwyn St and Herbert Place (Herbert Place no longer exists). The report includes subscriptions taken for newspapers and magazines and that the annual cost for rent, books, a librarian etc will be approximately £125 per annum.


First job advertised

The first job is advertised for a librarian. Salary £20 per annum.


Move to Dynevor Place

Notice given for the Annual Easter breakfast at which the President of the Association will announce new premises have been identified. The premises identified but not mentioned in the article were in Dynevor Place.


Gymnastic sessions begin


Basketball played in Swansea for the first time following the invention of the game in 1861 by YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Early 1900's


Lightening fundraising campaign

Teams of young people attempt to raise £12,000 in 12 days through pledges of money for the new building on the Kingsway. They succeed but the building with the fit out ends up costing £20,000.


Foundation stone laid for new building

The foundation stone is laid and building commences. The silver trowels are for John Dillwyn President and the Architect Glendenning Moxham who also was responsible for such buildings as the old police station and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.


Current building opens

The present building opens in October 1913


Building taken over by Red Cross

In 1914 Swansea YMCA was sharing their new premises with the Red Cross as casualties mounted on the Western Front. By 1917 the Red Cross had taken over the entire building for use as a hospital.


Building is handed back to YMCA


Paris Olympics

Half of the men’s gymnastics squad are from YMCA Swansea. YMCA Swansea also win the British gymnastics Championship for the first time.


Dylan Thomas on stage in Llewelyn Hall

There are many famous links to people and organisations. This example from the 1930s shows Dylan Thomas as a young man in rehearsals for the Swansea YMCA Players.


Building survives the Blitz but with some damage.

The post-war period to today


A compulsory purchase order for the demolition of the building as part of the Swansea rebuild is fought off.


YMCA Swansea undergoes refurbishment.


YMCA Swansea celebrates 100 years of the building.