Raised in the rural countryside of England, George Williams was drawn to London as a young man during the Industrial Revolution. He worked long hours in a city store, living in small, crowded rooms in the same building. The moral conditions of the inner city were incompatible with Williams’ evangelical Christian outlook. He organized a series of prayer meetings and Bible classes for 11 of his colleagues. These simple meetings formed the basis of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Williams grew to be a prominent businessman in London. He maintained a lifelong affiliation with the rapidly-spreading association, providing influence and financial support.
In recognition of his contribution to English society and the world, Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894. After his death in 1905, he was commemorated by a stained-glass window in the nave of Westminster Abbey. Sir George Williams is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.
Text and images are owned, held, or licensed by Springfield College and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that ownership is properly cited. A credit line is required and should read: Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections. Any commercial use without written permission from Springfield College is strictly prohibited. Other individuals or entities other than, and in addition to, Springfield College may also own copyrights and other propriety rights. The publishing, exhibiting, or broadcasting party assumes all responsibility for clearing reproduction rights and for any infringement of United States copyright law.