The genesis

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

The story of the Bombay Young Men's Christian Association's inception and journey

The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London, England, on June 6, 1844, in response to unhealthy social conditions arising in the big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution (roughly 1750 to 1850). Growth of the railroads and centralization of commerce and industry brought many rural young men who needed jobs into cities like London. They worked 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week. Far from home and family, these young men often lived in the workplace. They slept crowded into rooms over the company’s shop, a location thought to be safer than London’s tenements and streets. Outside the shop, things were bad—open sewers, pickpockets, thugs, beggars, drunks, lovers for hire and abandoned children running wild by the thousands.

The living conditions in Bombay in 1875 were similar to those in London in 1844. With the first textile mill coming up in 1854, Bombay had become the leading industrial city of India and employment opportunities, attracted British and Anglo-Indian youth as also rural youth from many parts of India to Bombay in search of a fortune.