The Glasgow Young Men’s Society for Religious Improvement was founded in 1824. In 1877, it amalgamated with the Glasgow Young Men’s Christian Association (aka the G.Y.M.C.A., instituted in 1841, but this date is debatable) to become the Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association. This organisation was probably the largest of its type in Glasgow during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: to give an example from one report at the end of the nineteenth century, the association’s ‘Synopsis for 1893-4’ reported that on 30 June 1894, there were then 9,946 members on the rolls (The Annual Report of the Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association. For Year Ending 30th June, 1894 (Glasgow: [?], 1894) (MLSC, GC 267.39 41435).
Upon amalgamation with the G.Y.M.C.A., the Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association divided up the operations of the association according to the location of their societies in the city, for example, the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Sections, which were then subdivided into further subsections. The amalgamation also involved the union of all the reading rooms and libraries and their collections, with the main, central library being located at 280 George Street.
Many of the subsections had their own literary associations, although, to date, it has not been possible to ascertain the exact number of these societies in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. From the records, we know that the literary association meetings of these subsections were well attended. For example, in 1878, the First, Southern Section (‘Boundaries – On the North, the River Clyde. On the West, Eglinton Street’, thus in the Laurieston area) met in class rooms on 67 Cumberland Street at 8pm on Saturday nights. They reported an average attendance of 50 members, with the maximum attendance for the session being 80. The group’s Annual Report for 1898 notes that the evenings’ activities involved study and conversation on various literary and scientific topics, and did not exclude politics.
Date of Existence
1877-present (as Ypeople, Glasgow)
Source of Information
1. Annual Report of the Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association. 1877 (Note: in same book as Annual Report of the Glasgow Young Men’s Christian Association. For 1865-66. (Glasgow: Aird & Coghill, 1866)) (MLSC, Mitchell (GC) 267.3 43136);
2. Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association. Catalogue of the Circulating and Reference Libraries (1873) (MLSC, G018.2 GLA);
3. Catalogue of Library of the George Square Branch of the Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association (1882) (MLSC, G018.2 GLA);
4. Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association. Eastern Section. Library Catalogue (Glasgow: K. & R. Davidson, Printers, [1888?]), (MLSC, G 018.2 GLA);
5. Library catalogue and rules [Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association] (1895) (MLSC, Mitchell (GC), 018.2 GLA 157770);
6. Annual report of the Glasgow United Young Men’s Christian Association: 1878: adopted at annual meeting and conversazione, held in the Corporation Galleries, on 29th April, 1879 (Glasgow: Central Rooms, Christian Institute, 1879) (UGL), Research Annexe, Store HA03910)
7. (Note: this list is by no means an exhaustive one — there are numerous annual reports and various types of administrative papers available across both the Mitchell Library’s and the University of Glasgow Library’s collections; in addition, there also many newspaper articles on the activities of this association, see the British Newspaper Archive: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/)
Mitchell Library Special Collections (MLSC)
University of Glasgow Library (UGL)
(See Source of Information)