The foundation stone of the George Williams Memorial Hall, also known as the old YMCA building, was laid on 11 September 1886, and it was completed and opened a little over a year later, on 16 October 1887. It was the home of the Young Men's Christian Association in Bridgwater, providing a place for activity and accommodation. The ground floor contained a reading room, the office of the secretary, a meeting room, a junior room and gymnasium. Upstairs was a 500 seat lecture room, along with a parlour and a number of class rooms.
The building was dedicated to the memory of Sir George Williams, the founder of the YMCA, who had established a branch in Bridgwater in 1859, which was initially located on the Cornhill. Williams had served as an apprentice draper in Bridgwater during his youth, before moving to London and founding the association.
The hall was built on the location of the old Globe Hotel, which had been destroyed by fire in 1875, the ruins of which had standing derelict for a number of years.
The much loved building was demolished in 1968. The YMCA was forced to move out of the building as it was too costly for their means, so they moved to a new site by the canal, near St. Matthew's field. The destruction of this building was one of the greatest losses to the town in the twentieth century.
Squibbs,P.,Squibbs' History of Bridgwater (1982)
Lawrence and Lawrence, A History of Bridgwater (2005)
Fitzhugh, R., Bridgwater and the River Parrett (1993)