Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 27, 2020
Webpage updated: February 27, 2020




The Young Women's Christian Association was founded in 1855 by Miss Emma Robarts and the Honourable Mrs Arthur Kinnaird.  It started as an organisation for young ladies moving to London to work for the first time.  Its first premises in Plymouth were at Number 3 St Andrew's Place.

The pre-War YWCA in Lockyer Street, Plymouth.

Later, the local Association purchased Number 18 Lockyer Street, previously the home of Doctor Gale, for 1,500.  Lord Kinnaird himself came to open the new hostel on Monday November 28th 1887.

The building consisted of a drawing room, lecture room, several class-rooms, and a library, plus rooms for the caretaker, a residence for the superintendent secretary, and, of course, bedrooms.

Mrs Laycock, wife of the Reverend J M Laycock, the vicar of Charles Church, was the president of the Plymouth Association.   The treasurers were Miss E Bayly of Seven Trees House and Miss Bennett of 43 George Street.  Miss Lewis was the resident superintendent secretary.

The purchase of the house together with certain fittings cost 1,560; repairs and new fittings cost another 80, and furniture a further 139.  Annual expenses were expected to be 150 against an annual income of 80.   The deficit of 70 was to be made up from annual subscriptions amongst its 300 members and associates.

By 1897 they had also opened a hostel at 12 Seaton Terrace, Mutley, between Ermington Terrace and Ford Park Road.  Miss Caroline Adams was the superintendent.

In due course the hostel was moved to Numbers 9 and 10 Lockyer Street, on the corner with Alfred Street and the old premises became a cafe for Messrs Uglow's.

The building was destroyed during the air raids on March 20th/21st 1941, although luckily there were no casualties in the building that night.   It was therefore of some significance that after the hostel had been completely rebuilt, it was reopened on Wednesday March 18th 1953, almost 12 years after its destruction.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, came to open the building, in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Alderman H E Wright, and invited guests.  This included some who were described as "founder members": Miss B Avery, Miss R Camp, Miss J Gardner, Miss D Hibbs, Miss M Mackie, Miss H Potts, Mrs B Roberts and Mrs M Stone.  Also in the gathering were Mrs Lawrence Spear, president; Mrs G C Hocking, warden; Mr Charles Reeder, representing the builders, Messrs A N Coles (Contractors) Ltd; Mr H J Hammick, the architect; Mr C R Cording, foreman of works.