In August 1845, Martin Hope Sutton started to talk about forming a ‘Young Mens Missionary Society’ linked to St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Castle Street. This was then changed to the “Young Mens Christian Association” at a meeting on the 18th December 1846.
The first YMCA meeting was held on the 18th January 1847 under the Presidency of Mr Martin Hope Sutton, making it one of the first in the country. The Association purchased a lease on a property in St Marys Butts but it was felt necessary to provide a reading and assembly room that could be used at any hour daily or evening so a room was rented in Kings Road by the Abbey buildings in 1856.
They moved once again to a room in Gun Street before the Association purchased premises in Valpy Street in 1893. Finally they moved to a purpose built building in Friar Street in 1897. In 1920 Aurthur Sutton gave ‘Garrard House’ in Merchants Place to the YMCA. The Friar Street building was knocked down some years ago and was on the site now occupied by ‘Nandos Restaurant’.
During the 2nd World War YMCA Reading also opened offices in Central Reading to help armed forces personnel as they transited through the area.
YMCA Reading moved in 1955 to Southcote Road where it provided accommodation for 35 young people. Since 1965 it was located at ‘Marlborough House’ in Parkside Road where in the early 1970’s, when combined with Milward Hall on Tilehurst Road, over 120 young people lived. All its work was transferred into Marlborough House in the 1980’s. Over the years YMCA Reading has also used premises in ‘Fireside Club’ and a sports ground opposite their current location.