Mr Fred Bacon: Our founding Father
Born in Grainsby near North Thorseby, Mr Bacon moved to Grimsby and went to work on the Fish Docks.
Shortly afterwards he started up as a fish merchant and with the help of his brother Mr Herbert Bacon, he built up a very successful business, eventually retiring in 1956.
But his greatest interest was the YMCA and it was his initiative as a young man new to Grimsby that led to the foundation of a YMCA club in the town in 1906.
Although his first invitation to young men in Grimsby to join the club resulted in no replies, he refused to be discouraged and after a meeting with the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Grimsby YMCA was formed.
The YMCA provided two rooms for club activities on Heneage Road and as demand increased in later years, some adjoining property was acquired with further alterations over the years including significant accommodation.
First World War
The YMCA invited men to the YMCA rooms, built YMCA Huts at Riby and other camps, and provided hundreds of concert parties and looked after the men in various ways.
On February 20th, 1917, they took over a Temperance Hotel – the Imperial (right) , on Grimsby Road, Cleethorpes and converted it into a Hostel for soldiers and sailors.
Since the day of opening the Hostel was never closed day or night, until the end of the Great War.
So popular did the Hostel become that within a few months the adjoining premises had to be taken, and just before the armistice the rooms over Hepworth’s’, at the corner of Freeman St. and Strand St., were also added, which brought the total of beds up to 158.
Second World War
In 1938 the Grimsby YMCA purchased a sports field at Springfield.
During the Second World War the premises at Heneage Road were taken over by the Admiralty and used as a Naval Hospital.
The Grimsby YMCA established a service hostel in Cleethorpes Road, and when the war was over the YMCA returned to 39 Heneage Road.
Heneage Road extensions
In 1951 a girls club was established and in 1952, 41 Heneage Road was purchased and developed as a hostel for young people.
In 1953 an extension at the rear of 39/41 Heneage Road was built for youth work.
Further hostel extensions were made in 1957 and 1966, with Princess Alexandra visiting Grimsby to open the extension in 1957.
Opened in 1909, the facilities on Heneage Road in Grimsby provided accommodation, support and activities for a range of people including the disabled, foreigners and the homeless.
Humberston YMCA Camp
This youth camp offered young people the opportunity to get away from town life and learn a variety of skills whilst staying over in the hutted and tented accommodation which offered up to 164 bed spaces in total.
There was also a dining room, toilets, showers, a sports hall, outdoor hard courts, football pitches and an adventure course.
Peaks Lane Hostel
In 1967 a development committee of young businessmen from the area recommended that a new hostel should be established to provide accommodation for young people, with the facilities to encourage a more varied youthwork programme for the residents.
In 1973 the new hostel was built on land generously donated by Mr Michael Sleight of Binbrook, and was opened amongst much fanfare including a visit from Terry Wogan to help with the “It’s a Challenge” fundraising event.
Since the mid-1970s the Peaks Lane hostel has provided a variety of sporting and accommodation provision for many locals and travellers to North East Lincolnshire. More commonly known as “the YM” – the hostel continues to provide supported accommodation for vulnerable people today.
The existing ‘Riby House Hostel’ was unfit for purpose, and in partnership with the local council this was partially demolished in 2000 and replaced by the YMCA Foyer.
In early 2001 the Foyer project began operating in its new facilities on Riby Square, Grimsby.
The project, which began service in early-2010, provides support to young men looking to live more independently.
In 2013 the house received the ‘YMCA of the Year’ award for its success in changing the fortunes of the residents in the house.