Founded in 1906 by philanthropist Mr Walter Child Clarke, St James Institute is a members’ club based in Southbourne. Upon his retirement to Boscombe in the late 1800s, Mr Walter C. Clarke found enjoyment in facilitating projects aimed at improving the welfare of the local people. He strongly believed that leisure was important to wellbeing.

St James Institute is his legacy. He funded the cost of building the Institute’s club house and gifted this in his will to the gentlemen of Southbourne to be used as a centre of leisure, so that they may always have a haven in which to enjoy their favourite past-times.

Today, the St James Institute operates as a charity, with the mission to ensure that this founding ethos continues, although nowadays of course this is not restricted to gentlemen! Many local clubs, leagues and organisations are based at St James and we are always open to welcoming new ones. As we run as a charity, all club membership fees and room hire charges are re-invested into the maintenance and upkeep of the building, so that future generations can continue to benefit from Mr Walter C. Clarke’s generosity and vision.

However, our guiding principle will always be to keep these fees to a minimum in order to ensure the Institute’s facilities remain accessible to all.