The Lafrowda Club

St Just Literary & Scientific Institution est. 1842

Chapel Street  St Just  TR19 7LS  Reg. Charity No. 1198875

Mr Williams & Mr John Thomas

The History


Built originally as the St Just Literary Institute, the building with its grand façade and large open hall was opened in 1847. The Architect for the building was John Matthews of Penzance, who also designed the impressive St John’s Hall in Penzance.

Original Aims

The St Just Literary Institute played an important part in the town’s history providing education at a time when schooling was limited, the very first Committee meeting minutes, from 1842, set out the allowable uses of the building: “…The design of the Institution being solely the promotion of useful knowledge. Every species of light reading such as newspapers, novels, etc as well as all work of an irreligious or immoral tendency shall be excluded forever….”. A fascinating statement defining how the building can be used, one which hopefully is not wholly enforceable now!

Original Uses

The building housed a large galleried lecture theatre upstairs, covering the full size of the building, and downstairs a library of 500 books, a reading room and accommodation for a caretaker. In 1858 the building also housed the Society of Arts and a museum.

Later Years

With a change to school based education the Institute became in 1896 The Lafrowda Club and billiard hall. Many societies met in the Club including The Ladies Choir, The Choral Society, and the Tonic Sol Fa Society.

In later years it has been home to many St Just organisations and while inspiring love and curiosity for the building it has never been truly open to the community.