Taking a trip to deepest Soho to hang out in a Private Members’ Club for an afternoon might sound like the worst kind of excuse ever for a creative business meeting, just the kind of phrase that eye rolls were made for, but then House of St Barnabus is a very different kind of private members’ club. We were invited there for a meeting, but St Barnabus had us at the promise of a very unconventional members’ club. It’s billed as
“A creative, innovative and cultural space that’s been carefully curated for the continually curious and those motivated by social change.”
Founded by a team which includes Miranda Sawyer and Gilles Peterson, House of St Barnabus was never going to be any old stuffy Private Members’ Club. The not-for-profit club was created with the intention of smashing the stereotype of the traditional Member’s Club and to use its powers for good.
Club membership fees fund the in-house Employment Academy, which helps individuals affected by homelessness to find sustained employment and enjoy independent lives, and the club itself is a hive of energy and creativity; a space that revels in in its own heady mix of contemporary art and music and illustrious London heritage.
The Employment Academy offers City & Guilds qualifications as well as work experience opportunities in the club itself, and prides itself on providing real job opportunities and mentoring. The charity currently supports 60 people on their journey back to independence – the vision is to support at least 100 people every year.
The club also provides its members with an inspiring space to think, work and socialise in the middle of hectic Soho. It’s somewhere you can come and be inspired; nestled amongst pieces by the greats of the contemporary art world; Emin, Hirst, Rankin and Chapman, work which fits perfectly with the history of what has always been one of London’s most important creative spaces. The House of St Barnabas itself dates back to 1674 when Soho Square was first being developed. Joseph Bazalgette hid his top-secret blueprints for London’s sewage system inside secret pockets in its walls, and Charles Dickens came here to write A Tale of Two Cities.
All this, and it also promises ‘possibly the best soundtrack you’ve ever heard.’ How could we resist?*
*Well obviously we couldn’t. Meeting-in-a-super-cool-place-spam to follow.