Windsor and Eton Bowling Club
From a page originally created by Rob Gordon
Founded as a limited company in
The Windsor and Eton Bowling Club is sited in Goswell Meadow. This area is
in the care of The National Trust, having been purchased by public subscription in 1910 in order to preserve the view of the
castle from Alexandra Gardens (dating from 1902), which are a short distance further west.
In the summer of 1921 a few enthusiasts and influential sportsmen in Windsor headed by Councillor R.W.Rawkins (Mayor), Mr.Lawrence Lightfoot (Chief Constable), Mr.J.T.Carter and the Editor of the Windsor, Eton and Slough Express decided to explore the possibility of setting up a Bowling Club in the town.
In the autumn of 1921 meetings were held in the Guildhall with Councillor Rawkins in the chair and Mr Bob White (Secretary of the Conservative Club) acting as temporary secretary.
The National Trust was approached regarding the leasing of Goswell Meadow and in November 1921, at a crowded meeting in the Guildhall, it was decided to form the Windsor and Eton Bowling Club Company and to issue shares at £1 each. Councillor Rawkins was appointed President with Mr Bob White as the Honorary Secretary.
The National Trust agreed to lease the meadow to the company on a 25 years lease and it was decided to use Cumberland Turf for the green. Windsor Town Council and the Trust gave permission for the Club to erect a thatched pavilion at the Thames Street end of the meadow.
The uptake of the share issue was entirely successful and the club had a membership of over one hundred. After all the initial outlay expenses had been met, the club held a cash balance.
club played its first matches in the summer of 1922 on what was described
as the best green in Berkshire (we believe it still is!).
With help from Windsor and Maidenhead Council and the Princes Trust, the pavilion was given a new thatched roof in the spring of 1990. The building retained a thatched roof until 2006 when prohibitive costs forced the decision to change to a slate roof.
In 1991 an automatic sprinkler system was installed.
In the winter of 1992, the rear of the club was extended to provide improved changing facilities and a kitchen.
EARLY YEARS OF
The Club enjoys a very healthy active membership totalling 120 members of which 100 are active bowlers and the high standard of bowling which has been achieved over the years has resulted in an impressive and in some instances unique honours list.
During its existence the Windsor and Eton Bowling Club has achieved more honours than any other Berkshire Club, they are:
ENGLISH BOWLING ASSOCIATION
LONDON SOUTHERN COUNTIES BOWLING ASSOCIATION
English Bowling Association 1961
GREAT CLUB BOWLERS
* Ernie Newton had lost the national singles final by one shot two years previously in 1946. He represented England twelve times between 1946 and 1949. Arguably he was the finest player associated with the club. He won the County singles five times, the pairs five times, the triples three times, and the fours on one occasion. He died aged 83 but not before winning the club singles championship for the last time when he was 82!
* Norman Butler was a founder member of the club. He presented the club with a tree which was planted by the Deputy Mayor as part of the club's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1972.
* Tony Hathaway was a great servant of the club and indeed the 'Tony Hathaway Memorial Cup' is contested each August Bank Holiday. He was the first man to win all the available County competitions at one time or another. In 1967 he had an England trial.
In 2002, as a tribute to her 70 years membership of the club, a special match was arranged between W&E and the E.W.B.A.. In 1972 she served as President of the Ladies Section of the County Bowling Association. She was a National Triples Champion in 1961. At club level she won many titles but notably was ladies club singles champion on nine occasions the last being in 1996 when she was in her 80's.
BOARD AND CLUB FLAG
At the same time the Mayoress also presented a new club flag in 1956. This was replaced by a second flag at the club's Golden Jubilee in 1972. This new flag later disappeared having been accidentally left out after a match! The current flag was acquired as a replacement. (Note from the accompanying photograph that the flag pole once stood at the corner of the club house).
By 1971 the annual fee for playing members was £3.50.....non-playing members 50p!
Playing member fees in 2019 are £85; with "Social Members paying £15 and Juniors just £10.
Bowlers who bowl for Windsor
And when the time is come
Other clubs took up this song as their own but it is claimed the song originated here at Windsor and Eton.