Windsor & Eton Bowling Club
                                                   History
 


 


       Windsor and Eton Bowling Club was founded as a limited company in 1922.

      
THE FOUNDING OF THE CLUB
       The 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.

                                                                                                                                     Site of W&E Bowling Club pre-1922                                                                   

       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 and, 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.

                                   Site of W&E Bowling Club 1922   


          
Green in the 1930s                                            
                                                                                          

      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. 

      The club played its first matches in the summer of 1922 on was described as the best green in
      Berkshire.

                 In 1930s using the "putting green" area      
                                  

                Green in 1949       

                              
                                                                    

       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
       To commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, the club held a 'Jubilee Bowls Tournament'
       sponsored by K.P.Foods. The accompanying souvenir brochure for the event gives us an insight
       to the background of the club, its level of success and  its membership at that time. It indicates
       that the club was indeed a force to be reckoned with over its first 55 years of existence. 
                                                                                                                                           
       The brochure for this Jubilee event gives some brief historical facts about the club. The words
       from the brochure are worth quoting here (
in yellow below) as they reflect the high status of the
       club at that time (1977):

     _________________________________________________________________________________________
  

        FROM THE 1977 BROCHURE
       "Windsor and Eton Bowling Club was founded by the Business Men of Windsor in 1922. The
        Green itself, when laid, was of the best Cumberland Seawashed Turf, but over the years some
        parts have been renovated with Bowling Green Turf, nevertheless the Green remains one of
        the top Bowling surfaces in Berkshire. With its thatched Club House, surrounding flower
        borders, Windsor Castle towering in the background and Old Father Thames nearby, the
        Club is situated in one of the most picturesque settings for miles around.

        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:

             COUNTY
                  County Singles                                16 Times                            
                  County Pairs                                   12 Times                                           
                  County Triples                                  5 Times                                            
                  County Fours                                    7 Times                           
                  County Hon. Sec.                              2 Times                             
                  County Club Championship            7 Times                                             
                  County Double Fours                      6 Times                                           
                  County Benevolent Triples              2 Times                                             

             ENGLISH BOWLING ASSOCIATION
                    1948 Singles  E.Newton
                    1956 Singles  N.C.Butler

              LONDON SOUTHERN COUNTIES BOWLING ASSOCIATION
                    Triples 1957
                    Pairs    1957
                    Singles Lonsdale   1969 & 1974

              LADIES SECTION    
                    County Triples                           1961 & 1962
                    County Pairs                              1965 & 1973
                    County Singles                           1966
                    County Sec. Singles                   1976
                    County Two-wood Singles        1976 

                    English Bowling Association     1961 Triples                           
                                                                                                                     
       We pride ourselves on being the only club in the country to have produced 2 individual E.B.A.
       Singles Champions, 2 Men's' and 2 Ladies' Internationals, the only bowler to have won all six
       major County Competitions and to have won the LSC Lonsdale Singles on two occasions"

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

       For the record, Sunningdale won the above Jubilee Bowl Tournament beating Staines by 15 - 13.

      SOME GREAT CLUB BOWLERS 
      At the time of Club's Golden Jubilee in 1972, the Club claimed to be the only club in the country
      (at that time) to have produced two England Singles Champions, Ernie Newton (1948) and
      Norman Butler (1956). 

      * 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!
 
   
                                                               
                                                                         Ernie Newton 

      * 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.

                                                                   
                                                                          Tony Hathaway

      CLUB PATRON
     
Until her death in 2010, Gwen Foreman was the Club Patron. She could have easily been
      included in the previous section on 'Great Club Bowlers' however she deserves special mention
      here. The lady is an institution within Windsor and Eton Bowling Club having joined the club in
     1932. Gwen is the daughter of Ernie Newton (see above). 


     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.

                                                                     
                                                                       Mrs Gwen Foreman

      HONOURS BOARD AND CLUB FLAG
      The honours board in the club house dates from 1956 when it was unveiled by the then Mayoress
      of Windsor, Mrs.Gladys Hanbury Williams. It is recorded that the pavilion was lit by gas at that
      time.

                                                         
                                                               NEW HONOURS BOARD 1956
                                                          Right to Left : Tony Hathaway,
                                                                                     Bob Wood, Peter Male, Mayoress


      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)                           

                                                       
                              1956 New Flag being raised                                           1972 New Flag - later stolen!

      FEES
      The club rules for 1922 (the year the club was founded) indicate that the club offered 'Bowls,
      Lawn Tennis and any other such games as the Committee may determine.....' .
The annual
      subscription was set at  1 1s 0d . 
 
      In 1948 the bowling playing members paid an annual subscription of 2 2s 0d which included the
      right to play tennis as well as bowls.

      By 1971 the annual fee for playing members was 3.50.....non-playing members 50p!
    
     
CLUB SONG
      In the 1950's, Tom Farr, a past Secretary and President of the Club, wrote the song "Bowlers
      Who Bowl for Windsor".
Tom Farr died in 1976 whilst holding the post of Club President. The
      words of his song are set out below and should be sung to the tune of the Eton Boating Song:

                                                        Bowlers who bowl for Windsor
                                                        Are always very keen
                                                        To play the game together
                                                        Both on and off the green
                                                        And when the game is over,
                                                        And off to the bar we go
                                                        It's drink, drink, together
                                                        Alike both friend and foe.

                                                       And when the time is come
                                                       For us to say "Good bye"
                                                       Good luck, good health, good bowling,
                                                       Is sure to be our cry
                                                       And this is no exception
                                                       For I say to you my friend
                                                       Good luck, good health, good bowling,
                                                       Until we meet again.

      It is recorded that other clubs took up this song as their own but it is claimed the song originated
      here at Windsor and Eton.

 

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