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 Past Pictures of our Green and History 

 


Mrs Measham Bowls the first Wood

 

   
  The Old Club House
Looking at North End of Green Some of the Old Boys

 

WATERLOOVILLE BOWLS CLUB
THE THIRTIES - THE ADMIRAL MEASHAM TIME


A General Meeting on the 9th November 1933 at the 'Heroes of Waterloo' heralded the start of the club, 25 members attended.
Rear Admiral Measham CMG who was later elected President took the chair , his Vice Presidents included Admiral Leggatt CB,JPand Sir John Timpson KBE, JP.

During early meetings of the club discussion took place as to which form of bowls should be played, Old English or EBA.
This took many years to resolve and not until 1954 were the words Old English dropped from the club name.
One matter however was quickly resolved, a proposal that ladies pay only half the subscription was soundly defeated.
The first game was palyed in fine weather against the Urbandistrict council on Saturday 12th May 1934. The President
donated six jacks to what was termed the green furniture. Mrs Measham bowled the first wood and play commenced, two
rinks of Old English and two of EBA.The club did not entertain the teams to refreshment however no green fees were levied.
The first Annual Dinner was held in October, a pianist and two vocalists were engaged to entertain the menmbers.

By the begining of the 1935 season, the pavilion, which was in later years to be enlarged twice was in use. Money for the
furnishings being raised by a smoking concert and whist drive, a profit of 19 shillings.
During 1935 the ladies were allowed to start their own section with Mrs Tull as President with the power to appoint her own committee. Unfortunately the ladies appear to have let this early opportunity slip by and apart from a breakthrough in 1942 when Mrs Tull was elected to the club committee, the ladies section declined and it required a formidable lady to re-activate the section later.

THE FORTIES - WAR TIME

During the first season of the war many matches were interrupted, it is not stated in the minutes whether by enemy action. In the following year due to many members being on National Service, Air Raid Wardens, Home Guard etc it was not possible to play any away matches. During War Weapons week all the club funds were converted to Savings Certificates.
Bowls Drives were organised in aid of the 'Salute the Soldier' and 'Red Cross' funds and the club generally placed on a war footing. As the war progressed the club membership increased as many people moved out of Portsmouth to escape the bombing. Away matches were resumed.
In 1942 the Council altered the green rental agreement to reserve one rink for the general public.
At the wars end Waterlooville lost many members when they returned to Portsmouth and the club was forced to advertise for new members.
In 1947 Mrs Hemmings retired. This lady had been the holder of a franchise from the Council as the sole provider of refreshment on the recreation ground and the club was now able to provide teas from any supplier.
1948 found the club in a poor state financially, there was a shortage of members and to raise funds the 'Penny on the Jack' system was started. The following year, 1949 the club, after turning aside requests for affiliation, joined the County Association but then allowed this to lapse and the club reverted to its insular standing.

THE FIFTIES - THE INBETWEEN TIME

The fifties started with high hopes. The club badge was designed, members were in fine fettle and when Mr Stoker, the Hon Secretary retired he was presented with a pipe and pouch to general applause and musical honours.
Mr Newman the groundsman was allowed to join the club after much discussion by the committee the question of his gratuity, he now being a member was held over. Unfortunately the club now seemed to stand still. With Admiral Measham and his successor Captain Boyle ageing and with a generation changing, the club did not seem to know in which direction to go, back to the old or forward to something new.
The club did start to organise its internal competitions, many members left their woods to the club, more cups and honour boards etc, were purchased form the proceeds but generally the club seemed to be drifting and in 1960 a proposal that a new club be formed to use the green was mooted. Luckily whether the club liked it or not it was going to be pushed forward into something new.

THE SIXTIES - THE DOLLY GORE, DICK RICHARDS TIME

The club changed very quickly in the sixties, more changes occurred than in all its previous history. The town of Waterlooville and surrounding area was being developed and membership increased significantly. In 1961 the club had no lady bowlers and did not see the need for any. Mrs Dolly Gore applied for membership and after not a little trouble changed the committees mind. It is difficult to say in which order events regarding the ladies section occurred from then on. The committee would have needed roller skates to keep up with the lady.
Anothe change in the clubs outlook was the decision to affiliate to the County and to join the P & D League division 3. The league team in its first season, 1962 winning the Bishop Cup by being the runner up and gaining promotion t Division 2.
Dolly Gore, not without some opposition was busy reforming the ladies section.
The committee being flush with funds treated the members to a hot-pot supper on completion of the AGM ensuring a record attendance, then having second thoughts charged six shillings.

1964

A very large membership and not all of them good bowlers. In an attempt to sort the good from the bad it was proposed
that newer bowlers only be allowed to bowl in the evenings until such time that they passed a proficiency test. The
membership, perhaps in doubt about their own individual ability turned down the motion.
By 1965 the club imposed a limit of 100 members, men and women. However still unsure of its bowling ability a proposal
to join the Combination league was defeated. It was also stated in committee that the members of Waterlooville had no
interest in the proposed Vicory indoor bowling club.
The following year 1966 the league team again won promotion to division 2, winning all 16 matches. The AGM approved
that members of the club over 80 years old and having been a member for 10 years should be granted honorary life
membership.
1966 was also notable in that Mr Dick Richards MBE accepted the position of Hon Secretary. Dick was obviously a man
who liked to get things done and within a short time the clubs friendly fixture list had trebled. Members wore white and
the club conformed to EBA rules.
It is very noticeable from the minutes that decisions were taken and not left on the table. Though Dick and Dolly did not
always see eye to eye, between them they set the standard from which the WBC is judged today.
The dinner dance was very popular with the members and in 1967 the price of a ticket was one guinea for the dinner
dancing and piano music during dinner. It was noted that the members wished to sing bowling songs during the eveining.
Unfortunately a sad event occurred at the AGM in November when immediately after being elected President
Mr A McCarley tragically died.
In 1969 the club played an indoor match against Victory and Mr Newman retired. He had tended the green for 35 years
and had been a club member and league captain. On retiring he said difficulties with the green were caused by faulty
foundation which being mainly clay were inclined to crack and cause ridges.

1970

A vexing question finally resolved, women were allowed to vote at the AGM. The league team ganed promotion to
division 1 but were not able to sustain the position for more than one season. During 1971 the club finally joined the combination, more protective canvas mats were provided and the club reached the County finals losing to Gosport
by one shot.
It was agreed that members playing in County and P&D competitons at home should ask for a green fee which could be
used by the Treasurer to assist our own players who were called upon to play. A Council report in 1971 contains the
following points : The green will be fenced off, a carpark be provided at the bottom of Wallis Road when building
takes place and a second green be provided in 1978.
1972, a new gents urinal was built for the clubs own use and an increase in subscriptions to cover the cost of the extra
rental charge was opposed by a lady member because she said she would not benefit from the new facility.
We are now at the end of my ramble through the minutes.

This history of Waterlooville Bowling Club was compiled by Colin Lowe

 

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