Burnham on Sea Bowling Club: History of the formation of the Club

The following is an abridged extract taken from the Burnham Gazette March 24, 1906:

BOWLING CLUB FOR BURNHAM   Committee Appointed to Secure a Green

A public meeting called by Mr W.P. Woolley and Mr F.L. Roberts was held at the town hall, last night to consider the question of the formation of a Bowling Club. Mr. Woodman first proposed the election of Mr. J.W. Tucker as Chairman, and this was seconded by Mr. Folliott, and carried. Mr. Tucker,on taking the chair, said it had been desired by a large number of influential people in Burnham to form a Bowling Club.

The chairman asked Mr. Woolley if he know of a suitable site for a green. Mr. Woolley replied that he did not at present. The chairman thought they should appoint a committee to see whether a field could be obtained for the purpose. Mr. Woodman thought it would be to the advantage to the town to have a Bowling Club here. And suggested that the Urban Council should be approached with a view to getting the use of part of the Manor Gardens at a nominal Charge. The chairman said he should like to go down to the Manor Gardens and have a game of bowls. And if he felt as a Councillor that he could support. Mr. Woodman’s suggestion. The question of the amount of the subscription was left over for consideration at the next meeting. On the proposition of Mr. Folliott, it was resolved to ask Mr. T. Holt to become President of the Club. Mr. MacFarlane humorously suggested that the candidates at the forthcoming Urban Council election should be asked whether they would vote for a bowling green at the Manor Gardens.

The Urban District Council duly met a fortnight later; excerpts of the minutes are reproduced below:

Burnham Urban District Council April 10 1906
Burnham Bowling Club applying for permission to use a portion of the Manor Gardens for a season for the purpose of a Bowling Green, the club bearing all expense of making the green suitable for playing, and paying a seasonal charge for rent and also asking for the use of a room in the Town Hall for the purpose of holding meetings.
It was, proposed by Mr Tucker. Seconded by Mr Lawrence:
That the Club be allowed the use of the committee rooms in the Town Hall and that a portion of the gardens adjoining Brunswick Terrace be set aside as a Bowling Green and that the committee be given permission to put the same in order.




First President

It was estimated that the expenses during the first year would amount to about £20. The Chairman said there were between twenty and thirty gentlemen present and if they contributed 10s.6d. each it would go a long way towards getting them out of the difficulty. Mr. Woolley pointed out that only those who became members of the Club would have any voice in its management. Mr Roberts thought most of them had come for the purpose of joining the Club, and suggested a show of hands.

The Chairman thereupon asked those who intended to join the Club to hold up their hands and everyone in the room did so.
Mr Woolley said the next thing was to formulate a set of rules.

Mr. Holt asked if it would not be well to get copies of the rules of other Bowling Clubs before drawing up their own, remarking that when they started the Golf Club they did so, and found them of vary great use.
The Chairman said this was a very good suggestion, and the Secretary promised to act upon it.

This is taken from the Burnham Gazette June 30 1906:

The Burnham Bowling Club is making rapid strides towards enrolling new members, and a keen interest is being taken in the game.
The new bowling green is looking very promising, and will be in excellent trim for next season’s play,
The Club have decided not to play any outside matches this year, but hope to start next season with a good fixture card.
A knockout tournament between members of the Club will commence next week until the end of August, when prizes will be offered. Next season it is the intention to build a Club House near the new bowling green.

From the Burnham Gazette April 27 1907:

The new green will be formally opened on Wednesday next by the president (Mr. T. Holt), when a friendly match (President’s v, Captain’s) will be played. In the evening a supper will take place at the Royal Clarence Hotel.

From the Burnham Gazette May 4 1907:

Supper at the Royal Clarence Hotel
Patriotic Speeches
On Wednesday, the members of the Burnham Bowling Club played off a friendly match on their new bowling green.
The weather was favourable, and a pleasant afternoon was spent.
Mr T. Holt formally declared the green open, and in doing so wished the club success, and congratulated the members on having such an excellent green.
The following is the result: –
Presidents Team.
Points scored, 25.
Captains Team.
Points scored, 42.
The Captain’s team therefore won by 17,
In the evening the members assembled in the dining room of the Clarence Hotel, where Host Pruen placed before them an appetising dinner to which they did ample justice. The speeches were interspersed with songs, Mr. W. Pleass presiding at the piano.Toasts were “The captain and Secretary,” “The Ladies,” “The Host and Hostess,” and “The Chairman.”
Mr. Woolley explained that the Club was open to visitors at a small fee, and he hoped the members of the Club would make that known.

From the Burnham Gazette July 13 1907:

The club members have just placed a new pavilion and also new seats on the bank, for the accommodation and comfort of themselves and their friends. Mr. Champion proposed “The Imperial Forces,” and said he thought the very best preventative of war was to be prepared for the struggle. He hoped the present Government would not deem it necessary to reduce our present forces.

How prophetic …

Membership Secretary Trevor Wellavize is currently researching and compiling a more comprehensive history of the Club. Please do get in touch if you have any information, anecdotes or photos that could be of interest.