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
in the care of The National Trust having
been purchased by public subscription in 1910 in order to preserve the view of the
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
R.W.Rawkins (Mayor), Mr.Lawrence Lightfoot (Chief Constable), Mr.J.T.Carter
the Editor of the Windsor, Eton and Slough Express decided to explore the possibility of setting
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
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
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
use Cumberland Turf for the green. Windsor Town Council and the
permission for the Club to erect a thatched pavilion at the Thames Street end of the meadow.
Site of W&E Bowling Club 1922
Bowling in 1930
The uptake of the share issue was
entirely successful and the club had a membership of over one
After all the initial outlay expenses had been met, the club held a cash
The club played its first matches in
the summer of 1922 on was described as the best green in
1930's using the "putting green area
Green in 1949
With help from Windsor and
Maidenhead Council and the Princes Trust, the pavilion was given
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
EARLY YEARS OF
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
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
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
and the high standard of bowling which has been achieved over the years
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 Hon. Sec.
County Club Championship
County Double Fours
County Benevolent Triples
ENGLISH BOWLING ASSOCIATION
1948 Singles E.Newton
1956 Singles N.C.Butler
LONDON SOUTHERN COUNTIES BOWLING ASSOCIATION
Singles Lonsdale 1969 & 1974
1961 & 1962
1965 & 1973
County Sec. Singles
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).
Newton had lost the national singles final
by one shot two years previously in 1946. He
represented England twelve times between
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
singles championship for the last time when he was 82!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
1956 New Flag being raised
1972 New Flag - later stolen!
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
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!
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
Windsor and Eton.