The Herne Bay Bowling Club was formed on the 21st January 1926, at a meeting convened by a Founder Member (Sydney Keen) whose infectious enthusiasm and energy was successful in persuading the then Herne Bay Urban District Council to lay down a Bowling Green in 1925. The Cumberland turf was laid by Messrs. J & D Proven of Glasgow.
The green was opened and attended by a very large crowd on the 5th June, 1926 by the Chairman of the H.B.U.D.C. (Councillor T. Whiffen) followed by a match against the President of the Kent County Bowling Association (Percy Snow of Margate) and a very strong team of Members of that Association. The fledgling club was beaten by the K.C.B.A. 184 shots to 79, losing on all six rinks. Mr J. Edwards, Vice Chairman of the K.C.B.A. said that a bowling green was one of the finest assets a town and especially a seaside town could have, because it resulted in making so many friends. The photograph (below top) shows the first match played.
In 1930, a pavilion was erected and opened, the Members supplying the furnishings. In 1932 the pavilion was extended to include a Committee Room and a Ladies Room which is now the kitchen.
In 1931, a second green was laid down and this enabled the Club to stage their first Open Pairs Tournament in August 1932. The photograph (above bottom) shows the Captain and President, A.W. Woolf, welcoming competitors to that inaugural tournament. This proved a great success and so in 1933, a Singles and Pairs Open tournament was staged and continued until the outbreak of the war in 1939.
The Ladies section was formed in 1938 with Mrs F. G. Woolf their first Secretary. The first lady to be elected a Member of the Club was Miss Stella Keen (later Hickmott) in 1927.
It was in March 1949 that the greatest change in the history of the Club took place, when the Club took over the control of the greens and premises on a seven years lease. They appointed W. Sears as Green keeper. The lease over varying terms continues.
In 1958, the Herne Bay Bowling Supporters Club Tote was formed and run by G. V. Potton and proved to be one of the financial saviours of the club. The success of the Tote enabled the Club to erect Dressing Rooms at a cost of £1000, in 1965. It considerably helped to pay for the erection of the toilets at a cost of £1450, whilst in 1969 at a cost of £400; it helped to pay for chain link fencing around the greens.
Above Article produced by Robbie Irons – Member of Herne Bay Bowling Club
Kent Reliance Building Society first sponsored the Open Tournament in 1981 when the tournament was expanded to include a Mixed Pairs competition. Herne Bay Bowling Club also host a Mens Triples event in June. A two week Open Tournament is organised during August and September and we wind up the tournament season with a Mixed Triples competition in September. All the tournaments have proved very popular and attract competitors not only from the southeast, but also from the rest of the country.
The club now has a thriving Under 25 Section and the Open Tournament now incorporates both an Under 25 Singles and Pairs. Believed to be one of the first tournaments of its kind in the country, it is one of a number of steps the club is taking to attract more youngsters to the sport. The above picture shows competitors for the first Under 25 Open Singles in 2005.
Winners of the Mollie Cleggett Trophy
9th September 2007
Back: Barbara Morris, Celia Barnes, Joyce Whitlock, Ellen Foster, Ann Moon and Chris Benneworth
Front: Eunice Holder, Pat Douglas, Maggie Dury and Marian Algar
East Kent Finals Winners 2005
Back: George Moon, Brian Gisby, Ian Robb, Ray Chipperfield, Joe Kelly, Joe Barnes, Dave Pennington.
Front: Bill Robb, Harry Algar, Scott Whiting, Bob Baldwin, Robbie Irons.
Winners of the Robert Taylor Trophy, Herne Bay Open Tournament 2010, Mixed Fives
Brian Gisby, Joyce Whitlock, Ted Milton, Ann Moon and Alf Collar