A Summary of the History of Stanwick Bowls Club
The following notes show how our Club has developed and evolved since it was originally founded.
We are extremely grateful to Club committee member John Chatburn who spent considerable time reading through past minutes of Club meetings in 2013 for the purpose of producing an informative pamphlet in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Club's founding. John's diligent work forms the basis of the following summary.
2023 will see our Club celebrate its centenary. We are confident that with the continued support of members and the wider community, our Club will continue to flourish and provide fun and competitive bowls and be a credit to our village.
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1923 Some men from the village began playing bowls on the front rectory lawn and the St. Laurence Bowls Club came into being.
This photograph hangs in our clubhouse. It is titled :-
"St Lawrence Bowls Club, Stanwick, May 1928. A tribute of respect to the Rector."
We have only been able to identify a small number of those in the picture:-
Back row, 4th from left - Mr Knight, 5th from left - Eddie Knight, 9th from left - Mr Laywood.
Front row - 4th from left - Rev. Ford.
We would welcome contact from anyone who may be able to assist in identifying others in the photograph.
1929 Work started on laying a new green in its present location, then owned by the church authorities. In effect it was a grassed area in the corner of a corn field
1930 The green was ready for use. The opening match was arranged with St. Peter’s Church Institute Bowls Club on Whit Tuesday. An opening ceremony was performed by a Mrs. Wetenhall. A formal set of rules for play was adopted. The rector, being the landlord, liased with the Diocesan Authorities to set up a legal tenancy agreement and the first years rent was fixed at £1 10s. The Wetenhall Cup was donated to the club this year
1932 Members paid an annual subscription of 10/- . Payment by half crown instalments was an acceptable arrangement.
1933 The club purchased a pavilion for £20. It was erected after being carted from Ringstead.
1938 A 12" Ransome Mower was purchased from Frosts of Raunds for £7.15s. Previously members had loaned their own equipment. To cover the expenditure members were asked to pay their contributions for the next season in advance
1939 The outbreak of the second world war brought an early closure to the season and the cancellation of a couple of matches
1942 At the start of the 1942 season the grass in the first instance was cut with a scythe and to get some funds in hand, members were called upon for an extra 2/6d.
1943 An application was received from a Captain Wright for the use of the hut for sleeping accommodation for 4 soldiers.
1945 April brought a new rector to Stanwick, Rev. F. Taylor who was appointed club president
1948 Fixtures against other clubs were reintroduced. Tea was provided but players had to bring their own food
1950 Things were going well. Funds in hand amounted to £13.15.3d. The club purchased its first motor mower at a cost of £45
1952 Rev. Taylor left the village and Mr. A.J. Potter was the first member other than the village rector to be appointed to chair meetings.
1954 The club formally adopted the name “Stanwick Bowls Club” as the new Rector had little interest in the Club, which hitherto, had had strong links with the church.
1960 A record amount of funds - £97.6s was held in the Club’s account
1962 The club appointed a paid groundsman, Mr.A. Berrill on a regular basis-Annual pay £20
1969 It was agreed with Raunds U.D.C that a charge of £60 would cover the upkeep of the green for one year. Membership subscriptions were doubled to 30 shillings and green fees for members was set at 2 shillings
1970 Records show 24 matches against other clubs were played
1973 The Club was in profit and membership was reported to be 40
1975 Stanwick Bowls Club were runners up for the Manfield Cup. It was a significant success, the 16 strong team being selected from a membership of only 28 whereas their opponents, the winners, Peterborough and District were able to pick from well over 100
1980 Subscriptions were increased to £1.50p and green fees raised to 20p.
1985 During this year the club bought an office building from a sheet metal company operating in Peterborough. Although advertised for £4000.00 it was acquired for £1500.00. Having been dismantled for transportation to Stanwick it laid in sections for 2 years while arguments were taking place about the required planning permission
1986 A fund raising officer was appointed (Mr. Tom Sawford) to generate money to get the new pavilion up and equipped etc. In those days the club was more successful in obtaining grants; e.g. £1,800 from N.C.C., £1,500 from E.N.D.C., £1,200 from the Sports Council and £800 from East Anglia Sports Committee
1987 Once the go ahead to proceed with the building work was received, mains electricity and sewerage had to be connected to the site
1988 The pavilion was completed
1989 A properly authorised set of rules for the club was introduced.
1990 A particularly useful development to the club both socially and financially was the introduction of the short mat game. This has kept a nucleus of members together from October to April each year. A mat was obtained for trials in January and the venture was so well supported the second one was purchased in September
1991 The earliest recorded green inspection by NBA gave us a category C rating thus allowing County Competitions to take place at Stanwick
1993 A total of 67 matches were played
1994 Full use of the extended area of the bowling green commenced this season. Additionally the District Council agreed to take over the total maintenance of the bowling green, the gardens and the perimeter.
1996 Honours boards were only made and installed in the pavilion this year
1998 The club's 75th Anniversary Celebrations included the club entertaining a team from Raunds Town Council captained by the chairman, Cllr. Neil Harvey
2001 Until the middle of the season somewhat limited work, which was not at all that satisfactory was carried out on the green, the club having made an arrangement with a local gardening/landscape type of contractor. By August of this year Mr. Ray Marshall became our greenkeeper. In those early days Mr. Cliff Catlin was a great help in advising on and generally helping with green maintenance.
2003 Official confirmation was received from the inspectorate giving the green a category B rating
2009 The management committee organised a surprise party for Les Walker to celebrate his membership of 60 years with the club. His involvement with bowling in terms of time will be very difficult to better. Les, now a life member, was club captain in 1955, 1956 and again from 1962 to 1964. He held the position of secretary continuously from 1957 to 1987, when for the following year he was given the honour of the presidency of the club and he remained the president up to and including the 1994 season
2013 The Club celebrated 90 years of existence with a match arranged involving six other clubs. Membership stood at 48.
2015 Greenkeeper Ray Marshall retired.
2016 Messrs Premier Lawncare took over the maintenance on the green.
2020 The Covid 19 pandemic enforced the closure of the Club in March. A very restricted Outdoor Season did take place, but national restrictions meant that the 2020/21 indoor season could not proceed, resulting in a significant strain on Club finances. No Club AGM could be held due to national restrictions on gatherings
2021 September - an Extraordinary Meeting was called to keep Members informed of the current situation. A new mower was purchased
2022 Bowling was permitted to resumed indoors, and in February we were fortunate to get help from the Princes Trust when a group of young people were at the Club for 4 weeks doing essential maintenance work outdoors, at no cost to us. A successful, but shortened, indoor season drew to a close in April and outdoor roll-up sessions re-commenced in the same month. A total of 36 outdoor matches, played home and away, are scheduled for the 2022 summer outdoor season. Additionally, the Club is delighted to be involved in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Sunday 5 June 2022 when have a go sessions will be available for any interested village residents.
Without doubt our Club has, from the very early days, had many members who have always been prepared to give their time voluntarily to support the facility on which the game of lawn bowls has been played in the village for the past 100 years. A number of people were fully committed in helping financially too as previous minutes record loans to the club on several occasions, with some being most generous in relation to the weekly wage they must have been receiving at the time. There are instances where some of the people did not look, or expected, to be repaid.
We look forward with confidence to celebrating the centenary of our Club in 2023.
Our Club has gone from strength to strength over recent years to develop into being amongst the best in our region. We now have a very respectable playing surface together with comfortable pavilion facilities and reasonably secure storage space for all our equipment.
We welcome enquiries from anyone interested in joining our Club, or from complete novices who may wish to try this absorbing and enjoyable sport without obligation and completely free of charge.