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Wood Green Bowls Club


1906 - 2006

Centennial officers President: Denis Linge

Vice President: Brian Baynes

Captain: Peter Goodchild

Secretary: Malcolm McAskill

Treasurer: Denis Linge

Catering and Social: Pat Goodchild

Centennial Fixtures

Middlesex County Bowling Association

Francis Drake Fel'lowship

North London Thursday Bowling Association

Wednesday Centennial Invitation League

Centennial Dinner Dance Saturday, 27th

January 2007

(venue to be confirmed)

Background to Wood Green Bowls Club

Founded in 1906, during the reign of Edward VI, the green was laid out a year earlier, in the gardens, adjacent to Wood Green Town Hall (now Woodside House). The local area was expanding with new houses springing up for skilled workers and City clerks. The national average wage in 1906 was 30/- (£ 1.50), local houses sold for £550, and rents were 12/6d per week. Now in 2006 the same houses cost £290,000, rents are £200 per week. But the London average wage is £556 per week. The green remains in a public park, and Woodside House still plays an integral part of the 40-year-old borough of Haringey, providing 24/7 cover for CCTV and social services. The 9reen continues to provide a haven of quiet with motor traffic replacing the horse drawn carts and omnibuses of 1906 as a background hum. 1906 and all that!

Wood Green Urban District Council (WGUDC) had a motion put to it by Councillor Cole on Wednesday 26 th October 1904 'that the surveyor be inslructed to prepare estimates for the cost of laying down two bowling greens, one at the Town Hall and one at Station Road ground.' The council a~ain discussed laying out a bowling green in lhe Town Hall Grounds on 28' December 1904, after a Board of Inquiry (financial committee) had agreed the sum of £600 for the work. But the meeting on 25 th January 1905, after delaying the decision for Councillor H. Hext and two others to arrive, only granted a lender for £450 for the work For some reason toilets were dropped from the plans! Councillor Hext foughl the redudion but lost his proposal for £500. (According to the Weekly Herald of 13th July 1906 a certain H.Hext represented Bounds Green Bowling Club in the London and Southern Counties Championship.) Four sets of bowls were purchased from (the still familiar) O. Taylor of Glasgow for use on the green, and a 6 1/2 cwt roller bought. A cap for the green keeper was also purchased.

Origin(ll 1905 Bel/ford mul Perk;lls

law/1 roller. Sfill ill use af the duh

A list of rules and regulations were set out including the cost being 2d per hour and 1d further hour if using own bowls. 2/- per annum for use of locker to keep bowls and shoes in. A version of bowls was believed to be played by the Ancient Egyptians.

The bowling green was to be officially opened with councillors from Southgate, Tottenham and Hornsey invited (they also agreed to make the opening 'Thursday 15 lh if weather contrary'). The Wood Green Sentinel reported on Saturday 81h July 1905 the official opening of the green on Thursday, 6th July. They reported Mr JT.Davis made a speech saying the council had been unanimous in providing the green and hoped "it would be appreciated by all classes." He then bowled the jack and the first wood over the green. While the exhibition match between Wood Green and Hornsey (Councils) took place the Band of the Chase Farm Boys played "tuneful airs from the other side of the fence." The green was, according to the report 'bumpy' but would doubtless be "remedied in time". Wood Green won by 32 points to 26. The first record that could be found of 'team' matches was in the 1906 season. The Weekly Herald reported on Friday 6 th July 1906 a bowls match between Bruce Castle Bowls Club and Earlham Grove Bowls Club. They reported the match in a small paragraph that read ... 'This match was played on Thursday 28 th June at the Green in Town Hall Gardens,

Wood Green. Bowling was really impossible on the very uneven surface of this

green and at the finish Bruce Castle led by 57 points to 53."

The Weekly Herald dated 28 1h July 1906 reported a friendly match between Earlham

Grove Bowling Club and Bruce Castle Bowling Club; this may have been the first

away match.

(Earlham Grove is the single row of houses facing the park visible through the hedge

from the present c1ub- house.)

Club records show the name as Wood Green from 1907 season, as does the local


The Wood Green Town Guide for 1923 describes the facilities thus 'fine Cumberland turf bowling green is provided in the Town Hall Gardens with six rinks, and is much used in the summer months. The charge per hour is four pence'. The 1935 Sports Facilities for Wood Green ~ecords the charge as 6d an hour for each player, season ticket cost-拢:tl11i6d plus 2/- for use of locker. Inter Association matches cost 10/- for the use of 1 - 3 rinKS, -路157- for 4 - 6 rinks. There is a bowls green in Southampton reputed to have been in operation since 1299.


Minutes of our history Like many other bowls clubs the structure has changed little in 100 years l There is still a president, captain, secretary and treasurer. According to preserved minute books the same problems and arguments persist today as they did years ago. One of the first club presidents was Councillor Cole, a local politician. He first proposed the idea of a bowling green in Town Hall Gardens. Councillor Cole was from the Co le family who ran the pottery in White Hart Lane. Our earliest surviving committee book dates from 1917 to 1922. The book records discussions about the purchase of badges, button comps. (using a fixed jack), the fixture list, arguments about names being scratched and who should attend the Middlesex County Dinner at the clubs expense. There is no mention of women bowlers, but many votes of thanks to 'the lady's for their help'. On Thursday 411 • February 1970 a 'Ladies cooperation meeting' took place. It was agreed by all present that ladies night would be Tuesday evenings from 8.15 pm. Mrs Jones, on behalf of the ladies, extended a cordial invitation to the gentlemen to 'render instruction, help and guidance in correct way of bowling'. The gentlemen readily agreed. The minutes go on to record 'at this junction reference was made to the necessity of some organised assistance in the catering arrangements of the club.' Two men and two women were to be shown each week 'engaged on Canteen work' when the weekly list was posted. Wood Green stats. In the hundred years since its foundation the club has had

14 presidents, the first M.Heet, the longest serving S.B. Cole who held the post

for 24 years.

16 secretaries, the first D. Bradford, the longest serving B. Baynes who served

for 14 years.

24 treasurers, the first H. Fromme, the longest serving J. Jones.

And 31 club captains, the first H. Longland, joint longest continuously serving A.

Milne (1914 - 1922) and D. Linge (1991 - 1999).

Clubhouse snippets

Every player who walks through the door walks on history. The W.G.U.D.C.

doormat is one of only a few left in use. (Wood Green Urban District Council

became Wood Green Borough Council in 1933.)

The present pavilion was originally the teahouse for the Town Hall Gardens.

According to lines from a Shakespeare play women were playing bowls in the 1500's.

42 banners and bannerettes won or presented adorn the walls.

A large collection of bowls club badges is on display in a frame.

There are two clocks presented in memory of long serving members.

The club has a cabinet with a collection of bowls, mini-cups. shields, ashtrays and

other memorabilia from around the country and overseas.

Possess 21 cups and 26 replicas presented annually at the dinner dance.

The impressive club shield hanging on the inside wall hides a dartboard

And on the green

The present club tool shed and storeroom is on the site of the original clubhouse.

A reminder (from 1974) the council do not allow crepe soles (brothel creepers) on

the green,

The rusty looking roller in the corner may be the original purchased in 1905 and is

still in use.

The club flag was purchased in 1980 for ÂŁ29.95p.The large willow tree has a

preservation order on it. We still use chalk and string to measure just like a

hundred years ago.

Remains ofthe.former pavilion /lOW 1I/i1i(F shed. The first British se!tfers in America built bowling greens, with one recorded in Williamsburg VA in 1632.



Salvatio/l Army Corps Buml outside tl,e clubllOu.l路e i/l 1933 available (!{fhe lIew c1ublwu.~e). By kind permlssioll ofthe Sa/l'atiOIl Army

eurlie.~t picture

Wood Green Winners Wood Green has always prided itself on producing winners - team as well as individual players. Our 'Honours Board' gives testament to these achievements. As far back as Mr. E.J.Eves, was an international player, and in 1997 1919 a club member, Darren Gosnell played in the Middleton Cup, with 2002 seeing Andy Law win the Middlesex Unbadged singles. Individual Winners Our international player E.J.Eves was in the 1919 England team to play the home international series held that year in Carlisle. Scotland won the competition, with England second, Wales third and Ireland fourth. (Thanks to English Bowls for providing the information.) E. J. Eves was Club Champion in 1908, and played for the county in 1914. Club member Darren Gosnell won the Middlesex County under25's in 1995, and went on to play in the Myddleton Cup in 1997/8.

Moving to the next millennium, Andy Law won the Middlesex Unbadged singles in 2002 and subsequently played for the county while a member of this club. Current outside competitions. Members retain a keen sense of competition by entering outside singles, pairs, triples and rinks every year, with varying degrees of success, but are always well supported by others at home and away. When Captain Cook arrived on Sandwich Island in 1788 he found the locals playing a version of bowls, fashioned from whetstone. 5

Local Hospitals Competitions.

The Hospitals competition started in 1938. Mr Tripp and Mr Crosby (known locally as

Mr Bowl's) initiated the competition to support local hospitals, which were self­

financing prior to the NHS, founded ten years later in 1948. The local paper reported

in 1967 a sum of £1,400 had been raised for the various hospital since 1938.

The club has put out rinks for the local hospitals competition every season so far.

The impressive list of competition wins includes 4 singles winners, eleven pairs

winners, five triples and seven rink winners. Andy Law and Pat Goodchild were

mixed pairs winners in three consecutive years.

North London Thursday Bowling Association.

Originally set up by local shopkeepers whose traditional 'half-day' was Thursday, to

provide them with competitions when trading allowed them to take part in games.

Our first success in this competition was 1939 when Wood Green won the pairs, and

repeated the success the following year. Our mixed pair of P.Goodchild and Mrs.

P.Goodchild won the competition in 2005

Cornish Shield.

Presented by Councillor Cornish who was a member of Edmonton Urban District

council from 1890, a keen bowler. brick maker and wealthy entrepreneur. The shield

was played for originally by the London Parks Bowling Association and was donated

in 1921.The shield was lifted by the club in 1932,'34,'39.'42.'52 and a recent victory

in millennium year 2000.

Tottenham and District Bowling Association.

Previously the Tottenham and District Public Parks BA the club has had many

successes in the competitions dating back to 1928 and 1929 when the pairs were

won on consecutive years. The latest win was 2002 in the fours. Andy Law was

Champion of Champions in 2000 and 2001

The club has played an active role in the administration of the association for many


Prescott Cup.

Colonel Sir William Prescott the M.P for Tottenham North presented the Cup on 13lh

March 1906 to be played for by four Tottenham clubs. Later the cup was played for

in the wider Tottenham arid District.

The prestigious Prescott Cup, now in two divisions, has been a fixture on the club

calendar since 1911. Victory was celebrated in 1920, 1921 and 1925. then an 11­

year gap with victory in 1936

One of the first descriptions of the Mid-West plains of the US was said to look like a well-kept bowling green.

and again in 1938. Victory came again post-war in 1946. A thirty-year wait until 1976 brought victory in Division 2, and the George Smith Trophy in its' tenth year. Another lengthy wait to 1993 saw Wood Greens' most recent victory. A minute book from 1917 - 1922 records that members of the Prescott winning leam in 1920 were to be awarded badges at 5/- each. Tottenham Parks Bowls Association agreed ÂŁ3 for the cost but 15 members where entitled to badges. The club agreed to pay the extra 15/- so all team members got their badges. (It works out in 'old' money promise!) Wood Green has previously been affiliated to London Parks BA in which

we had a number of successes.

The club has also been affiliated to Finchley and District BA, with some

members bowling in their weeklong open tournament. (Finchley Week)

Other competitions were played in the past decades including a Friendship

cup against Vauxhall Motors. Unfortunately there is not a complete record

of all matches played only the post-war records survive. Many of the names

are still familiar like Bury Lodge others not so like G Division of the Met.



The club has won several Bannerettes, still proudly on display in the Club

House. A Middlesex bannerette was played for in 1932 and 1996. Others

include London Parks BA, Tottenham and District BA

Club Trophies

Several trophies have been donated over the past century in memory of

departed members The Sid and Stella Miles, Norman Chappell, Jim

Bradford and Burry Trophies, as well as the Les Brown salver are still being

contested. An ornate wooden spoon goes to the overall spoons winner each


Burry Trophy

C.T.Burry was Club president 1945 to 1952. The trophy, started in 1961, is

played for each Spring Bank holiday, usually as a triple.

Jim Bradford Trophy

Played for each August Bank Holiday Monday usually as a triples

competition. The first trophy winners in 1978 included Mrs Irene Bradford in

the winning triple with A. Anderson and H. Clewley.

Sid and Stella Miles Cup

Originally the Sid Miles trophy re-named following the death of his wife,

Slella, in 1997, is usually played for as a triple.

It was the Scots, in 1848, who first wrote a set of rules for bowls that became the rules we know today.


Norman Chappell Cup First played for in1989 on Ladies Day as a ladies only trophy. Mrs Edith Chappell was Ladies Champion in 1978 and took part in the cup competitions. Les Brown Salver Unlike other club trophies the salver is played for in sets, three sets of seven ends in the first rounds increasing to five sets in the final. The first winner was J. Alien in 1989. Club Competitions Club competitions are eagerly played for each season, from the most experienced bowler to the latest rookie taking part. Our current club competitions are the club and minor championship, handicap, pairs, and a 'round robin' for the Ladies championship. A Two Foot and Two Wood are played for over one day. Regular 'Spoons matches' are also eagerly competed for. (The Veterans' is not played at present.) From 1907 to 2005 there were 60 club champions, with Denis Linge winning the coveted title seven times. The Ladies Championship began in 1970 and has been held by eleven ladies. The championship was not held for several years, due to lack of lady members, but the competition was revived in 2000 in a 'round robin' format.

Francis Drake Fellowship Shock l Horror! When Sir Francis Drake played the alleged game on Plymouth Hoe in 1588 any of us playing bowls at the time would have been breaking the law! A Statue (law) passed in 1541 forbade bowling and tennis by the 'Iow-born, servants or serving men' except at Christmas. Sir Francis was exempt as he was after all a privateer. The law was not repealed until 1845 in the reign of Queen Victoria. Thanks to the local representative, the club has a 100% record of support for the fellowship in its work for needy bowlers nation wide. There is a club centenary match against the fellowship on 11 th June 2006.

Sociable Wood Green Ih the summer months after matches there is often a reason to stay and socialise at the clubhouse - a match won, some ones birthday, or just the fact it's a pleasant evening! Special events are marked by a buffet supper and on some occasion a 'themed' evening like the 60 lh anniversary of V.E. day, It was a Northern Ireland bowler who carried tile flag for the opening ceremony of the

Manchester Commohwealth games.


and the clubs 90th birthday. A special cake in the shape of a green, complete with

mole was provided on that occasion.

Wednesday evenings continue to be club nights for roll ups and socialising.

Charity Days

There is a 'charity day' each season, the money raised going to various charities,

Over the years these have included cancer relief, the local hospice and charities for

the elderly. The annual charity day always culminates in a lively buffet social. During

the 80th anniversary year in 1986 the club donated £500 to the local branch of the

Motor Neurone Disease Association, with another £500 going to the new North

London Hospice, In total £1,240 went to local charities. The money was raised

throughout the year, with £827 raised on the green. Representatives of the main

charities were presented with cheques at the dinner dance. The event featured in

the local papers.

Wood Green on tour

The chance to combine bowls and a seaside holiday was a winning combination in

the days before the cheap overseas package deals. Wood Green members toured

with North London clubs to venues like Yarmouth, Weston Super Mare and Torquay,

There was a series of friendly matches arranged with local clubs, activities for non­

bowlers and lots of convivial evenings in the hotel bar.

Wood Green members 0/1 tour in Yarmouth, Jllly 2000. With tha/ll<s to Mrs I Fowler for the photograph.

Annual Dinner Dance The high light of the out of season activities, the dinner dance has been a firm fixture for many years. In 1918 the dinner accounts showed a balance of 3s 9d, receipts were £25.7s and expenses £25.3s 3d. A record from 1920 gives no details in the club minutes except to show over 100 applications for tickets and the 'final arrangements left in the hands of Dinner Committee', In 1921 the dinner had a deficit of £ 1.11.6d an amount incurred by the Chairman in entertaining guests, he got the money from club funds after some discussion and a formal motion! The 1956 Jubilee dinner broke- even with a total outlay of £76 by 1966 outlay was £155. For 1976 the outlay was £758 including £12 for bouquets and £8.82p on cigarettes. The current mayor was a regular guest speaker with the reply coming from the club president. The 1986 dinner was hosted at the Firs Hall, a member noting they did a nice steak and kidney pudding. And by 1996... the minutes came full circle leaving all arrangements to the dinner committee! 9

Whist Drives 216 for a good night out Whist drives were a popular feature of the closed season for many years; in one instance attracting up to 240 people The cosl was 2/6d in 1922 and was still 2/6d in 1965' The whist drives were held in the Nightingale Hotel and at other times in Wood side House. The Wood Green. Southgale and Palmers Green Weekly th Herald on Friday 6 April 1956 reported the winners of the last Whist Drive of the season. A whole winter series look place as part of the Jubilee year. In recent years Wood Green members have joined a local darts league to keep contact out of season.

Site ofbow(s green ill TOlVn Hafl Gardens 1903, prior to wnstrlldioll. Photo copyrig'" of Bruce Castle Museu/II (Haringey Libraries, An:/live &Musellm Ser~ice)


Bruce Castle Museum and Archive, especially Jeff Gerhadrt for his understanding

and patience.

Charlie Gee for his vast knowledge so freely given.

Jamie Stripe for his technical know- how.

Malcolm and Alastair MeA skill for proof reading, and supplying all those cups of


Old Lawn Mower Club for promptly pointing in the right direction to track the

ancient rol/er.

English National Bowls for checking facts.

The Salvation Army for the 1933 clubhouse picture.

Everyone who supplied the photographs, personal stories and encouragement.

Thank you all.


Wood Green Bowls Club gives thanks to • The most important people in the c1u b over the past 100 years - the players, members and supporters, without whom the Club would not have been possible. They have given of their time, support, money and energy to make the club welcoming, viable and a sociable place to play bowls. • The encouragement given by English National Bowls, North London BA, Tottenham and District B.A., Middlesex County and previously London Parks BA • Sponsors over the years especially Days Cycles and Thrift Building Society. • To 'The Lady' magazine and Jayprint of Luton for their support. • And finally the continued cooperation of Haringey Council and their Parks Department.

The rub of the green has become a phrase used in the wider sporting world, even curling.


Researched and compiled by Cherry McAskill and Kirsty McAskiIJ







Wood Green Bowls Club Centenary 1906 - 2006  

Pamphlet commemorating the centenary od Wood Green Bowls Club, based in Woodside Park, Wood Green, London N22