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Club History

The first minute book records a meeting that took place on 20 June 1927 to discuss the formation of a Bowling Club and to decide on a suitable field to lay a green.

The Vicar (the Rev. Canon F L Perkins) was in the chair and 23 other prospective members were present.

£3 remained in the bank from a previous bowling club and this was made available to the new club along with 11 sets of woods. A Committee of seven Members was appointed at the meeting:

Chairman: Mr J Budden

Hon Secretary: Mr W J Simpson

Hon Treasurer: Mr A H Shaw

Committee: Mr T Shields

                   Mr R Lonsbrough

                   Mr F Hardy

                   Mr T Williamson

Others present at the meeting were:

Messrs W H Adams, H Akers, Rev. A S Crawley, F Foster, R Gawthrop, H Gill, G Greaves, J Hudson (Sen), S Johnson, Scott Johnson, W Johnson, E Pallister, Mr Seal (Jnr), Mr Seal (Sen), Tom Walker and W Wells.

It was unanimously agreed to charge an entrance fee of 10/-, which was to be paid before 31 July 1927. All those present agreed to join the Club.

A further General Meeting was held on 3 November 1927 when it was reported that a field had been secured in Acaster Lane and about half the green had been laid. There was sufficient turf available to complete a further quarter of the green and expenditure to date had been £49.

A letter of thanks was to be sent to Mr L Paget of Middlethorpe for the use of his green during the past summer and it was agreed to ask Mr Paget to become President of the Club. The following were to be asked to become Vice-presidents:

Rev Canon Perkins, Rev Crawley, His Grace the Archbishop of York, Sir Wilfred Thomson, Councillor F W Terry, Col Tindale, G A Bromet, E Ashby, W Lofthouse, W Johnson (Builder), W J Simpson, W Johnson (Market Gardener) and Mr Sanderson.

Play at Acaster Lane began in 1928, initially between members of Bishopthorpe BC and in 1929 they arranged matches against Clifton & St Clements. The green was out of action in 1930 'due to vermin'. This was damage caused by rabbits and bowls was played at the cricket ground on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday, and at Mr Bromet's while the green was repaired. Matches for the 1930 season were arranged with Dringhouses, Escrick, St Clements, Railway Ramblers & Clifton. The green became open for play again on 25 April 1931, with matches arranged against Escrick, Terry's, St Clements and Dringhouses.

By 1933, more matches had been arranged against Acomb, Clifton, Dringhouses, St Clements, Scarcroft, Terrys,York Cricket & Bowling Club and The Retreat, with Ben Johnsons, South Bank WMC and Holgate WMC added to the list by 1938.

A list of members is recorded in the back of the minute book for this period: Messrs Butterworth; S. Johnson; W Johnson (Builder); W Whitehead; H Gill; T Gawthorpe; J W Watson; Foster; F Battrick; W A Cooper; W R Briggs; Seal Sen; Seal Jun; B Hudson; A H Shaw; Bromley; Patchett; F Hardy; Scott Johnson; W Adams; J Ringrose; G Greaves; H Akers; A Akers; Fenney; J H Brown; R Lansborough; W Simpson; Richards, W W Buckle; D Lycett Green; H M Stobart. (33 in all)

The next minute book begins in 1950 and covers the period to 1962.

The AGM held on 7 February 1952 discussed the possibility of ladies joining the Club. Some members abstained from the vote, 7 voted for the motion to allow ladies to join and 7 against. The Chairman's casting vote was for ladies to be allowed to join. Subsequent discussion ruled that ladies could play only on afternoons and would be asked to pay a subscription of 5 shillings - half the annual subscription at the time of 10 shillings.

No ladies joined and a vote was held again in 1967, with 10 votes for and 2 votes against. Ladies were given full membership for the reduced pensioner subscription rate of £1 per season. Boys over the age of 10 were also accepted and at the end of the season, membership stood at 26 adults & 2 boys. Membership declined in 1968 to 22 adults & 2 juniors putting a strain on fulfilling fixtures. In 1971, membership of men had declined further to 19 but the Club now had 10 lady members making a total of 29. Numbers stayed around these figures throughout the 1970s with more ladies than men towards the end of the decade.

The minutes of the meeting 6 June 1983 record 58 members, a significant improvement and work at the ground included a new fence and gate, installation of a flush toilet and a new green watering system. A membership limit of 65 was agreed.

Formation of the Tockwith & District Village Bowls League was discussed in January 1984. Despite reservations that playing competitively could damage the 'social aspect of the Club', it was agreed to join for one year.

An estimate of £200 had been received from NEEB to supply electricity to the clubhouse, but the committee considered the standing charge to be too high and it was decided to continue sharing the Tennis Club's supply.

1983 Fixtures card shows total of 19 fixtures. Membership of 73 in June 1984 - decision taken to continue accepting applications in view of difficulty raising teams for matches. However, committee decided to accept new applications only from Bishopthorpe residents.