History of Craig y Don Bowling Club

The information below is has been taken from a booklet prepared by William Arthur Hitchinson in 2002. Click here to download The History of Craig y Don Bowling Club.

A E Vollam of the Post Office Craig-y-Don and part owner of the land where the club now stands, called a meeting at the Ormescliffe Hotel with a proposal to form a Bowling Club in Craig-y-Don on 3rd November 1913. Twenty-seven people attended and agreed to found a bowling club and elected a committee. An annual subscription of 10/6d (55p) was agreed.

At the first committee meeting on 13th. December 1913, the Hon.Sec. was instructed to get the best possible terms for a lease including a clause giving them first option to purchase. The Hon. Sec. reported that the green was proceeding in a satisfactory manner and the committee instructed him to obtain plans and estimates for a Pavilion. It was also decided that the club should be open to Lady members at an annual subscription of 5/- (25p).

At the second committee meeting the Hon. Sec reported that the Landowners -Mr. Vollam, Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Winstanley (all three members) had agreed to a five-year lease al £25 per annum. He also had tenders from £ 141 to £286/5/- for the erection of the pavilion. The builder with the lowest tender had difficulties which necessitated asking Alex Williams to modify his original plan and so the Pavilion cost £182. The Club and Pavilion opened on the 9th April 1911.

In the early years the club membership was steady at around 50 members and the main bowling activities were the Club Competitions organised by the handicap committee. The games were open to Lady Members and wives of Members, as well as Members, played at 21 up with a new draw after each round and the finals played to 21 up

The first winner of the George Barker (President) Challenge Cup in 1914 was Mr. E.O Evans.

Visitors were also welcome and it is reported that 1400 attended in 1917 and 2480 in 1918.

The first recorded game against another Club was a Charity Match at Llandudno on the 8th July 1916. The second was in 1919 against the Constitutional Club. Colwyn Bay.

In January 1919 the Committee discussed a letter from Mr Winstanley regarding the formation of a bowling league for the coast of North Wales. It is possible that some form of league was founded with possibly three or four teams.

It was not until 1926 that the North Wades Coast Amateur Bowling League was formed. The 8 founder member clubs were: Rhyl, Llandudno, Colwyn Bay Cons, Old Colwyn, Craig-y-Don, Highbury, Rhos on Sea and Llanrwst.

The Llandudno and District Bowling League was founded in 1937 and was played on a Wednesday, the shopkeepers’ half day. In the early days of the league the composition included several of the local clubs together with teams from local shops and firms such as the Co-op, GPO and Radcliff.

Although ladies were allowed to play bowls from when the club was founded, they had to be wives or widows of gentlemen members and their activities were confined to social bowling and making teas. In 1969 the committee refused to allow a ladies match to take place, but in 1970 a ladies section was formed, which allowed them to play in matches but not in club competitions or vote.

In 1986 a Veterans committee was formed.

The Pavilion was built in 1914 at a cost of £182. In 1918, the members failed to raise the money to purchase the Club for £400, but had a lease from the landowners for 25 years at a rent of £25 per year.

Sometime between 1918 and 1952 the Club land reverted, from the original owners Messrs. Voltam. Montgomery and Winstanlcy, to the local Council and the Club had a lease with a rent, which was reviewed and renewed every six years.

In 1970 a new extension was proposed to the Club house and the builders Frank Tyldesley had quoted £1125. The necessary applications were made for planning permission and grants but in order to obtain a grant from the Sports Council the Club had to negotiate a 25 year lease with the local council. The extension was ready in 1973 and a grant from the Sports Council for £690 was received.

With the exception of as extension for a kitchen and gents toilet, the original timber framed Pavilion is little changed, even though the floorboards needed replacing following the Llandudno floods on Thursday 10th June 1993.

The photo was taken of the club on 26 May 2012