The latest presentation in the display cabinets in Alresford Library in Broad Street shows some photos and artefacts from the Alresford Bowling Club. The sport of bowling has been active in Alresford since around 1650, around 350 years ago, and it is possibly the second oldest recorded bowling club in the country. The current bowling green on Sun Lane is known to have been in use from 1823. Records suggest that in earlier times the bowling green was on the East of Sun Lane, the opposite side of the road – it was probably relocated to the current site when Langstone House was built in the nineteenth Century.
The current club was re-formed/established in 1937, through the efforts of Sidney Lane: he had moved to Alresford during the First World War, with the firm of solicitors run by George Ridley Shield. After WW1 he returned to London, but moved back to Alresford on his retirement in 1937. The first members of the re-established club included such people as Canon A J Robertson, Lord Templemore, Sir Anthony Tichborne, Sir Francis Lindley, Doctors Leishman and Meryon, and George Ridley Shield. Cameron Black, the Publican at the Sun Inn, agreed to rent the green to the new bowling club for £10 per annum.
The 1938 members of the bowling club were shown in the photo below, courtesy of www.alresfordheritage.co.uk, which numbered from the right include: 1. Edgar Blake of the World’s Stores, 2. Canon Robertson, 3. Sidney (Lofty) Lane, 4. George Wigmore (Barber), 5. Claude Hunt (Tobacconist), 7. H C Godwin of Langton’s Farm, 10. Bert Davy, and 14. Mr Bascombe (Postmaster).
Currently the Alresford Bowling Club has over 70 members, plus 10 non-playing ‘Social’ members. For information and membership details, please contact Barry Morgan, Secretary, Phone 733477 or visit the website, www.alresfordbowlingclub.org.uk.
The display of Alresford Bowling Club items can be viewed in the library during opening hours. These include Saturday morning and all day Friday, as well as half days on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.