Charles Harvey_Minehead Bowling Club Pre



History of the club (transcript from 'The Changing Face of Minehead' by Charles Harvey - published 2007).​

Although there appears to have been a Bowling Club on Culvercliff many years ago, as can be seen from the old maps of the area, the existing club was not formed until 1917. Renting a corner of the Recreation Ground in Irnham Road from Mr Luttrell, it has gone from strength to strength.

Originally, men only was the rule, with just a hut as the clubhouse. Bowls in general changed and ladies were then allowed to play, so a new clubhouse was built. Both ladies’ and gents’ changing rooms and toilets were included, as was a bar and social area. Rumour has it that it took the whole season to drink a barrel of beer; any left-over was consumed on the final day of the season.

In 1975, a dramatic change took place, in that the club members decided that an Indoor Rink was required. This would mean that the driving to Bridgwater or Watchet, once a week, would not be necessary. Both of these clubs had this facility. Peter Kirkham drew up the plans for this new project, which were passed by the Council. These plans were for a further new clubhouse, which included a single rink green and all of the usual facilities.

Fundraising took place, much in the capable hands of Maudie Tapp and Aubrey Balkwill. Various members made loans and gifts and a grant was obtained from the National Playing Fields Association. The members themselves built this facility, with the help of several professionals. Many of these members were in their seventies, but to see them, you would not have thought so, such was their enthusiasm. Many of them had only worked in offices or similar jobs.

Those who helped to build this new facility readily come to mind. Gordon & Dorothy Townsend, Jack & Ruth Edwards, Jim & Mary Millard, Ray Delbridge, Les & Elsie Stern, Fred Norman, Ernie Rose, Charlie Savage, Frank Gentle, Arthur Langdon, Bill Burgess, the Durman brothers, Brian Lewis, Charlie Harvey, Norman Ackland, Ben Wood, along with Brian Creech and Tony Norman (bricklayers), were some of these people. We must not forget Mary Danks, Edith & Eileen Tapp, Peggie Burgess and others who worked so tirelessly behind the scenes. All of this in order to make the project such a success

Once started, progress was rapid, so much so, that the building was opened by David Bryant of Clevedon & England, on the 24th September 1977. Membership increased so sharply, that in 1990 a further two rinks had to be built.

Success has come in various ways both on the green and off. The club has provided seven different County Presidents over the years. Both the Ladies and the Gents have reached County Finals on numerous occasions, sometimes winning, sometimes being runners-up.

Some outstanding successes were Archie Burgess and Mervyn May winning the County Singles, with Mervyn also winning the County Two-Wood Singles, as did Terry Jones, winning the Champion of Champions. John Langdon and Mike Manns, winning the Hon Sec’s Singles and Bertha Soden, winning the County Un-Badged Singles. The real icing on the cake was Pauline Morgan and Sue Langdon, not only winning the Somerset County Pairs Championship, but going on to win the All‑England and then the British Isles Pairs Championship. What an achievement!

Over the past few years Ladies have won the Somerset County Club Championship (Fear) on several occasions, but the men have only reached the equivalent (Turnbull Cup) on one occasion, losing in the semi-final. Both the Ladies and the Gents have also done well in other competitions, but often falling at the final hurdle. However, the men have won the West Somerset League several times and although not entering the newly formed Somerset County League in the first year, has seemed rapid promotion to the Premier league in two years and to go on and win this in the third year, 2002. Also in 2002 the club entered a ‘B’ side in the Somerset League and they went against all expectations by winning promotion in the first year.

Here again has been an excellent management committee over quite a few years ably Chaired by Norman Ackland for some 27 years. Also there have been several excellent secretaries such as Ernie Rose, Viv. Held, Ralph Brown, Jon Langdon and now Mike Manns, as well as Treasurers Henry Randle, Jack Edwards and Russell Bennett.

Hopefully, this success will continue.