History

A Brief History

1903 is the first date Indoor Bowling is mentioned so far found in any local records, the mention came soon after the Shelter Hall (now the Bexhill museum) was built in Egerton Park in that year. The idea was that a Temporary Green to play Indoor Bowls would be laid down so that it could be removed when the hall was being used for meetings and Concerts.

We do not know if the Shelter Hall was ever used for Indoor Bowling at this time as no hard evidence is available but we do know that in 1907 the then Borough council put aside £15 for an Indoor Rink to be provided in the Hall. Little is still known after this date whether Indoor Bowling ever came to fruition in Bexhill but the seeds were definitely sown in someone’s mind well before this later date as is shown later.

Outdoor Bowls had been played on Public Greens in Bexhill since 1907 when the first Green was opened in Egerton Park. Previous to this the game of lawn Bowls was played mostly in private gardens just like croquet.

Bexhill Bowlers Pre First World War

Bexhill Bowling Club was the first established club in the town, although there was a previous attempt by St Barnabas Cricket Club a few years earlier to start a Bowling Club but it failed to prosper.

Also at this time we know that a Pergola was also in place in Egerton Park for open air concerts and services and was much in use for public meetings. This was on the future site of the Pavilion and the current Centre.

In 1933 the Egerton Park Pavilion Theatre was built, a design being chosen so that in the winter the auditorium could be used for Indoor Bowling Rinks. It was then known as one of the earliest indoor Bowling Centres in the Country.

Egerton Theatre

Theatre with Bowls Surface Down 1930s A guide book at the time quote: ”Two Indoor Rinks are provided for winter play for the club and visitors use, the rinks are generally regarded as second to none on the South Coast.”
The Summer seasons in the Theatre were followed each winter by the seats being removed by the members and the Indoor Bowls carpet being laid ready for play. In the early 50s the theatre was used less and less and finally the resident company the Penguin Players moved to the De La Warr Pavilion.

The members of the Bexhill Bowling Club now had sole use of the building granted to them. With this development the club decided in 1954 to have the Theatre stage taken out and added two more Rinks to the Centre. This was also the year that all the outdoor clubs in the district set up an indoor section to be known as the Bexhill Indoor Bowling Association.

During the 50s, 60s and 70s, it had one of the most successful Easter Tournaments in the South of England with players coming from all over the country to play in the tournament. A Rose Bowl Trophy donated to the club by the Beach Family in 1939 was the prize the winners received and it is still being played for up to this very day.

On the 18th of January 1967 the Club became incorporated as Egerton Park Indoor Bowls Club Ltd and continued to have success as a Bowling Club. In the following years the Bexhill Bowling Club as it was still known flourished as an Indoor Bowls venue with all four rinks in regular use.

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