It is not known exactly when the Club was founded, but we do know that in 1884 there existed the "Lytham Subscription Bowling Green". The Secretary, who resigned in that year, was James Lomax, the stern looking fellow second from the right in the above picture. He was the head teacher at the Lytham Endowed Scholl on Church Road. His rather fine retirement gift from the members was a walnut Victorian writing box inscribed "Presented to James Lomax by the members of the Lytham Subscription Bowling Green in recognition of the gracious and efficient service rendered by him as their Secretary for several years. Lytham January 1st 1884. We are grateful to Margaret Simpson(nee Lomax), his great niece, for this information.
We can only guess how many years constituted "several" in this context, but it certainly implies that the Club existed as a going concern before 1880, making it one of the earliest recorded Crown Green Bowling Organisations. As far as is known, they occupied a green on Henry Street, Lytham, which later became a tram depot, then a Drill Hall, then a garage and, more recently, flats. They undoubtedly used the Clifton Arms or its outside buildings as their clubhouse. The picture included some of the members of the LSBG in about 1892.
On 29th September 1904, a meeting was held at the Institute, Lytham, to establish Lytham Bowling Club Ltd. The freehold in approximately three-quarters of an acre of land, which was at that time a market garden, was acquired from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Co, and this is the site of the present Club. There were originally only 7 shareholders, with one £1 share each. William Whiteside , James Elton and George William Grimshaw (Wilfred Grimshaw and his wife, Florence, pictured on President’s Day, in 1908. Thanks to Cathy Honeybone, his grand-daughter, for making the identification), were each described as “gentleman”. Thomas Jackson was a butcher, Matthew Diggle an Engineer, Thomas Butcher an auctioneer and Wilfred Grimshaw a chartered accountant. There is little doubt that the last of these was responsible for the Club being formed as a Limited Company, thus restricting any losses, in the event of a financial disaster, to £1 each.
Mr Davies paid £35 for the clearance of the land, and in January 1905 the specification for the Bowling green was formalised:
- ‘Excavate and form the site of the bowling green, 45 yards x 40 yards.
- Cushions and verges and a 4 foot path all round.
- Provide, cart and spread 6 inches thick of clay all over site of the green.
- Provide, cart and spread on clay 6 inches of soil and marl.
- Provide, cart and lay good sods over all site of green.’
Marl and soil were from Ballam Marl pit and the “sods” from Clifton Marsh. (it is noted that 130 loads of marl were required and cost £210 pounds,17 shillings & 9 pence). About 20 loads of gas lime were laid on the site of the green to destroy worms, payment for which was “satisfied by a quantity of privet”. Beach sand or coke breeze was also laid over the green.
In March 1905 work started on the pavilion, which was 46 feet by 15 feet, and cost £229 to construct.
The Club’s first outside competition was against Chorley Bowling Club in August 1905. It was decided, however, in April 1906 that the Club would not join the Fylde Bowling league. A decision which was not reversed until the 1990s.
The Clubhouse, originally a wooden pavilion, has been enlarged and enhanced over the years. It was substantially enlarged in 1964 and further enlarged and converted to a permanent brick-built building in 1978-80.
The Company still retain the ownership of the Land and buildings, and is largely financed by a loan from the Club, which exists as a separate entity.
In 2005, we celebrated the Centenary of our move to the present site. During the year we had special events to recall the gift given to us by our 7 founding fathers. As a mark of our debt to them, a wall-mounted sundial was unveiled by our then President Tony Hindle (pictured here on the right, with the then Vice-President Phil Heaton) on Good Friday - our traditional ‘opening’ day. The inscription on the sundial says “Erected by the present membership in gratitude to the Club founders to commemorate 100 years of bowling pleasure”. Included in our programme was a match against Chorley Subscription Bowling Club which was held exactly 100 years (to the day) after the first ever match in 1905. Since then, we have happily renewed our close relationship with Chorley SBC.