Who We Are and How We Came To Be
The Village Sign
For over a century urban and village communities have enjoyed the sporting and social pleasures derived from bowling. In Bottisham we know that before the war there was a rink in the grounds of the Golden Ball Public House in the High Street, and in the early 1950’s there was a Bowling Club based at the Village College. Sadly there were no outdoor Bowling facilities in the village from around the mid 1950’s, until our current Club was formed in 1998. This was mainly due to the lack of land available on which to build a bowling rink
The Golden Ball
Bottisham Village College
During the early 1970’s the Bottisham Branch of the Royal British Legion purchased some land close to the cemeteries and built their branch and social club in Downing Close. There was much talk over the years of laying out a bowling rink, but the land owned by Bottisham British Legion was only enough to allow four rinks; if a club was to be formed it would need six rinks to participate in most local leagues and competitions. A group of British Legion Members and other villagers formed a working party. The community had been given some land adjacent to the British Legion premises. The benefactor safeguarded the land with certain conditions the most important of which was that the Parish Council controlled its use on behalf of the residents of Bottisham.
The Parish Council agreed to grant a licence in return for a peppercorn rent for it to be used as a community bowling facility. Similarly The British Legion granted a licence for some of their land to be used as a bowling green. The aim was to create a high-class rink and facilities that would be operated by an independent Bowling Club. The British Legion would allow access to the Club, and parking on land that is part of their curtilage. They agreed within the restrictions of their rules as a private members club to support the Bowling Club and allow members to use their facilities to provide hospitality such as tea and sandwiches for members and visitors as is normally required in competitive matches.
Bowlers enjoying the facilities at The Royal British Legion*
The Club Opening
The joint objective of the two clubs was, and is very clear. The Bowls Club members to be able to use facilities that they would not be able to provide for themselves and that British Legion members would have the opportunity of benefiting from first class bowling facilities within the overall complex. From the offset it was envisaged that members of the British Legion would join the Bowls Club and that unless there was special personal circumstances, any person joining the Bowls Club would also if not already a member become a member of the British Legion.
Over the years both Clubs have worked closely together to meet these objectives and have done so in a way that has been beneficial to both Clubs. Recently it has been agreed that the Bowling Club will be able to use the lounge and kitchen known as Poppies for their matches and other events. It will be up to the Bowling Club to let the British Legion* know well in advance what their requirements are as the British Legion require to utilise the use of the room for other British Legion membership groups and outside bookings. The arrangement is for the Bowling Club to be given priority, not the exclusive use of the facility. In return we will make an annual financial contribution to the British Legion to help cover some of the operating and maintenance costs of the Poppy Lounge and Kitchen. This arrangement is of benefit to the Bowling Club as the use of these facilities will enable us fulfil our hospitality and social requirements without having commit effort and finances to build and bear the cost of operating a building that would not be used every day.
ThePoppy Lounge. Overlooking The Bowling Green
* The Royal British Legion Club, Bottisham, ceased to exist in 2018 and Bottisham Community Sports and Social Club was formed. The Royal British Legion still have a branch at The Club by invitation of Bottisham Community Sports and Social Club.