Extracts from the 120th Centenary Handbook published in 2015:
The Centenary Handbook of the Redhill Bowling Club claims that the birth of the club is a mystery but it was known to be alive and well in 1895 so this year was assumed as its “birth certificate”. The fact that Redhill Bowling Club existed in 1895 at the Warwick Hotel is beyond doubt – the Surrey Mirror dated 16th August 1895 reported that :-
“Yesterday (Thursday), the Reigate Bowling Club visited Redhill, and played a return match with the Redhill Bowling Club on the fine ground attached to the Warwick Hotel.”
The Surrey Mirror archives make many mentions of the Warwick Hotel Bowling Club and the Redhill Subscription Bowling Club in this era. The report on the Club’s Annual Dinner in December 1895 records that the Club President – the Hon. Henry Cubitt was absent that evening. He was M.P for Reigate from 1892 to 1906. He was the grandson of the famous builder Thomas Cubitt and became Lord Ashcombe in 1917.
The Club HQ and venue of the 1895 Club Dinner was the Warwick Hotel on the corner of Station Road and Warwick Road. At the Dinner the Club Captain, Alderman Sanders, complimented Mr. Hamnett the landlord of the hotel on improvements to the green.
The Warwick Hotel shown below was demolished in the 1970’s to allow for the construction of the new road system of Queensway and the adjacent Safeway Supermarket. The Club had moved well before then.
The membership in those days was all male with ladies not being admitted until the Ladies Section was instituted in 1934. This photo was taken in 1900:
In Volume III of Alan Moore’s excellent History Of Redhill there is a full account of the Club’s move to a new green at Gloucester Road in 1912 and then to Wiggie in 1931.
The Gloucester Road site was leased from a long serving member – Charles Edward Gatland – who owned a Men’s Outfitters in Redhill High Street which he sold to Foster Brothers in 1912 on his retirement. He bought a large house and grounds in Clarendon Road and it was to there that the Club moved in 1912. A photo of the opening shows Lady Leconfield delivering the first bowl with the Mayor attending.
Charles Gatland moved to Hastings in the late 1920’s and Alan Moore reports that “some club members were dissatisfied with the green, and as the lease had fallen away, it was time for a move.” The Gloucester Road grounds were sold in 1930 for use by the Methodist Church.
The Club was fortunate in having long standing connections with the Trower family of Wiggie. In 1929 Arthur Trower conveyed as a gift a part of his Wiggie Estate which enabled the new Redhill Bowling Club (Wiggie) Ltd. to commence playing there in 1931. The standard of the green was such that the Surrey County Bowling Association played matches there against South Africa in 1935 and the USA in 1948. The Club won the English Triples and Rinks Championships in 1947 and members W M Grice (1921-36), E Stanton (1921) and C F J Walder (1954-57) were England Internationals with Grice having the honour of captaining England in 1933.
The Club survived the total loss of its pavilion by fire in 1981 and now enjoys the facilities of a spacious brick and tile clubhouse capable of hosting major bowls matches on one of the area’s best greens and social functions.
A new company – The Redhill Bowling Club Ltd. – was formed in June 2010 to remove the administrative burden of having shareholders and the Club continues in its 120th Year as a Community Amateur Sports Club serving the population of Redhill.
The 3 locations of the club during its 120 year history are shown on the location plan on the back page of this booklet.