HISTORY OF PURLEY BURY BOWLING CLUB
Purley Bury Bowling Club was founded in 1946 just after the Second World War. Purley Bury Tennis Club was founded in 1910 and where the bowling green is now there were grass tennis courts. During the war the area had been used by the military and was left in a bad state. It was decided to put in five hard tennis courts and put in a bowling green. The green opened for play in 1949.
Like most bowling clubs at the time it was a men only club. Gradually a fixture list of matches, principally against local clubs, was established. In 1954 thanks to a member who moved to Eastbourne, a fixture was set up with Eastbourne Bowling Club. This fixture provided the club with an annual day’s outing to Eastbourne. Unlike most of the other fixtures this was played by six rinks. Purley Bury was only a small club and had difficulty raising six rinks from its own members and usually had guest players from other clubs in the area.
When the club was founded it affiliated to the English Bowling Association and the Surrey County Bowling Association. In 1971 following the inclusion of Purley and Coulsdon in the London Borough of Croydon, the club joined the Borough of Croydon Association. At about the same time the club was concerned about falling membership and in common with other bowling clubs decided to admit ladies. Prior to this the wives of the members had played croquet on the area between the tennis courts and the bowling green. After ladies had been admitted to the bowling club the playing of croquet ceased.
Up to this time the club had taken little interest in the competitions organised by the County and Borough Associations. In 1972 John and Olga Lindsay-Clark joined the club. John was a very competitive individual and wanted to play in these outside competitions. He became Match Secretary and in 1977 became the first Purley Bury member to win a Borough of Croydon Association competition, winning the Secretaries Singles. Two years later, he was followed by John Richardson who won the Unbadged Singles. This encouraged other members to enter both the Borough and County competitions.
Since the clubs foundation, it had shared a pavilion and a bar with the tennis club. This was always unsatisfactory as all the facilities were adjacent to the tennis courts and at a distance from the bowling green. In 1989 the club had its first tour in Bournemouth. On the coach journey back from Bournemouth some members started discussing the possibility of having our own pavilion beside the bowling green. A subcommittee was set up to investigate the possibilities, and after overcoming many difficulties and obstacles a new clubhouse was erected beside the bowling green and was formally opened by the then mayor of Croydon at the start of the 1993 season. Since that time the club has gone from strength to strength and from being a small club struggling to survive in the early seventies is now one of the leading clubs in the area.