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Museum Bowling club moves to pastures new

By This is Tamworth  |  Posted: October 23, 2010

  • Members gather for the final Museum bowls match before moving to Beacon Park.

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LICHFIELD Museum Bowling Club, formed in 1922 in the old recreation grounds, is on the move, writes Les Ashley.

It will join the Crown Green in Beacon Park next year on a new green and modern pavilion.

In 1926 the late Colonel M A Swinfen-Broun gave a silver cup to be played for annually between Lichfield City Council and the Museum Club.

It is still played each year, the Museum has won many times and it is one of the highlights of their season.

At the time there were several bowling clubs in the city including Lichfield Bowling Club, which is one of the oldest in the country, and The Swan Hotel, which closed in 1961.

The Swan bowlers moved to Chamberlain and Hill, a factory in Beacon Street and used a lawn at its rear (now Morrisons Supermarket) for a short time when Lichfield Council constructed a purpose-built crown green and pavilion in Beacon Park in 1965.

The Museum had seats provided by the council where local peoplecould sit and watch the bowlers display their skills.

When the green was built it had its own brick shelter but due to wear and vandalism it was demolished and the Museum shared facilities with the crown club's pavilion.

In the late 1960s bowling was becoming a popular summer sport and the Lichfield and District Bowls League began on Tuesday evenings and the Museum fielded two teams.

The Museum stages its own internal cup competitions which are played throughout the season.The winners of all the events have a finals day when they play to become champion of champions for that year. Together with friendly matches, the Museum has a very full programme.

In 1951 the Lichfield Mercury gave a men's Challenge Cup for the city's Festival of Britain festivities. This attracted many entries and the first final was played on the Museum with over 100 spectators at coming to see the grand final.

This was such a success that the newspaper was asked if it would make the event annual. All the bowling clubs within the newspaper's circulation would be invited, the Mercury readily agreed.

In 1962 the Mercury was asked if it would give a rose bowl to be played for by the ladies.

This attracted a number of lady bowlers and the first final of the competition was played on the Museum in the same conditions as the Men's Challenge Cup.

To mark the closing of the Museum Bowling Green, a president versus captain match was played with secretary, Barbara Currier, who is retiring after 10 years, bowling the first wood.

I wish to thank Lichfield District Council, Lichfield City Council, Lichfield Records Office and the Museum Bowling Club, who helped me with this report.

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