Ainsdale Bowling Club
We are able to trace the history of our Green back to the late nineteenth century.
The Railway Hotel or Champs as it is now called was built in 1891. It was an Hotel which drew people to Ainsdale. Like all hotels the Railway had to advertise its facilities There was a large sign outside the building which showed that the Hotel had ” Stabling for horses, Garaging for cars ” and in much larger sign writing it had a” Bowling Green”. The Green was a very important facility for The Railway and over the years hosted many large bowling events to which people from all over Lancashire came to play bowls.
Ainsdale in the mid 1960’s changed from being a small village to one, because of the many housing estates being built, which had a growing population.
If there are people shops want to trade and expand. It might surprise some, but we did in fact have a Tesco’s in the Village at that time. There was in fact however a new kid on the block it was not Liddle or Aldi from Germany. It was a company from Rhyl in North Wales by the name of Kwiksave. They wanted to introduce a new form of shopping to Ainsdale which involved building what at the time was called a big tin shed, now the Co-op, and sell their goods out of cardboard boxes They wanted to buy the Railway Hotel land which included the Bowling Green. Despite protest by Ainsdale villagers the land, which included the Bowling Green, was sold
The Management Committee of the Railway Bowling Club had the foresight to consider relocating to Ainsdale Sports and Social Club.
The Green which had a value at that time of £500 was donated to the Club on the understanding they arranged for its removal
And so it was that in the Autumn of 1970 the Railway Bowling Club ceased to exist and Ainsdale Bowling Club was formed. The Club arranged for a contractor to cut the Green into sections which were about one-foot square and they were delivered to Ainsdale Club. I wonder what might happen today if we had to lay fourteen thousand pieces of turf, but in 1970 the job of preparing what was virgin land lay with the Members. This might explain why we have such an interesting green because as I understand some levelled or crowned one way while others did it another way.
There was a good Autumn and Spring which resulted in the Green at Ainsdale Sports and Social Club being available for its first matches at the start of the 1971 season.
The Ainsdale Bowling Club at that time was for men only. It was shortly after that in 1974 that about 12 ladies joined the Bowling Club and the Ladies section was formed. This created at the time some problems when some of the men, I will say, threw their dummies out and went to join other clubs. The result however was their loss and our gain because there’s no doubt that the inclusion of the Ladies has contributed in making the Ainsdale Bowling Club what it is today
We now have a total membership which is over 120 members.
Our Bowling Green is acknowledged to be one of the premier greens in the Southport area and has been used by Lancashire Ladies to host County matches.
We have fourteen teams, eight men’s and six ladies, which bowl in both afternoon and evenings in Southport, Ormskirk & District and Veterans leagues.
We have members who have represented our Club at Town, Federation, County and England games.
Our history will continue but we hope that the original members of the Railway Hotel and the founder Members of the Ainsdale Bowling Club will agree that the present members have continued to look after the Green and Club.
Sanny McCarter