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Bowls Club History

Way back in 1927, Charles Henry Martin, George Arland Martin, Edward Trickett Wright and John Arthur Newbold decided to purchase just over two acres of allotments jointly owned by Henry William Turner and Isaac Seal. The conveyance dated the 8th of July 1927 was placed into the care of the four trustees, for the princely sum of £213.7/6p, and was called "the Sports Ground" and all four trustees to be trustees of the Methodists Chapels in Sileby. It was soon renamed Sileby Methodist Sports with the members and committee to be mainly composed of Wesleyan and Primitive Chapel members.

          As far as I am aware it started out as a Tennis Club, with both Hard and Grass courts, and I imagine the original benefactors provided finance for this and a pavilion. At that time the rules were very strict, no play on Sundays and definitely no alcohol.

          In the late thirties members decided to turn the grass courts into a bowling green, creating the present layout. It was then as far as I am aware that the two clubs were run separately. Access to the clubs was down Albert Avenue from Seagrave Road (We still have that right of way, regardless of what people may think) or down a now disused track to what is now the car park. The track (now a footpath) is opposite Greedon Rise on Seagrave Road. This area we know, according to Ethel Preston and Nora Greenwood was certainly in use by 1940, and was given to the club by two people who owned this area of the allotments, though no paperwork exists. It has since been transferred to the Trustees Deeds. In 1969 the club enquired about buying the freehold of the land from the Trustees, any money would have gone back to the Sileby Chapels, it didn't happen. In August 1988 the Trustees did sell an area of land below the tennis courts, known as The Meadow to Jelson Estates, for building, this is Bowling Green Close.

           By the late 70's early 80's things had moved on, Sunday games were allowed and a bar had been installed and presence of Chapel members on committees had been relaxed, though not till the late 60's. The next big happening was when Jelson bought the allotment land in what was developed into Springfield Road. The club and trustees were able to reach an agreement giving the club permission to cross Jelson property, ie the bit of road between the car park gates and Springfield Road, to gain access to the car park, and later they surfaced it for us in return for secure overnight storage during building.

Apparently there was a fire around 1979 and the old wooden clubhouse was destroyed and the brick built building you see now replaced it.

          The Grounds and car park are now registered with the Land Registry, to the deeds and Trustees of Sileby Sports Ground.

This article was researched by George Allsop.    

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