typical Autumn day in October 1920 a small group of Paisley men assembled in
the canteen of Thomas White & Sons at their Laighpark Engineering Works. To
them Hawkhead Bowling Club members owe an immense debt of gratitude as do
future generations. These men were the inspiration behind the forming of the
Hawkhead Bowling Club and, although their names are long forgotten, their
legacy lives on.
year earlier on the 10th November 1919, Thomas White & Sons (one
of Paisley’s best known companies which was part of a network of companies
supplying the textile and woodworking industries, but now sadly out of
existence) agreed that a lease of ground be obtained at Ralston Estate for the
purpose of providing games and sports under the Companies Industrial Welfare
Scheme and, in addition to 2 football pitches and a cricket pitch, 2 bowling
greens were to be laid out, provided the employees were prepared to support and
contribute towards the scheme.
club house and a football pavilion were also built and the grounds on which our
greens are now situated originally totalled 8 acres and became known as the
Hawkhead Recreation Club. The entire development was designed by a well known
Paisley architect, James B Whyte. Thomas White was Honorary President of the
ceremony of the Hawkhead Recreation Club took place on the
21st May 1921 and was attended by managers, employees and their families.
In his opening speech Thomas White “hoped that the recreation grounds would
become a peaceful and restful retreat from the heat of a summers day and toil”.
Thomas White was then presented with a silver key with which he ceremoniously
opened the gate leading to the recreation grounds. Shortly thereafter Mrs T
White was presented with a silver jack on a stand on the occasion of opening
the bowling greens. It was also recorded that “the afternoon continued with
races of all kinds involving men, women and children and the music of the
Johnstone Silver Band entertained the crowds. The bowling greens were put to
good use and the highest up rink was skipped by Mr McKinley”.
back to that eventful canteen meeting in October 1920 when the Bowling Section
of Hawkhead Recreation Club was formed, the first committee consisted of: A.
Smith, J. Cochrane, W. Cochran, J. Lochhead, J. Barr (Convener) and Thomas
White representatives R. Henderson, W. Orr, W. Laird, W. Jowett, and J. Dykes
(Secretary). All of the Directors of Thomas White & Sons were given
officially became a member of the Paisley & District Bowling Association in
1921 and other clubs who were attached to an industrial concern at that time
were Anchor, Ferguslie, Blacklandmill and C.P.C.
1920s bowling attracted more and more players, mainly men, and within the
Hawkhead Recreation Club the bowling section was by far the biggest. Membership
was restricted to employees and former employees of Thomas White & Sons,
which meant that members came from all over town rather than from areas in the
vicinity of the club.
1960 Thomas White & Sons had already sold off large parts of the
ground for housing development and in 1961 only the bowling greens and
clubhouse remained. This being the case and with bowling being the
predominant sport, in 1963 the name was changed to Hawkhead Bowling
The company was at the time charging the club a nominal
rental of £68 per annum. Realising the value of the grounds on which the
bowling greens and clubhouse were situated, the company made an offer in 1969
to sell all the facilities to the Bowling Club for the sum of £12,000.
1970 was momentous in the history of the club. A special meeting was called and
the Club Treasurer, George Wardrop revealed that the extent of the Club’s
finances was £3,000. President George MacGregor advised the members that the
club had approached the Scottish Sports Council for a grant, knowing that the
maximum which could be expected was £6,000. This left a shortfall of £3,000 and
in order to raise this sum each member was asked to give an interest free loan
of £25 (repaid incidentally on an alphabetical basis a few years later). The
grant application was approved and the loans were obtained from the members and
Thomas White’s offer was accepted.
Hawkhead Bowling Club became an independent body of bowlers with no cash in the
bank and an uphill fight for survival.
membership increased and much needed cash was generated by various activities,
not least of which was the Terleys (later Textyle World) Open Mixed Pairs
Tournament, the club made gradual progress culminating in the demolition of the
old bowls house (formerly the football pavilion), the creation of a large car
park and the building of an extension to the clubhouse, which was officially
opened on the 15th April 1978 by Peter Watt, Honorary President of
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