Hawkhead logoHawkhead Bowling Club
8 Gartmore Road, Paisley, PA1 3NQ

Instituted 1921
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                      Hawkhead Bowling Club History

On a 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.

However one 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.

The present 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 Recreation Club.

The opening 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”.

Looking 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 Honarary Membership.

Hawkhead 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.

In the 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.

By the year 1960 Thomas White & Sons had already sold off large parts of the recreation 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 Club. 

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.

The year 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.
Thus Hawkhead Bowling Club became an independent body of bowlers with no cash in the bank and an uphill fight for survival.

As 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 the Club.

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