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Loose Bowls Club History

Bowls in Loose started back in 1919 at Hayle Place. As the most important residence in
Loose, it was chosen to host a 'Welcome home' party as part of the post war peace celebrations.

At the suggestion of Mr. Henry Libby, and with the co-operation of Mr. George Marsham (owner of Hayle Place), a supply of bowls was obtained and a game of bowls played on the lawn in front of the house. It was from this start that Loose Bowls Club was formed, with Mr. Marsham as President, and Mr Libby as Chairman.

Initially, bowls was played in a spare tennis court, next to the tea rooms (opposite the
Swan Inn), later to become the site of the current green. This had a number of limitations, not least of which that the green had no ditches or banks. As the club expanded, it moved to a site in The Paddock further up the Loose road in 1922, where the members had worked hard to create a green and a pavilion.

It was an interesting time, as a heavy roller had to be pulled across the green for
half an hour before play could start.

In 1926, negotiations began to purchase the land which the club now occupies opposite
the Swan Inn. The green was constructed on this site at a cost of 640 pounds, and opened on June 2nd 1928. On the opening day, the new club president, Col. Winch played a short game of singles with Mr. Frank Connor, Mayor of Maidstone.

mayor1928

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The improved green and buildings at the new site enabled the club to gain affiliation to both the English Bowling Association, and the Kent County Bowling Association.
Over the years the club grew, and the green was extended in 1931. The tea pavilion (which is still in use today) was built in 1933. Prior to that, visiting clubs were entertained in what is now the tool shed!

The club continued to thrive, as can be see by these pictures, although club dress was a little more formal in those days!

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Through the Second World War, many of the club members were too old for military service, although they were actively involved in the Home Guard and the Observer Corps. During the war, matches with other clubs were greatly reduced, and 'spoon drives' were arranged to raise funds to assist with the purchase of a naval launch, to help the Loose war savings committee, and St Dunstans Hospital for the blind.

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Following the war a normal bowling life resumed, and in 1961 the club proudly opened 'The White Rose' pavilion. Named after the donors of the pavilion, Arthur and Mrs Rose, this building is still in use as changing and locker rooms today.

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Over the years, a number of players achieved county honours, with the club frequently performing well in the Gill Cup (now known as the Bert Cox Cup).
As can be seen by the photo below, by 1967, club dress was very similar to today, with the club badge also already in the form we now know. For those people who know the club well, there is a familiar face in the photo below. Fred Thompson is currently our longest serving member (and our Vice President), and can be found on the back row of the picture

Two years later in 1969, the club celebrated its golden jubilee. The picture below shows the day when the President and Officers of the KCBA came to Loose to help with the celebrations.

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As the years passed, one of the things which changed at the club, and in bowls in general, was the addition and increasing strength of the ladies section. This encouraged many couples to play bowls together in one of the few sports where physical strength is no advantage. In the 1990s, a decision was taken to make the club a fully mixed club rather than having a separate men's and ladies section.

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In recent years the facilities at Loose have been improved still further, with extensions to the tea pavilion and the changing rooms. A better watering system helps to ensure that we have a good surface to play on all through the season.

Good results have also been returning, with the men winning their division of the Bert Cox Cup in 2001, and more recently our ladies winning county honours in the pairs. The ladies teams also have a very good record in the Maidstone and District competitions in recent years, making the club a force to be reckoned with.



Hopefully a combination of good facilities and good members will ensure that the club goes from strength to strength as it approaches its centenary in 2019.

Courtesy of Robert Stiff - April 2005.



Loose, more than just a  Bowls Club