Billingshurst Bowling Club was formed in 1932 at its present location, just off Station
Road beyond the old cricket field. The site was originally leased from Miss Puttock
for a peppercorn rent of one shilling (5p) per annum.
The Club was formed by a group of mainly local tradesmen and long-time residents
may be familiar with some of their names:
· Mr Higgins, Ironmonger (now Austens)
· Mr Lusted, Grocer
· Mr Crisp, Hairdresser & Tobacconist
· Mr C.E. Wadey, Builder
· Mr Cripps, Butcher
· Mr Watt, Corn & Seed Merchant
Dr. Puttock was Chairman of the Committee in the early years. The green had only
three rinks and the grass was cut with a hand mower. Obtaining the services of a
groundsman always proved difficult, the pay being rather low at sixpence per hour.
The Pavilion was very basic with no sanitation, just a wood and corrugated sheet
metal affair with a bucket. A rota was drawn up for fortnightly cleaning! Fences
were necessary to keep out Miss Puttock’s cattle from the adjoining pastures - pastures
which now form part of the Weald School playing fields.
Matches were arranged with three or four local clubs and Graffham, Midhurst and Handcross
are amongst our oldest adversaries. During the Second World War the club was effectively
dormant with the site being used by the local A.T.C. and Red Cross for training.
Part of the green also served as a tennis court.
Since the 1950’s many changes and improvements have been made. The green was extended
to six rinks and the arrival of mains water and electricity was of huge benefit.
The original clubhouse was extended to incorporate changing rooms, a kitchen, lounge
area and flush toilets. Improvements have continued up to the present day.
A second pavilion has been erected to provide comfortable accommodation to enjoy
tea and supper refreshments after matches. The latter building was converted from
a large porta-cabin which had previously served as a parish room at Clymping church.
Club members re-clad the exterior with a wooden façade and fitted a pitched roof
to complement the old clubhouse. The new building was named “The Stocker Pavilion”
in honour of Jack Stocker, our skilled carpenter who masterminded the whole project.
An automated watering system has been installed, a far cry from loaning a standpipe
and a long hose from the cricket club! In celebration of the Millennium a new toilet
block was built that included facilities for the disabled.
Nowadays the Club plays friendly mixed matches against many clubs in West Sussex
and Surrey. Matches are played on weekdays and at weekends, both afternoons and evenings.
In addition there is a full range of Club competitions and friendly sessions. Ladies
and Gentlemen play together and everyone is encouraged to join in. All abilities
are catered for from beginner up to County standard. Newcomers are amazed at how
quickly they pick up the game, although it is not quite as easy as it appears on
Further information may be obtained by contacting the Club Secretary, Beryl Barraclough,
on 01403 784599.