Port glasgow bowling club was founded in 1860 one year after Darwin published his "Origin of Species" and one year before Abraham Lincoln took office as President of the United States of America. Locally William Birkmyre was Provost of Port Glasgow. The harbours were full of sailing ships, the western boundary of the town was at the Devol burn.
In that year a meeting was held on llth April in the Cumberland Kilwinning Masonic Lodge in King Street, of those subscribing to the bowling green.
At yet another meeting of Port Glasgow Bowling Club held in the same place on the 28th April, 1860 rules were laid down.
The committee accordingly prepared these rules and submitted them to a general meeting of the club convened within the same Masonic Lodge. Ground was purchased in Mary Street at a cost of £400 and the Ordnance Survey Map of 1897 shows the position between the railway and Glen Avenue, and between Mary Street and the Devol Burn.
An oil painting hanging in the club supports this and also shows first houses in Chapelton Street, which later became Lilybank Road, the rear of the painting is inscribed "J.B. 1861" - the date of the playing season.
(I am unsure if this painting is still within the club at this time)
Legend has it that to be a member of the club, one had to be an employer of labour and this may well have been true, the nearest club in Birkmyre Park was a gift by the Birkmyre family for the "use of the artisans of the town".
During the season 1899 the members recognised that the green in Mary Street, which had been in use for 40 years,
would likely be surrounded at an early date by dwelling houses. As the situation would then become unsuitable and the amenity destroyed.
Port Glasgow Bowling Club
The opening of the Chapelton Green Saturday 1st June 1901
The original Mary Street Green
A social ocassion at the club around 1914
A committee was appointed to look for a suitable alternative site for a green.. They reported that one was likely to be available at Chapelton from MR Shaw Stewart Bt.
A report was ordered into the grounds suitability the report was that it was indeed suitable and at a subsequent meeting of the shareholders, it was voted unanimously to accept the site.
The Mary Street ground was up for sale at a cost of £800 but reached a sum of £1,215.
The green was opened under the presidency of Mr Archie.Purdon on 1st June 1901, representatives being present from all the district clubs.
The club operated successfully from 1901 with the same green and until 1957 the same bowl house. It had been felt for a considerable time that the bowl house was too small for the requirements of the club and in 1942 they decided to raise a building fund. By 1952 they had raised £2,300 but due to building restrictions brought about by the war it was 1956-57 before work was started.
With further work carried out in 1970 and the new extension to the club house in 1982 which seen a lounge and improved bar facilities added as well as a better foyer and ladies toilets the club continues to thrive today and take an active role in local charity and district bowling leagues.
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This page last modified on Saturday, April 03, 2010