Bletchley St. Martins Bowls Club
In the early 1920’s the church owned nearly all the ground bounded by the cemetery and Vicarage Road. The bowls green was situated behind St Martins Hall. Development had not yet commenced, the area being mainly Vicarage Gardens, tennis courts and open space. The green was just three rinks, accommodation, a former London-North Western Railway coach, teas, jumble sales etc were held in the east wing of St Martins Hall until our own pavilion was erected. Although 1945 was our Silver Jubilee year no St Martins celebrations were undertaken. The Bletchley League comprising of the Town bowls club, Conservative club, London Brick Co., Police and St Martins bowls club the competed for the ˜Blue-Boy” Plate still in our possession.
In 1963 the club discussed the question of a fourth rink, thereby hoping to include extra matches etc. Unfortunately this involved the use of the ground keepers garden. Meetings involving Bletchley Urban District Council etc, Councillors Cassidy and Fisher were in attendance, for the club J Thurlow and E Holden were also involved and work was given to W E Austin at a cost of £319. BUDC agreed to a grant of £200 and Bucks Playing Fields Association £50 by April 1964 the extention had been completed, the fourth rink under way and Mr J F Smithie was invited to open the green on 25 April 1964.
Prior to this in 1960, the church officers and the PCC with our chairman, J Thurlow and A Lewis, P Green and H Shouler were involved in extending the lease for a further term. This was drawn up and signed for 12 years, from 29 Sept 1960 to 29 Sept 1972, with an annual rent payment of £7 per annum. However the church would not agree to a further extension (This in 1966).
With the arrival of the ”New City”, development around the town increased and the BUDC had stated that St Martins would get a new bowling green.
D Tooth, E Bedford and E Holden attended many meetings with the council etc and Saffron Street was considered.
Then BCC stated that housing was priority. Manor Fields viewed, then rejected, Eight Bells Field in Buckingham Road the club were hopeful but again the site was to be offices and parkland. Time was fast running out and Frank Bowman became greatly involved. In 1968 we were offered a site at RickleyPark, Mr Smithie was again involved and in 1971 BUDC were in agreement, a new home at last for St Martins, move in date 15 April 1972. Later the club invited Frank Bowman for club president for his interest and involvement in the club. Much work had to be completed before moving in, pavilion extension, etc. In 1973 ladies were invited to join the club, and a mixed pairs trophy was donated by Frank Bowman.
1980 “ the Clubs Diamond Jubilee “ during that year the club won the Marshall indoor bowls competition and were runners up in the Bletchley League. Players were awarded their county badges, several county colt badges were also awarded. The green was always admired by local teams and county matches were played.
In 1988 the mens and ladies sections were joined and mixed teams are now the norm.
In 1994 the much needed extension to the clubhouse was undertaken, the ladies, bless them agreed to furnish and equip the new kitchen.
Since then the club has gone on, and in recent years has won the Ladies Benevolent Triples, The B&D Mixed League (twice) and the Burnham Plate. There have been other successes with member reaching the finals of both the Ladies and Men's Unbadged Singles, the men reached the area final of the Top Club as well.
Other clubhouse improvements have been done, and still more is to come!
Our club badge depicts the Phoenix rising from the ashes. He has certainly risen these last few years.