History of the Club
The Club was formed in the grounds of building contractor G Percy Trentham (George Percy Trentham) Limited at Purley-on-Thames in 1957. George Donald Trentham, born 1903, was the first president of the club from it’s founding until 1983. Donald was a keen bowler and set up the Trentham Bowling Club which was provided with one of the finest greens in the county and often staged county competitions. Donald was superseded by P.J. Tentham from 1983 until 1989.
The bowling green was originally created in 1957 by the civil engineering company G Percy Trentham Ltd, as a vehicle for some corporate entertainment by the owner as well as for the benefits of employees (as long as they did not play before 5pm!). In the beginning, ‘players’ were restricted to employees of the company and their spouses, which restricted numbers, so most games consisted of four triples. The company was distributed right across the United Kingdom, with sites at Andover, Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent, Rainham and Bathgate in Scotland, as well as Purley on Thames, and at it’s peak, Trentham had several thousand employees although only those who lived locally were able to enjoy the bowling facilities, Trentham specialised in the construction of airport runways and hangers and was involved in the development of many UK airports, both civil and military. The great hangar constructed at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire was, at the time, the largest of it’s kind in the world (A history of the club can be found here).
The development of the bowling club began with the provision of just 2 rinks (now the upper green – and used mostly as a practice lawn) followed soon after by the addition of 2 more rinks where the existing green is now situated, and along side what was then the company’s vegetable garden. A further 4 rinks were added in 1959, and the original club pavillion was rebuilt in 1974. This timber clubhouse was constructed at the company’s Cardiff joinery works, and is still there, although it was clad over following the pavilion refurbishment in 1989. The spacious clubhouse has an elevated position overlooking the six rink green and affords a lovely outlook to members and players alike.
In the 1980s the club was opened to non-Trentham employees and the membership increased to about 120, and we have won two County Competitions, both in 1993.
The Club badge was designed by one of the Trentham architects, and depicts two trees, the Berkshire Oak and Willow, with King John and a Berkshire stag either side, the blue at the bottom represents the nearby River Thames and the book is ‘Wind in the Willows’ written nearby.
By 1989, Trentham’s fortunes had declined and it was decided to sell the Purley site to Bryant Construction Ltd for housing development. This should have meant the end of the bowling club but fortunately it was decided that the bowling club should be retained for the benefit of the local community. In order to achieve this, the bowling club was sold to Purley Parish Council for a nominal £1 on the condition that it was leased to the Trustees of the club for 40 years from 1993. The agreement also provided a capital sum given to the Parish Council to be invested so that the interest earned could be granted towards the upkeep of the bowling green.
This arrangement worked well for over a decade but more recently the increased costs of maintaining the green to the required standard, together with the fall in interest rated has resulted in a decrease of the proportion contributed by the Parish Council. An appeal to the Council in September 2008 has now resulted in a new initiative between the Parish Council and the Trustees of the club to encourage wider participation in the enjoyment of the club by local people. Purley residents are now able to have FREE use of the upper green, equipment and coaching on 2 evenings per week and alternate Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Trentham bowling club has coninued to develop and improve. We have added disabled toilet facilities, a new kitchen and revised layout of men’s and ladies changing rooms. The club has also registered as a Community Amateur Sprorts Club and revised it’s rules to encourage membership. Our more skilful members continue to represent the club at County level.
The new millennium brought mixed membership to the club, and from struggling to field twelve players, we now regularly play 6 mixed rinks as well as fielding Kennet League, Kennet LV and Ladies Thames Valley League teams.
Out hope for the future is that we can promote greater participation in the sport of amateur lawn bowls by the residents of Purley on Thames and the surrounding area. Everyone is welcome to give it a trial.
History of the Club Badge
The Club Badge depicts at the top, four woods and a jack. Below are two trees, the Berkshire Oak and the Willow, with King John and a Berkshire stag on either side, the blue at the bottom represents the nearby River Thames and the book is ‘Wind in the Willows’.