Circa 1929West Kirby Ladies
some history

Our green is situated in Ashton Upper Park, West Kirby, facing St. Bridget's Church with its strong Norman connections. The green was established in 1906 - a year before the formation of the British Crown Green Bowling Association. West Kirby Ladies Bowling Club (WKLBC) was formed in 1928. This early picture of the ladies is thought to have been taken circa 1929. The picture below left of the green was taken in 1928.
   
It is generally believed that bowls - similar to the game played today - was introduced to this country by the settling Normans after their conquest of 1066. In its original form, players pitched sizeable round stones towards a predetermined stone target (which was later replaced by a small round stone called a 'boulle' or ball - a precursor to the modern jack). By the 14th century, bowls had become so popular that the Crown and Parliament outlawed archers playing the game in public places, because they were misusing their practice time! However, it continued to be enjoyed by the aristocracy on cultivated lawns, using bowls sailors had brought back from the New World made of the dense hardwood 'lignum vitae'.
 Today, some players carry on the tradition of bowling with lignum vitae (or 'woods' as they are more commonly known); but here on Wirral, the majority play with composition bowls on crown greens.

  
Left above is an early view of the green looking towards the parish church of St Bridget's and right is a view in the opposite direction.

During the Second World War, the West Kirby Ladies Bowling Club regularly held raffles to raise money for a local fund named 'George and Mabel', which helped supply cigarettes and provisions to the armed forces. Continuing the tradition today members still fundraise, through charity bowls events and collections.

circa 1979To celebrate its 40th anniversary in 1968, four founder members: Mrs F Orme, Mrs J Crosthwaite, Mrs I Holme and Miss J Cordiner were made life members. The longest serving secretary, Mrs A Lloyd, had earlier been conferred life honorary vice-president after twenty-seven years! With a current membership of about fifty registered players, WKLBC can boast three teams in the Birkenhead and Wirral Ladies' Bowling League. The 'B' team was formed in 1964, and joined the League in 1970; and a 'C' team started fourteen years later. The club has also provided county players - no less than five were selected for the 1991 squad alone.

Some winners in 1979: l to r; Bessie Sherlock, Mary Ingham, Ulla Kelly, Eve Stevens.











Other bowling activities create in-house competitions. The Charlotte Case and Ulla Kelly Cups are handicapped,whilst the Florence Orme Trophy and Tommy Oxton Doubles are played on a 'scratch' basis. These represent friendly rivalry, which can produce some tense and exciting moments for player and spectator alike - especially during a final. 

And how do the ladies keep in touch during the dark, winter months? They hold bridge and mah­jong sessions once a week in their clubhouse.



WKLBC are keeping up the old traditions, started by the Normans so long ago, throughout the 21st century. We are always looking for a fresh and much needed intake of active members to keep the tradition going.