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Ole’ Gramps - A brief history

Updated: Jun 7


Welcome back to the place where champions are born! This absolute carnival of bowling delight

and the party that outshines all others. As you’re back, I can only assume you’ve cascaded into

the shining ball of undeniable excellence that is lawn bowls. Growing up, I was surrounded by

barreling bowls, iron flat greens and enough crisp white collars to cleanse the darkest of

corners. And it all came down to the ultimate roaring bowls legend himself, Grandpa Bowls!





I mentioned ole’ Gramps in my first blog but it only seemed fitting to celebrate this prodigal

bowling luminary on his very own winners podium. After all, The Chairman (as he’s known to his

many loyal, adoring fans) is one of the founding fathers of lawn bowls as we know it today. Day

one of primary school and sporting history was made. A shrill class bell, two bespectacled boys

running through the halls and a collision of such magnitude, it has often been compared to the

big bang! A collision of two beautiful bowling legends that changed the course of time forever.


The picturesque haven of Beth 'n' all Green set the backdrop for what would become a beautiful bastillion of British athleticism. Both Gramps and Shatner had that spark - the kind of spark that turns normal kids into sporting icons. The kind of spark that turned their eyes towards the large

rocks left over after they knocked down the silk factories. A spark that saw Gramp’s chubby little

fingers hurling said rock across the grass in an attempt to whack Shatner’s own straight off the

green. The aim of the game was simple - hit and annihilate the opposition's rock in the shortest,

most effective time.


It didn’t take long until an entire horde of Bethnal sprogs were racing down to the only patch of

green in the town, hedging their bets and battling it out to victory. And, Gramps was nothing if

not an absolute legend when it came to drawing in the dosh. A halfpenny would secure you a

place; a farthing got you a patch on the grass to plonk your behind while the game commenced.

Everyone came along, old and young alike - including one little scallywag who just happened to

be the great-grandson of Sir John Reeves Ellerman. With more bees and honey than the old

moneybag knew what to do with, it only took a quick turn of phrase to get them building rocks

traded in for purposefully-carved, wooden spheres.


In their twenties, the twosome had enough roaring fans to open their very first lawn bowls club -

right here in the heart of London! The Scots may claim it was THEM who created the game we

see today but, let’s let actions speak louder than words. There’s a reason why good ole’

Grandpa Owls has his very own statue, perched high up on the Alphabeta building. Because it

was him, and Uncle Shatner, who made the evocative game of lawn bowls EXACTLY what it is

today!


If I’ve piqued your interest, then come down to The Bowls Club this summer and let’s get you on

the green. And more importantly, you can have a pint in the sunshine and have a lovely bit of

street food with your pals.



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