Early Club History
Our Club premises on Orchard Road is the second site that the Northern Bowling Club has occupied since it was founded in 1887. Thanks to diligent and meticulous research by our current Match Secretary, David G. Leslie, it has been established that the original site was accessed from the east side of Kings Crescent and the highlighted areas on the extracts from old Ordnance Survey maps, shown below, verify the existance of the site. These premises were in use from 1887 until our present clubhouse and green were officially opened in 1914.
The original bowling green was constructed on the site of an old Leper Hospital as denoted on the old survey maps.
This site is is today partly occupied by the Fire Brigade Offices that stand at the junction of Kings Crescent and the new road named Mounthooly Way.
Appended below is an aerial photograph showing the junction of the two roads with an overlaid rectangle showing an approximation of the original site area.This area is not strictly to scale but gives an indication, as to the position that the original site occupied.
From 1914 onwards
The first meeting of club members was held in the new clubhouse on 9th. March 1914 when it was decided to hold their first A.G.M. at this premises on 25th March 1914. At this meeting a motion was proposed, seconded and unanimously agreed " that this club agrees to form itself into a Limited Liability Company before the A.G.M. in 1916....." This failed to be enacted.
The Green was formally opened on 9th May and it was decided to procure a silver jack to be suitably engraved and presented to Sir Alexander Lyon who had agreed to officiate at the ceremony. This silver jack was subsequently returned to the ownership of the Club by his descendants in 1999.
On 6th July the Secretary reported to the City Assessor that the structure of the clubhouse had cost £352.00 and that the extent of the frontage was 55 feet. The City Assessor then informed the Club that the lowest valuation for assessment purposes was £40.00 per annum.
To finance the laying out of the Green and the erection of the clubhouse the Club were forced to apply for an overdraft of £500 from the North of Scotland and Town and County Bank. Ten of the members agreed to guarantee, and repay if required, this overdraft, provided a number of them be granted a majority membership of the General Committee of Management. In effect this meant that any decision by the Committee could be vetoed by Guarantors.
1919 At a meeting of the Members in February the Treasurer treated at length the position of the Club Guarantors and the liability undertaken by them on behalf of the Club and by the Rules of the Club which had the effect of a majority of the Committee being Guarantors to the Bank. Bowling members had practically no definite voice in the management of their club, and as a result of this they had become somewhat apethetic. He suggested that the time had come to relieve the Guarantors of their responsibilities and of reviving interest by the members in their club management with a view to rescuing the club from the somewhat lethargic condition which now prevailed. He then outlined two methods which might accomplish this aim, 1) being by the members contributing from their numbers a sum that would clear the indebtedness of the bank or 2) the formation of a small company with Limited Liability, the shares taken up by members and the capital subscribed applied to the extinction of the Bank overdraft.
At the A.G.M. on 11th. February 1919 a member of the Committee explained to the members the steps that had been taken with regard to clearing off the Club's debt to the bank. He explained that the Club Officials had concluded that the formation of a Limited Liability was not desirable and that the other proposal was to get the members to subscribe a sum sufficient to meet the overdraft and in security they were to receive the whole assets of the Club, which would be transferred to Trustees and held by these Trustees on behalf of the lenders. A probable interest rate of 6% on these loans was mentioned. He explained that the matter would be further discussed by the Committee to whom the matter had been entrusted.
1922 At a Committee meeting in July that W.G.Edwards, a committee member had been selected to play for Scotland against Australia in Glasgow. At a meeting of the Trustees the same month it was agreed that they recommend to the management committee to repay all loans from members to £5.00, this was unanimously agreed at the next Committee meeting.
1924 On 11th December the Committee instructed the Secretary to enquire as to the charge to bring the electric cable in University Road to connect to the Clubhouse, the subsequent quotation for this in May 1927 was £46/13/00. This price was accepted but requested the work be carried out in August of that year, which duly happened. The lowest tender for the work was £47/5/00
1928 The electric heating was so expensive that it was decided to revert to gas. The committee agreed to give the Ladies the use of the Green on Thursday afternoons of each week. An extract from the minutes of 26th. Nov 1928 reads " It was agreed to get a tap put in the Ladies lavatory as it would be useful to fix a rubber hose to go through the window to enable the Greenkeeper to wash the spitoons".
1929 At a Committee meeting in April it was agreed to send members bowls to Glasgow for testing and stamping in baulk and the Club to pay for the carriage of the bowls. During this year, as in preceeding years the club held Whist Drives, Billiards, Dominoes and Cribbage matches against other Bowling Clubs and non sporting clubs such as the Gordon Highlanders and the Tramways Club.
1930 Three Trustees and four Committee members were appointed to get legal advice about floating the Club as a limited company. After this was received it was decided to hold a meeting of the Trustees and the Special Committee regarding the proposed flotation. Subsequently it was agreed to postpone this until the start of the new season.
1931 At a Special meeting in February it was stated that the solicitor advised that there would be over 50 shareholders so the company could not be Private but would be a Public Limited Company. The secretary was also instructed to write the remaining 18 lenders to ascertain if they were agreeable to leave their £5/-/- loans with the new company. The President requested that the Solicitor draft a statement that could be sent to the members in good time before the A.G.M. At this meeting that a temporary chairman be appointed until such times as the new company is floated. A Special General Meeting was held on 3rd. April when the Chairman intimated that as the Limited Company had now been formed this meeting was held so that a new Committee could now be elected which would consist of 5 from the Directors of the Company and 4 from the Club. The new rules were then distributed as adjusted and approved by the Special Committee. The final meeting of the year discussed the purchase of a new motor mower.
1932 At the A.G.M. it was agreed to present a trophy for the Ladies competition. The secretary was instructed to order 1 dozen ground sheets for the Green at 9/6d each. A letter was received from the Buchan Farmers requesting a match to be played at Strichen which was agreed to by the committee.The secretary was instructed to send a photograph of the "Towers" and get a sample badge made for the Club. Prices for the badges were received and it was decided to order 12 dozen @ 10/6d per doz. (cost today £6.30) and sell them @ 1/- each (£7.20) In July of this year it was decided (with Directors sanction) to install a new inch and a half water main from the street into the clubhouse.
1934 Mr.J.T.Nicol, a Committee member was elected as the first President of the newly formed Bon Accord Bowling Association. It was agreed to hold a Hat competition every Tuesday evening from now on. A total of 60 square yards of turf was purchased for repairs to the Green at the cost of 1/10d per square yard from a company in Forres and the delivery charge was £1/-/- per ton.
1936 Ex. President Wm. Browne offered to present the Club with a board inscribed with the names of Presidents, since the inception of the Club to the present date, which was gratefully accepted by the Club. Mr. Doig, a member, said that he intended to write an article on the progress of the Club from its founding to the present date, and requested that he be given access to the Minute books for this purpose, which was granted by the Committee. Sadly this article, if ever written cannot be traced. It was intimated that at the A.G.M. of the Bon Accord Association a recommendation was made that all players taking part in representative games wear a blazer, mid grey flannel trousers and either black or brown shoes.
1938 In April a letter was received from the Town Clerk stating that in his view a large number of visitors would be in Scotland during the Empire Exibition, and he wished to to compile a register of all Sports Clubs willing to accept visitors as temporary members and asked if if the Club would be willing to participate in this scheme. The committee agreed to this and instructed the Secretary to supply the council with neccessary details.
1939 In March a circular letter was received reporting the formation of a branch of the Scottish Bowling Association comprising the counties of Aberdeen and Kincardineshire and in view of the recommendation from the A.G.M. it was unanimously agreed to join.
1940 At the A.G.M on 29th. March the Secretary reported that there were 76 members. Since the previous A.G.M. numbers lost were 5 by resignation and 2 by Death but had gained 9 new members, an increase of 2. At a meeting in June it was proposed to install a wireless set in the clubhouse. A sheet was put on the noticeboard inviting a subscription of 2 shillings per member to defray the cost. In July of this year it was reported that a window in the pavillion had been broken in a recent air raid but had now been repaired.
1941 In July the Club visited Queens Park Bowling Club in Glasgow to play a six rink friendly and travelled there by train. Both the Aberdeen and Glasgow press gave this a lot of publicity. A return match was held at Orchard Road the following year and this fixture continued for a number of years.
1942 A Red Cross Gala day was held in July to raise money for War charities, with sideshows, a marquee used for a bar along with various stalls and was hailed as a great success. Whilst dicussing the Gala at a meeting in July it was mentioned that as a present to one of the volunteers a box of 200 cigerattes would cost the Club 17/11d. At a Special Meeting in November the following amounts of money were distributed as follows:- Red Cross P.O.W. Fund, via the S.BA. - £50/-/-, P & J War Comforts Fund - £25/-/-
British Red Cross Fund - £75/-/-, Y.M.C.A. Canteen Fund - £10/-/-, Earl Haig Fund - £10/-/-, Church of Scotland -£10/-/-, Aid to Russia Fund - £25/-/-. This totalled £205/-/- and the balance was to be left in the bank for Red Cross and War Charities.
1944 A similar Red Cross Gala was held again this year with a total £350/-/- delivered to the various charities. The Greenkeeper's holidays with pay were increased from one week to two weeks. The cost of the Burns Supper this year was fixed at 2/- per person.
The amount of annual rates payable to Aberdeen City Council this year was £18/19/9. Whisky was in so short a supply that it was rationed to use one bottle to be put up for sale on a Tuesday and another bottle on the Saturday.
1945 The Secretary was instructed to contact the City Electrical Engineer to enquire if the clubhouse installation could be changed from DC to AC. A reply from the Engineer agreed to carry out the work free of charge on the conditions specified in his letter.
1946 The A.G.M. in March was attended by 57 members who agreed to leave the maximum membership at 100 people. In May of this year a gas cooking stove was installed in the pavilion but no cost was mentioned in the minutes. In June it was agreed that any visitors playing in the club should have use of the Committee Room as changing facilities. It was agreed to purchase a new motor mower for the sum of £60/-/- to be delivered in July. In September it was agreed to close the bar to all visitors on a Tuesday. At the October meeting the Committee agreed to give gratuities of £5/-/- to the Steward and Greenkeeper.