Lawn bowling club discovers earlier history

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by Cliff Bennett

Members of the Almonte Cricket Club in front of the current lawn bowling clubhouse. Date, members and occasion unknown.

Just when Almonte Lawn Bowling Club (ALBC) was getting ready to celebrate its 80th anniversary, new information has been uncovered showing the club should have celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Thanks to local researcher and historian Don Kelly, three articles were discovered in the old archives of the Almonte Gazette.

The following articles were extracted from the May 5, May 12, and June 16, 1911 edition.

Bowling Club Organized

At an enthusiastic meeting held on Wednesday evening, at which Mayor Cole presided, the Almonte Lawn Bowling Club was duly organized. and a temporary committee appointed to look into the matter of obtaining suitable grounds, to make an estimate of the probable initial expenditure, and to report at the adjourned meeting to be held in the Town Clerk’s Office on Wednesday next, May 10, 1911 at 8 p.m. when it is hoped that all interested will make it a point of being present. The committee is composed of Messers. H. W. Lundy, E. C. Robertson, John Bam. H. Taylor, H. Brown and James McLeod.

Lawn Bowling Club Officers

A meeting of the newly organized Lawn Bowling Club was held on Wednesday evening, May 10, 1911 when the following officers were duly elected: Hon. President, Wm. Thoburn, M. P.; Hon. Vice-President, Dr. P. C. McGregor; president, Mr. A. M. Greig; vice-president, Mr. H. Brown; secretary-Treasurer, Mr. B. K. Gunn; committee – Messrs. H. W. Lundy, Dr. Oliver, E. c. Robertson. The annual subscription was fixed at $1. The meeting decided to accept the generous offer of the town council for the use of the lawn at the town hall, and steps will be taken at once to put the ground in shape for the game. Already over seventy members have been secured and there is no doubt as to the success of the club.

Sporting News

The bowling club had the first real tryout at the town hall green last Friday night, June 9, 1911. The game being a new one, quite a few of the players had to have the mysteries explained to them with the result that it did not prove very interesting at first. However, all the members are Anxious for the game to get rightly underway, and it should be quite popular in town. As yet the ground is a little uneven which made it hard to get a bead on the ‘kitty’ with the bowls.
Improvements are being made this week and every evening will see a large gathering “rolling ’em up”. The electric lights have been installed over the rinks and this will permit playing in the evening hours.

The history of the club before this recent discovery was centred on the year 1933 and current records, photos and pins showed that date as being the beginning of activities. However, this date turns out to be the year that the ALBC acquired the current clubhouse and moved to its present location. Prior to then, research shows the building belonged to the Almonte Cricket Club and was situated on a far corner of the railway yards across from the present Baptist Church. The cricket pitch was on the nearby Almonte Fair grounds. Apparently, the cricket club folded in 1931 and the building was acquired by ALBC and moved onto its present address on Robert Street.

The quest for the history of ALBC began this year with the discovery of an old photograph behind a cupboard which was being moved. It showed the Almonte Cricket Club members posing in front of the current building. Showing the photo to local historian Michael Dunn led to an article found in the archives of the Mill of Kintail, which outlined all early sports being played in Almonte. The Board of Directors of the current ALBC will be meeting this winter to plan which anniversary will be celebrated in 2013. Meanwhile, any further information of the ALBC would be greatly appreciated. Contact club president Cliff Bennett, 613-256-5013 or email bennett@magma.ca