Brockham Bowls Club - Continued

The first decade Mr J G Spradbrow presided and 21 members attended the general meeting that set Brockham Bowling Club off on its new, independent course. That meeting was held in The Manor and William Capon was its leading light.

Mr Capon was the late Poland family's head gardener and lived in The Lodge. The Poland executors had given permission for the club to continue to use the green so long as Mr Capon had control of it and he was the person who had called the meeting in order that they might find a way of continuing the club for the coming season. A three-man committee was elected: George Sherlock, one of the village grocers whose shop stood where Century Cottage now stands; Jake Dudley, school caretaker, and Percy Holman of Holman & Budd, coal and coke merchants and farmers. Mr Capon was unanimously elected to the office of secretary/treasurer and Herbert (Bert) Treagus took on the captaincy. The meeting agreed an "entrance fee" to the club of two shillings and sixpence (half a crown) that had to be paid within three weeks of the meeting. There was a further two shillings charge to be made for entrance into the handicap competition.

The secretary was instructed to "put up the fixtures in the pavilion" (the shelter now known as The Robins Nest) "and also a paper on the inside of the cupboard door on which members wishing to play in certain matches could write their names".

That the ensuing season was a successful one was confirmed by reports to the first annual general meeting the following April. This, too, was held in The Manor with Mr Spradbrow in the chair. The club went into the 1952 season with a balance of three pounds, fourteen shillings and four pence and the use of the green for a further year so long as it was "kept in good condition so that it would be handed over to the village at the proper time".

Mr Capon, still secretary/treasurer, and officially in control of the green, was no longer able to get all the work done, so two members took on the responsibility for "an honorarium of £5 for the season". Subscriptions were doubled to five shillings but the handicap entrance fee remained the same.

The second annual general meeting took place a mere six months later and was held at The Duke's Head and the secretary reported that he had "written to the Trustees of the Manor, explaining the situation, and asking if some assurance could be given that the ground would be at our disposal next season. From the reply received there appeared to be good reason to suppose that the ground would be available to us next season".

While Mr Capon's name appears among the list of officers, Captain Barrow (of Woodlands, Bushbury Lane) took over as secretary/treasurer.

The references to more matches, more members and green renovation show that the club was finding its own feet. It was even going to offer three rinks for the 1953 season "but to point out that they would be narrower than standard by 4-5ft". But three narrow rinks were not a success. The following autumn the club applied to the "Manor Committee" for permission to take in more land, about 10 yards to the north side of the green.

Although this was not immediately permitted the club was encouraged to make its plans "as this would be an asset to the village". Half a dozen members guaranteed loans to pay for the work, which was considered too great to be undertaken by hand. Harry Knight, who lived in Brockham Lane and was chief engineer and surveyor with Dorking Urban District Council, "paid a visit to the site"; it is recorded, and brought along a representative of a bulldozer company.

Whether this was Mr Knight's introduction to the club we cannot be sure, but he became a most enthusiastic member and those who were members during the '60s and '70s warmly remember his great input and cheerful manner.

The treasurer was authorised to pay £40 for bulldozer work but the project dragged on and at the start of the 1954 season work still had to be completed. Nothing had changed by the end of the season but a grant from the "Brockham Manor Committee" was on the horizon.

By January 1955 renovation of the original green was causing concern. The club could not afford to pay a professional company to do the work, so Mr Friday, a local builder as well as a keen bowler, arranged for two yards of Buckland sharp sand to be delivered and to get volunteers to spread it.

Work on the extension to the green was completed in autumn 1955 bringing it up to three-rink size. Attention then turned to improving the amenities - or, rather, creating some. All they had was the small pavilion (now known as The Robin's Nest) and which at one time had had windows.

In spring 1956 there was discussion on how best to provide "a ladies' convenience". Mr Sanders (of North Lodge, Brockham Green) kindly offered an Elsan toilet. The following spring this subject was still on the agenda, as was the provision of a new pavilion, and Eric Bright, player and plumber, was asked to see what sort of building £20 could buy for extension at a later date.

The matter continued to be discussed and a plan for submission to the council for planning permission was produced in 1958. The budget was still £20. No progress was made.

By 1960 the special Post Office account set up to pay for the pavilion contained £25 and the "Sidney Michael Poland Trustees" made a grant of £100 for a "shed subject to design and siting" and suggested that F Knight & Son of Reigate Heath be asked to quote.

They were, and they quoted a figure of £136. 3s 4d for a 20ft by 12ft building, which had cedar, shiplap external boarding on stout deal frame, roofed with square edge boarding clad with green mineral surfaced felt. There was an additional cost of £26.13s 4d for the provision of a tongued and grooved floor on 3ins x 2ins joists and plates, and creosoting the underside and a further £8.10s.0d for erecting the building.

Club members and the Poland trustees gave their approval. Seven members (Capt H Palmer, Capt R Barrow, Mr H Rogers, Mr H Stent, Mr G Sherlock and Mr A Jones) offered loans to cover the club's shortfall of £46. 3s. 4d and the extra cost of two new posts and wire fencing, and work went ahead, presumably during the summer of 1960 since the date 19.7.60 is scrawled on the wall to the left of the entrance as you go in, currently covered by a notice board.

But we do know that the club's 10th annual general meeting was held in the pavilion on March 4th, 1961.

Further progress