Establishing of the Bowling Club
The present location wasn’t the original bowling green.
Stonehouse Bowling Club did not move to its present site at Vicars Road until 1900, a group of men formed a bowling club in 1857 and began competing against neighbouring clubs in local competitions.
On May 3rd, 1900, members of the club held a meeting and proposed the formation of a new club and green which was to be situated on Vicars Road. Illustrating how serious the bowlers were to establish the club, the local baker, Mr William Jackson was elected as secretary before the close of the meeting. A week later all the office bearers were elected:
President: A Borland, Vice President Walter Millar, Secretary William Jackson, Assistant Secretary Thomas Wilson, Treasurer John Miles. In addition to the office bearers a committee comprising Thomas Wilson, John & James Plenderleith, R Murray, H Cutherbertson and William small were elected. It was decided there would be an annual fee of 10/-, this would be used to help meet costs of the new green and the general upkeep of the club. Members were also asked to buy £1 shares in the club. Some members even sold tablet and toffee to help boost club funds.
Early in January 1901 the club decided to accept an offer by Daniel Leslie of Glasgow to construct a clubhouse and green at Vicars road. Work on the new green and clubhouse was completed by mid-summer 1901, but by then it was too late in the season and arrangements were made for the green to be formally opened the following year. In May 1902 a very proud group of members assembled at Vicars Road to hear Lady Lockhart, declare the green officially opened.
The overall cost of the new club was £732, but the canny Stonehouse members drove a hard bargain and ended up with £11 left in the kitty!
Victories followed quickly. The team won the prestigious Hozier Cup in 1903 against strong opposition and then again in 1904. They also won the Glasgow v Lanarkshire Trophy in 1908 and then the Middle Ward in 1909. Then came the big one, when a rink including John Jackson, Robert Jackson, and Tom Cochrane & Archie Thomson (Skip) returned to Stonehouse as the Scottish Fours Champions.
As the war clouds gathered in 1914, it was decided to keep the green open. Although play was restricted the members used their time to raise money for good causes. They raised £212 for the Red Cross and the green provided entertainment for the wounded soldiers and sailors convalescing in the village
Stonehouse Bowling Club members who fought and died during the Great War 1914-1918.
Private 14960 Robert Brownlie Highland Light Infantry 16th Service BN enlisted in Stonehouse 19/10/1914 KIA Battle of the Somme. DOD 01/07/1916 age 21. Thiepval Memorial France Pier and Face 15 C : Stonehouse Cemetery Stonehouse War Memorial . Camnethan Street: Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1912. 1st day Battle of the Somme
Robert was killed in action during attack on Leipzig Salient. The battalion were on the left of 97th Brigade with their first objective the Wonder Work and the last, Mouquet Quarry some 2,300 yards from the British front line. Within moments of the men going forward they were swept by machine gun fire and were forced to fall back and were relieved at 3.30am. What was left of the Battalion withdrew to Crucifix Corner. Casualties including Robert were 554, more than half of the Battalion. Robert was part of the 97th Brigade 32nd Division. (Ref. Hamilton Advertiser February July 1916)
Archie Burns Leiper
Pte 39572 Archie Burns Leiper Highland Light Infantry ,Enlisted April 1917 DOW DOD 24/08/191 age 26. Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery Souchez France V111.N24. Stonehouse Cemetery Stonehouse War Memorial: Paterson Memorial Church Plaque .Lawrie Street: Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1912 : Worked in Swinhill Colliery Boiler Fireman
Stonehouse Cemetery Stonehouse War Memorial : St Ninian’s Church Memorial Plaque,Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1915
Stonehouse bowling club members who served in the Greart War 1914-1918 and returned home.
L.Cpl Walter Brownlie , Seaforth Highlanders 7TH BN ,Wounded HA Oct 1915,Camnethan Street Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1913
Pte 6047 John Brownlie, Gordon Highlanders 9TH BN, Wounded HA July 1917 , Camnethan Street Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1908 & 1914.
Pte John Jackson Gordon Highlanders 9th BN, Wounded HA Oct 1915. Born in Hill Road/ Lawrie Street Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1906 Vice President 1929 President 1930, Single Handed Championship 1918 Treasurer 1907-1910 Secretary 1931-1956. Life Member,President Lanarkshire Middle ward 1941, 1942.
8942 David Jackson Gordon Highlanders Discharged Medical reasons, age 32, Served in the Great War Paterson Memorial Church Plaque Lockhart Street: Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1902: Single hand Championship 1934
Thomas M. Jackson
8899 Thomas M. Jackson Gordon Highlanders Discharged medical reasons, age 23;Served in the Great War Paterson Memorial Church Plaque King Street : Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1914
32542 James Jack Highland Light Infantry ; New Street; Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1916
Served in the Great War St Ninian’s Church Plaque; Hill Road; Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1903; Vice President 1923, President 1924;Single Handed Championship 1942,1944. Single Handed Lanarkshire Championship 1941. Headmaster Stonehouse Primary School
Served in the Great War Paterson Memorial Church Plaque; Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1914
Sgt 3107 /201905 Alex.T. McCrimmond Royal Garrison Artillery; Discharged 25/02/1919 Died 31st January 1950 Age59; Lockhart Street Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1912; Vice President 1922, President 1923; Single Handed Championship 9 times; Lanarkshire Bowling Association Rink 1938 Scottish Test America and South Africa 1948
4670 David McDonald Royal Engineers; Served in the Great War Paterson Memorial Church Plaque; Hill Road; Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1915
James? MacKenzie ; Served in the Great War St Ninian’s Church Memorial Plaque, Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1914
Gavin H Thomson
Died 1969; Beechwood Lockhart Street; Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1910 ; Vice President 1925 President 1926 Life Member
Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1914
Died 1951; Viewfield Vicars Road; Joined Stonehouse Bowling Club in 1905; Vice President 1924, President 1925
All the names mentioned above have been researched by Bill Cormack and identified from Stonehouse Bowling Club member’s books
ENTERTAINING WOUNDED TARS
September 1916 Entertaining Wounded Tars On Wednesday last the members of the Bowling Club entertained a number of wounded sailors from Dungavel. The wounded arrived in a large char-a-bang and were welcomed by the club officials. Games of various kinds and suitable competitions were arranged for the visitors for which useful and valuable prizes were offered.
The following were the prize winners – Rink game, A.P. Philpot, J. Saunders; H. C. Bennett; P. Kennedy, Thomas Ruffles. Mixed rink game – J. Saunders, W. H. Crush, Thomas Rufffles, Thos Ireland, R. Bell, Miss Sommerville, Miss Thompson, Mrs McIntosh.
Threading needle race W Young, P. Kennedy, J. Saunders, W. Shrimpton. Bell game F Gallagher, P. Kennedy, R. Bell, B McKeon. Hat trimming competition Thos Laing, Thos Ireland, P. Kennedy, G. Lewis.
The gifts were handed over by Mrs George Hamilton while Miss Blair handed each of the men a box containing fifty cigarettes. The men enjoyed themselves thoroughly and they will doubtless long remember the happy day they spent with the Stonehouse bowlers. The Misses Whitelaw and Miss Wilson accompanied by Mr John Whitelaw again gave an interesting exhibition of Highland dancing. The Silver Band was also present and gave some selection.
Growth of the club
In 1924 with the help of the voluntary donations from members the decision was taken to purchase the ground which had previously been on lease at a cost of £100. In 1927 with members now sufficient the ladies section was formed. At the helm stood Mrs R. Craig and Mrs R. Thomson who became the first secretary and treasurer respectively. However in 1928 owing largely to the introduction of the ladies section, the membership had grown substantially and the clubhouse was starting to feel the strain. After some deliberation it was decided that it would be demolished and Mr Gavin H. Thomson, a member of the club drew up plans for the construction of a new one. With a large degree of help from the ladies section the cost of £608 was met and the new clubhouse was officially opened by Mr John Naismith the following year. High compliments were paid to the design when Udston Bowling Club in Hamilton built their clubhouse to the same design.
As the club entered its third decade the Ladies section was starting not only to impress the members of Stonehouse but a national audience as well. In 1935 a four woman team comprising of Miss Jeanie Thomson, Mrs Robert Craig, Mrs W. Stirling & Mrs W. Jackson set off for Giffnock, Glasgow to contest in the final of the Scottish Woman’s Bowling Association Championship. As word filtered through they had won this prestigious tournament, plans were immediately laid to celebrate their return. As the four women stepped off the train they were met with the cheers of a large party of Stonehouse members and of the local pipe band. The women were then rushed aboard a brake that had been provided by the Black Bull Hotel and paraded through the streets and up to the clubhouse where they received another rousing reception. The event illustrated the impact of the ladies section and they respect they now held within the club. To prove this was not an isolated achievement they won the competition again in 1938.
War time returns
As war once again broke out across Europe in 1939, the club stayed open and played its part by raising £218 for war charities and again the green provided recuperating soldiers with some respite from the ravages of the war.
In 1950 the club celebrated its Golden Jubilee and looked forward to another 50 years of success. Tom Wilson J.P and founder member of the club was unanimously elected for presidency. A copy of the jubilee Brochures can be downloaded, this also outlines all the personalities involved in the first 50 years as well as providing the list of presidents and champions of the club.
Throughout the clubs history there have been many notable players who have contributed to Stonehouse history by gracing the green with their outstanding ability. The names of Alex McCrimmon, Tom Brownlie, Robert Leggate, Jock and Robbie Small, John Whitelaw, Mitchell Sorbie, Logie Armstrong, John H. Thomson, Tom Hamilton, Bob Burns and the three Hamilton brothers – Jimmy, Jack & Tommy top the list, as memories of their performances remains firmly fixed in the minds of all who saw them play.
More recently the names of Iain & Neil McLeish, George Whitelaw and Hugh Smith have ensured the Stonehouse reputation lives on.
Sources of information:
Jubilee and Centenary Booklets.
Stonehouse and Larkhall Gazette 1973. Bowling Club Stonehouse-larkhall Gazette 1973
The following gallery contains a selection of photographs that the group hold. Please note that if the full image does not appear on the thumbprint please click on the photograph to open it up to full size.