History of the club

The club was founded in 1930 and had an eventful history. There’s a book with many interesting documents and photos in the clubhouse which is available to view.

Here’s a potted history of the club, taken from the book…..

The provision of a bowling green in the Wardie area was first suggested at an Annual General Meeting of the Boswall Tennis Club, later renamed Wardie Tennis Club. A committee was formed and canvassing of the district was undertaken. in February 1930, the committee met in Mr. John Duncan’s premises and decided that owing to the heavy cost which it would entail. the bowlers would carry through the project by themselves. A meeting of all interested was called in May 1930 and the club was then founded.

After consultation with the Town Council. a grant of £300 made it possible to proceed with the laying of the green in 1931 under contract, by the Parks Department. A start was made with the pavilion early in 1932 and the work was sufficiently advanced to enable the building to be used at the opening of the green. The opening ceremony was performed by Bailie Thomas W. Nelson and Councillor Peter Given on 11th June 1932.

At the half-yearly meeting of the club in September 1936. it was decided to proceed with an extension to the pavilion which was formally opened on 1 May 1937 by Mr. J. Johnston. Vice-President of the Edinburgh and Leith Bowling Association. On 3rd September 1939. an emergency meeting was held to consider a request from the Civic Authorities desiring to take over the club for Air Raid Precaution purposes (A.R.P.) as a result of war having been declared. After discussion, the committee agreed to transfer the custody of all properties as from 4th September 1939. For the duration of the war, the club was shared by members and ARP personnel and only reverted to full usage by the members on cessation of hostilities in 1945.

Donald C. McDougall
Donald C. McDougall

The period after the war was one of quiet consolidation for the club, the highlights of these years being the appointment of Donald C McDougall as President of Edinburgh and Leith Bowling Association in 1951, and the hosting of the Hamilton Trophy Final in 1969.

In 1965, a bar licence was obtained and the advent of this so improved the financial position that the club was able, over the next few years, to make several important improvements in the shape of two extensions to the clubhouse in 1972 and 1976, and the installation in 1976 of an automatic watering system, Wardie being the first club in Edinburgh to provide this facility.

Bowling honours have been hard to come by over the years, but the King George V Coronation Fours Trophy has been won on three occasions, 1945, 1977 and 1978. also in I 977, for the first and only time so far, Wardie appeared in the Scottish Finals at Queen’s Park, having won the District S.B.A. Triples. The players who played at Queen s Park were W.G. Walker, I.S. Colley and D. Forbes (Skip).

william nimmo archive
William T. Nimmo

It is to the ladies, however, that we must turn to find real success on the green. The Ladies Section was founded in 1932 and has won most of the local and area competitions at one time or another. In 1967, the redoubtable Mrs. J.B.M. Sharp, twenty times champion of the club and on many occasions a Scottish internationalist, brought honour to Wardie by becoming the Scottish Singles Champion. The present members are well aware of the immense debt that is owed to the founder members. The last link with the club’s origins was severed only last year when the sole survivor, Willie Nimmo died, an honorary Life Member, at the ripe old age of 91. The efforts of these early pioneers, from whom we have inherited a club of which we can justly he proud and which is the envy of many, will never he forgotten.

1980, our Golden Jubilee Year was celebrated when our many friends were invited to join us in a week of special matches. Guests from all the clubs and associations with which the club was connected helped to make the week a success with the closing event being a dinner dance at the Commodore Hotel .

In 1981 the suggestion was made that, on completion, the minute books and all other records should be offered for safe and permanent keeping in the Scottish National Library, (Manuscripts Dept.), George 1V Bridge, Edinburgh. There they would be available but only to members of the club (with written permission from the Secretary) and to others, such as students of social history, doing research or reference work. A letter from Dr.T.I. Rae, Keeper of Manuscripts, acknowledged receipt of the first batch of these document books.

About the same time the clubhouse was extended at the north end to enlarge the gent’s locker room, enclosing a small store room, and to add a new committee room. A year later a junior section was formed for players under the age of 16. In the ensuing years this innovation proved to be very popular and, although not every member of this section has gone on to full membership, over the years it has produced some excellent players who have won many honours for the club.

This is evident in the lists of successes which follow these notes. In 1986 a new club badge and tie design was proposed by President George Scott with the existing badge now being surrounded by a laurel wreath. This proved a popular suggestion and the change was implemented that same year.

On 17th November 1996 at a special general meeting it was agreed that Wardie BC. would join in the proposed new Edinburgh Bowling Leagues which would start in 1998. These leagues would replace several of the existing smaller district leagues and would include promotion and relegation.

Unfortunately this meant that Wardie BC. had to withdraw from the North-West Edinburgh Bowling League. However, despite some misgivings over travelling times, this proved to be a popular step. In March 1998 the first steps were taken to discuss the implications of a fully integrated club with ladies gaining equal full membership with the men, a move which was being advocated by the City of Edinburgh Council for all sports clubs. If this was done it would allow Wardie BC. to receive rates relief – a not inconsiderable inducement!

After a special general meeting on Sunday 16th July 2000 full integration was adopted with a revised constitution. Under matters arising at a Management Committee meeting in July 1998 the secretary stated, in reply to a question, that the Feu Charter for the land on which the club stood had been passed to the Trustees of the Club by the City of Edinburgh Council in January 1958, to be held by them in perpetuity as long as the land was used for recreational purposes such as bowling, with the proviso that, to all intents and purposes, Wardie BC. own the land and only serious misconduct by the club would cause this to be revoked.


history of the club

William T. Nimmo
William T. Nimmo