1954 - The Beginning
On the wet evening of Tuesday 24 August 1954 the Mayor of Hove, Councillor A H Dilley, sent down two woods to officially open a new seven rink bowling green in Knoll Recreation Ground, Hangleton.
Formerly known as Hudson’s Tip this had been an area where the rubbish from Hove was dumped and the transformation into a pleasant park with a panoramic view of the seas to the south and, until future development obstructed it, a glimpse of the rolling downs to the north, was the work of the Council to provide an amenity for the northern inhabitants of the town. The total cost, including purchase of the land, lay out and construction - including conversion of a war time civil defence hut into a pavilion for sportsmen and public toilets - was £6,584 However the Ministry of Education made a grant of £1,129 towards these cost reducing the figure to £5,455 The green was sea-washed Cumberland turf which had been grown from seed by the Council’s Parks and Gardens Dept. and the first groundsman was Mr S W Grice who had been Sussex Singles Champion two years earlier.
A Preliminary Meeting, convened by Mr A J Sumner, to consider the formation of a Lawn Bowling Club was held at the bowling green in Knoll Recreation Ground on 23 October 1954 attended by: Councilor Gosling, Messrs Annand, Chatterley, Dew, Diffin, Gibbins, Idle, Legg, Massey, Mortimer, Moses, Nichol, Spinks, Styles, Sumner, Ward, Mrs Legg, Miss Parton, Mrs Spinks and Mrs Sumner together with Councilor Chesshire and Mr Hyland - Chairman and Superintendent respectively of the Parks and Garden Committee of Hove Corporation.
This was followed on 4 December 1954 at 2.30pm by the Inaugural Meeting of Hangleton Bowling Club.
Founder Members in attendance were: Councilor C F Gosling, Messrs J C Annand, W H Ashby, W M Carr, W Chatterley, G W Dew, H Mortimer, J Nichol, L G Ridge, S H Spinks, A J Sumner, C A Wiltshire, Miss M Parton, Mrs Spinks and Mrs Sumners. Apologies were received from: Councilor Chesshire and Messrs R N Massey, F H Gibbins and Mr and Mrs Legg.
The first A.G.M. on 19 November 1955 was attended by 25 members: Councilor C F Gosling, Messrs Annand, Buckland, Carr, Chatterley, Cooper, Dawson, Dew, Feist, Fuller, Markes, Massey, Mortimer, Moses, Ridge, Shaw, Spinks, Starr, Watkins and Wiltshire and Madames Cooper, Fuller, Ridge, Spinks and Sumner. Apologies from Mr Sumner and Mr and Mrs Legg. The second A.G.M. On 21 November 1956 was the first to be held in the evening and attracted slightly less members : Councilor C F Gosling, Messrs Annand, Baguley, Buckland, Carr, Chatterley, Cooper, Dawson, Dean, Dew, Feist, Massey, Mortimer, Parker, Ridge, Spinks, Starr, Tye, Watkins and Wiltshire and Madames Ridge, Spinks and Starr. Apologies from Mr and Mrs Legg., Ashby, Page and Watkins.
In 1954 under Club Rule 3 each year the Mayor of Hove was invited to be Club President. This was changed at the fifth A.G.M. on 24 November 1959 when the position of President was added to the Club Officers elected annually under Rule 4 At the same time the sitting mayor was invited to become Club Patron.
Several of the Founder Members went on to give distinguished service to the club for almost twenty years: L G Ridge was Captain 1956/7, the first elected President 1960-63 and Chairman 1962/3 He was succeeded as President from 1964 to 1968 by W M Carr and 1969 to 72 by S H Spinks - who had previously been Captain 1960-62, Chairman 1964-68 and the Club’s first Treasurer 1955-63 A J Sumner, who was largely responsible for forming the club, was the first Captain in 1955, Chairman in 1957 and Secretary 1955/6 but left the club in 1957 to be succeeded as Secretary for the next 13 years by J C Annand - 1957-69 A J Idle was Club President 1984 to 1990 and E L Tye who attended the second A.G.M. was Chairman for 4 years - 1958 to 61
More recently C J ‘Jack’ Laborde held office for 31 consecutive years: Captain 1981-82, Chairman 1983-90 and 1995-2011 and President 1991-2002 while Peter Llewellyn [nine years 2002-10] became the joint longest serving Club Treasurer matching S H Spinks term of office.
The Club’s major trophies were also donated by early Members. G H Dew [the first Club Champion] presented the Club Singles Championship cup, Alderman A H Dilley - the Mayor who performed the opening ceremony - presented the Club’s Pairs Championship cup and Councilor C F Gosling donated the Club’s ‘Fixed Jack’ cup. W M Carr donated two cups - Mixed Pairs Winner and Singles Championship losing Finalist. C Buckland, who attended the first A.G.M., later donated a cup for the Lead bowler in the Club Pairs Championship and W Baguley who attended the second A.G.M. donated a cup for the Men’s Handicap Championship losing Finalist.
Founded originally as a Mixed Club this lasted until 1978 when the ladies formed the separate Hangleton Ladies Bowls Club. Not until 2010 when there was a national movement towards unification did the Men’s and Ladies Club merge to again form a Mixed Club.
Over the years nine male Club Members have played for Sussex and been awarded their County Badge:
1989 Ron Owen; 1990 Ken Holden; 1994 Simon Ede; 2001 Jack Laborde; 2003 Tony Sharman; 2010 Clive Bennett;
2014 Kevin Prescott & Ray Goatcher and 2015 Ted James.
Two Ladies have also been warded their County badge: 1994 Judith Redford and Pam Symons. Both enjoyed success in County Competitions. Judith : 2 wood singles Winner 1998 and Finalist 1991; Pam : Singles Champion 1997 and Finalist 1994; 2 wood singles Finalist 1999
Various Members have featured in senior administrative rolls both for the County and the Brighton, Hove and District Bowling League:
Sussex County President 2010 Tony Sharman;
Sussex County Assistant Secretary 2009-16 Clive Bennett;
Sussex County Hon. [Life] Member 2016 Clive Bennett
District League Presidents 1991-3 Jack Laborde and 2007-9 Clive Bennett;
District League Chairman 1986-7 & 1990 Jack Laborde;
District League Secretary 1990-4 Bert Burgess and 2003-8 Clive Bennett.