In October 1913 a meeting of residents of the southern part of Trowbridge was held to discuss the forming of a new bowls club. Forty-three residents attended the meeting and decided to form a bowls and tennis club. Our present site in Westbourne Gardens was duly purchased for the sum of £300 and the club became ‘The Trowbridge Westbourne Recreation Club’.
The first committee included several prominent businessmen of the town and £1 debentures were issued to generate up to £350 of working capital. At one of the early meetings £212 was subscribed by those attending. A bowling green, grass tennis courts and a croquet green were laid at a cost of just under £84 and a pavilion was erected for £125. The Club was officially opened in May 1914, but by 1921 the bowling green had to be re-laid at a cost of £216.
The Club pavilion was enlarged in 1936 with the addition of a bar, and further improvements were made in 1960. An attempt to introduce a ladies bowls section was unsuccessful in 1944, and it was actually another 24 years before the ladies section was established in 1968. In 1966 the croquet green was made into a car park and in 1972 the debenture scheme was wound up.
Between 1977 and 1982 new changing rooms, a new kitchen and new toilets were added to the clubhouse at a cost of just over £6,000. Over the next three years the bowling green was extended on two sides for the sum of £1,625. By the winter of 1992 further work was carried out when one wall of the clubhouse was rebuilt and the kitchen was re-fitted.
Since the early days Trowbridge Westbourne Bowls Club has been affiliated to the Wiltshire Bowls Association (now Bowls Wiltshire) and to the English Bowls Association (now Bowls England). The Recreation Club became a Community Amateur Sports Club in 2005 with the name changed to Trowbridge Westbourne Sports Club, and now has bowls and tennis sub-sections which operate mainly as independent units, both having separate committees, members and finances.
In 2013 the bowls green edges were refurbished and the clubhouse received a further refurbishment, thanks to a £50,000 grant from the National Lottery, London 2012 Olympic Legacy Fund, the Grand Re-opening Ceremony taking place in May of our centenary year.
Since our founding, County honours have been bestowed on a number of Westbourne members. In 1923 Mr F H Blair became Wiltshire County President, to be followed by Mr H F Malings in 1926, Mr J C McDonald in 1947, Mr W R Hudd in 1961, Mr J Benford in 1982, Mr J Pickett in 1987 and 1988, and Mrs J Knight in 1991. More recently, Mr David Richards was President of Bowls Wiltshire Mens Section for their centenary year in 2014. On the bowling green, Mr Cliff Stroud represented England between 1967 and 1973, whilst he, and a number of other members, have been selected to play for Wiltshire and at National level over the years.
The facilities in Westbourne Gardens today are shared with the tennis section. We have a six rink bowling green, a car parking area, and the recently refurbished Club House with it’s meeting room and bar, kitchen, changing rooms, shower, toilets, and disabled facilities. Outside, there is ample seating for those not wishing to take part, to sit and enjoy watching a game of bowls whilst enjoying a drink from the bar and a chat to friends or colleagues.