Back in 1935, an initial meeting was held at The Three Crowns to decide if a Bowls Club could be formed. A committee consisting of J G James, R W Hames, W Taylor, C Mills, G Basford, T Brown, J Burrows, J smith, H Savage, A Towle and Rev C Bourchier discussed using part of the cricket club at the rear of the pub, but after a series of meetings, found that the Memorial Hall were also thinking of a club to the rear of the Hall.
In 1936, a meeting was held with the trustees of the Hall and a formal proposal was made, regarding the laying out of a green. 4 tenders were received for the laying of the green, and it was decided to accept the quote from Bradshaw Bros at a cost of £284. A bank loan as arranged with Westmister Bank at a rate of 4%, and by February 1937, £150 had been paid off Bradshaw's account.
On March 9th 1937, fees of 12/6 for men and 6/ for ladies were agreed. A pavilion was bought from a cousin of Peggy Mills and Edward Emmerson at Cotes for £5. A hand mower was purchased at a cost of £5, and Mr Highton agreed to be the groundsman at £10 for the first year, but was offerred an extra £1 because of the manual mower.
On May 20th 1937, the green was opened by the president Mr L E Weldon, and a team from Queens Park were the vistors.
On November 1st, the first Annual Cold Supper was held at the National School at a cost of 1/6 per head.The menu was cold beef, ham, cheese, celery, pickles, sauce and cobs with tea and coffee to drink. 100 tickets were printed.
On December 8th, 1937, the first AGM was held at the National School, and 25 members were present.Officials elected were:
President: Mr L E Weldon
Chairman: Mr W Taylor (Snr)
Vice Chairman: Mr R W Hames
Secretary: Mr Highton
Treasurer: Mr Towle
Captain: Mr John James
Vice Captain: Mr J smith
Ladies Captain: Mrs E James
Ladies Vice Captain: Mrs Blurton
A silver cup was presented to the club by Alderman F A Stinson for use as a Ladies Cup.
The members fees as set above, gave the total fees for 1938 as £23 4/, and serious fundraining wsa deemed essential if the Club was to survive. The total receipts for 1938 were £68 1/11, and the bank was owed £104 18/.
The Social Events held to raise funds, had in fact started in 1936. In September, a dance was held at the Memorial Hall, with The Blue Lyre Band engaged to play from 8pm to 1am at a cost of £2 15/. The catering was done by the members wives, and the balance sheet showed a profit of £10-0-4. This event was followed by a TallyHo whist drive, with the M/C coming from the Quorn Hunt, making a profit of £4-13-7.There were open air fetes, more dances and whist drives, the prizes coming from members and the catering done in-house. The accounts for the 1942 AGM, show the Club was out of debt at the bank for the loan on the green.
The first Bowling Clubs approached for matches were Shepshed, Willoughby, Mountsorrel, Quorn and the 2 Loughborough clubs - The Station Hotel and The Duke of York.Later minutes showed fixtures with Sutton Bonington, Whissendine, Melton and the Nottingham Bakers. The Club entered the Armstrong and Mallison Shield in 1938, but the fixture list prevented entry into the Hartopp and Johnson Cup games.
During the years 1942 - 44, the club lost William Taylor (Snr), T highton and G Johnson, with Mr john Smith taking over as Chairman.
In 1942 the gates and railings were removed from the entrance to the Memorial Hall for the war effort.
In 1943 the club had 2 fixtures with the Brush club, and in this year also a meeting wsa held to see whether anything could be done to prevent birds nesting in the roof.
The club joined the LBA in 1947.
In 1948 the Club recorded its first success in outside competitions when it won the Hartopp cup.
One recurring entry in the minute books are the comments re delays in playing club competitions.
In 1951, the Club fees were £1 5s for men and 15s for ladies. The bank balance was £53 1s 6d. In november of this year the Club officially joined the Leics EBA, with Club members funding their own capitation fees of 1s. Mr Banks was appointed Groundsman at an annual fee of £30, but in 1952, when the Club bought a Webb electric mower and asked him to take a reduced fee of £25, he resigned. Advertising the post brought no new Groundsman, so the members undertook to do the work themselves.
In January 1955, the first of the Dinners and suppers held in various venues took place at the Packe Arms at Hoton, with The Echo there to photograph the members and Cup Winners.
Throughout the old minutes was the recurring plea of "we need more members", and several years have seen such shortages that the club "was prevented entry in competitions.
Concers regarding the level of the Green were such that in 1958, a quote by En Tout Casn, for levelling the green at both ends was accepted at a cost of £37 10s. There was also a concerted effort at introducing more members as subsequent years showed an increase in County Competitions entries.
In 1961 subscriptions were raised to 35s for men and £1 for ladies, and the death of a long serving member Mr John James was recorded.
in the mid 60's there were also losses of Mr Towles and Mr Smith, resulting in another membership crisis, such that in November 1965, a special meeting was called to consider whether with the current membership, the club could continue. Fortunately, it did.
In 1970 the club bought the Football Club's pavillion for £10, dismantled and erected it at the Club grounds. It was evident that the green was in serious need of levelling again and the quote from En Tout Cas was out of reach at £1365. A quote from John Collington was accepted at £54!
In 1972, it was resolved that Wymeswold would wear creams for Saturday and other special occasions. The club won the Corson Shield for the first time, and John and Ken Parr with Warner Wootton reached the semi-finals of the County Triples Competition.
In 1974 the subs were raised again to £3 and again in 1975 to £4.
Mr Eric Dilkes organised a series of whist drives and dances with such success that in 1976 he had rasied over £300, enabling the club to do more remedial work to the green. In this year the Corson Shield was again won, and a Competitions Secretary was elected with strict rules drawn up to ensure that non-completion of competitions would not happen again.
Subs increased again in 1979 to £5, and in that year Ron Crust who had worked so hard on the green was offerred £150 in appreciation of his services, which he declined, stating that he would rather it be spent on the green.
In 1980 subs increased to £8, and more discussions took place regarding the future of the Club. It was agreed to continue but with the proviso that it become a mixed club, with the Ladies eligible to play in Men's games and vice versa.
Subs increased to £10 in 1982 and there must have been an increase in membership as a number of new fixtures were introduced. the end of the financial year showed a big increase in finances with a balance of £412, due in part to the success of a club raffle run by Mick Clark, which raised over £177.
In 1984, the death of Warner Wootton meant the loss of a bowler first recorded in 1947 and the longest serving member of the Club.
In 1975 the subs jumped to £15. Also in that year the first Away Day was arranged with a match against the Sheringham Morley Club with 6 rinks being played, and due to its success similar arrangements were made for the following year.
Subs were raised over the next few years in order to get funds for the proposed green extensions.By 1993 they were £30, and playing fees were also at £1, but this year showed a balance of £7989.03 - a big increase in just 11 years.
In 1996 subs were increased to £31.50, and in 1998 to £37, and in 1999 green fees were raised to £2 , as additional equipment was essential to keep the new green in top condition.
In 1989 the first meeting took place between Mr Seaton (Club Secretary), Mr Rothera (Club President) and Mr Wootton (Bill) and the Feoffees of Wymeswold Parochial Charities regarding a green extension. Various sites were looked at, but dismissed as unsatisfactory.The Feoffees were agreeable to renting the land for the extension plus a car park at a peppercorn rent, and at an extraordinary meeting, the club agreed to accept the offer. At this time all planning had to be done through the Memorial Hall Committee. In 1992 there was a report that Charnwood Borough Council were insisting on amendments to the Architect's drawings.
At the start of the 1992 season a special Honorary Life Membership was paid for by 8 people at a cost of £500 each. Another member offerred a £500 interest free loan,with fees being deducted annually from the loan. This put the Club in a very sound financial position for the extension.
However, legal difficulties were still a problem in 1993, as the Club did not have a lease on the land in their own right - everything was leased by the Memorial Hall.
Following numerous discussions between the Trustees of the Memorial Hall and the Club, things dragged on, until in 1995, the Feoffees offerred some land from the allotment site for the green extension and carpark.This would mean that the Club would have its own lease rather than being part of the Memorial Hall and could apply for grants in its own right. In 1996 it was reported that it was in the hands of The Charity Commissioners to clarify the limitations of the lease which had been suggested as a 99 year lease.
In 1997 a further twist arose, as it was suggested that the green extension now become a part of a much larger scheme which would include a large extension to the Memorial Hall. That would allow for a proper room for members use during the season with a viewing area. This proposal was agreed, planning permission was received in 1997 and applications for various grants were made. Fundraising went into overdrive! It was essential that in order to procure a Lottery Fund grant, it had to be demonstrated that the Club were also raising money. A sum of £12500 was made available at the start of the project and a further £7500 was promised on completion.
In 1999, the old green was played on for the last time - 63 years on from its inception.
In 2000, work began with the levelling of the Hall extension grounds and the carpark access. Excavations were started for the green, however 2 days after the work began the site was flooded after a downpour, and the excavations looked much like an Olympic sized swimming pool. Those who did not know the origins of the Clay St name were left in no doubt afterwards.
Dumper trucks could not be used to remove the debris as the place was a quagmire, so it was left to the digger driver to complete the large hole.
In May, the main drains and water pipes for the services were begun, but it was when the drainage for the green itself were started in early June that things began to take shape. Later in June the gravel and the gulleys were laid, and it showed just how much bigger the new green was from the old!
Then came the fine gravel, then the loam soil. The sprinkler system was laid and the gulleys covered in artificial grass. The water tank was erected, and finally in September the turf was laid. Work started on the equipment store, and soon after that on the hall extension.
The all important date was June 2nd 2001 when the new green was due to be opened.