The following speech was given by our Club Captain Keith Procter on the occasion of our Centenary Celebrations on June 10th 2010:-
GRANGE BOWLING CLUB
"May I now give you a short history of the Grange Bowling Club and how we arrived at our centenary celebrations.
From the records I have seen the original house called The Grange was built in 1854 by a Joseph Barnes a colliery property owner of Rishton who was also involved in developing the Oakenshaw printworks down Lower Barnes Street.
It would appear that Mr.Barnes got into financial difficulties and the house and grounds sold to Mr.W.H.Hacking of Enfield Soap Works in 1866.
The bowling green was laid down by one of these two gentlemen,I suspect by Mr.Hacking for another article states that the house and land was put up for auction in 1892 all the details for the sale were listed but no mention of a bowling green,it would appear that the reserve price was not reached and the house remained with the Hacking family.
Mr.Hacking died in 1906 and the house and grounds bought from his executors for £1500 in the year 1910 for the purpose of becoming the Parish Church Institute.The money to buy the Grange was lent temporarily by certain more affluent members but was fully repayed by the church members after many fund raising activities.
In 1911 the responsibility of the Grange passed to the Trustees of the Parish Church Institute and remains so to this day though their name has now been altered to the Trustees of All Saints Grange Bowling Club.
The institute did provide facilities for members for meetings,sewing classes,concerts and other social activities but reading minutes of the time it never payed its way and was always in some financial trouble.
In 1936 the Trustees wanted to sell the house and some land so that a new school could be built but the scheme did not come to fruition.
In 1939 the house was requisitioned to be used for A.R.P.service and it was during this time that the building suffered from the lack of proper care and maintenance and was now in a poor state.After the war the institute declined further and in 1948 the land for the school playing field and where Mr.and Mrs.Connells bungalow sits was sold to lancashire County Council for £600,though the bungalow was built many years later.
By this time the building was in a desperate state and in 1950 it was demolished and the materials from it sold for £250.In the same year Mr.J.Cookson bought the land for £300 and built the house which is now the home of Mr.and Mrs.Holden.
Now the bowling green and a small wood was the only part of the Parish Institute remaining and it had its own committee responsible for running it.
In 1952 permission was given by the trustees for the erection of the brick pavilion which we now use at a cost of £375.
Perhaps the low point of our history was in 1961 when at the Annual General Meeting it was proposed and seconded that the club should close,Mr.Norman Haworth proposed that it should remain open,his amendment was carried.Some years later Mr.Haworth became secretary and did much work for the club,so in many ways we must be thankful to the memory of Mr.Haworth that we can celebrate 100years.
The club continued to flourish and pay its way some members gave much of their time,Mr.W.Flegg was one who we have to be grateful to,he is remembered by the doors erected in his memory to the pavilion.Mr.Geof Thornley who is with us today and many others.
In 1999 permission was give by the trustees for Electricity to be installed to the pavilion and since then many improvements have been made.You have already seen the new pavilion we have bought,the two containers for the storage of our equipment,many pieces of machinery for the maintenance of the green.We have 102 members 16 of which are non-playing these are mainly the ladies who not wishing to bowl are always there to provide refreshments on special occasions and match nights which is important for thirsty bowlers and to help them the kitchen area and for the centenary was refurbished and we are very grateful to them.All these have been purchased by grants which our secretary Mr.L.Denton has obtained.Laurie seems to have a flair for knowing where grants are available and I am sure we are very grateful for his efforts on behalf of the club not only for the grants but for the way in which he carries out his duties.
The maintenance of the green and the surrounding areas are all carried out by members of the club supervised for many years by Mr.J.Smith.
By and large we get on well with our neighbours,Mr.and Mrs Connell at the bungalow and Mr.and Mrs.Holden in the Grange,though I suspect I did upset Kevin one morning,for out of necessity I cut the green at 7.30am and Kevin had great difficulty keeping his egg in his eggcup.
The Vicarage is our other neighbour and as the Vicar is one of the Trustees he keeps his eye on us though I don't think I ever told him that the trust deeds state that the Vicar of the day if he is willing should be a trustee,I think I said being a trustee came with the job.
In 1999 we broke new ground by entering teams in the local bowling leagues,so far we have done very well and the club has been given other awards.
LANCASHIRE SPORTS AWARDS - 2005
HYNDBURN COMMUNITY CLUB OF THE YEAR
LANCASHIRE SPORTS AWARDS – 2007
ALL SAINTS GRANGE BOWLING CLUB
GREEN KEEPER – JACK SMITH
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
HYNDBURN & RIBBLE VALLEY CVS
PEOPLE & COMMUNITY AWARD – 2008
HYNDBURN & DISTRICT BOWLING LEAGUE
DIVISION 3 CHAMPIONS & CUP WINNERS-2008
DIVISION 4 RUNNERS-UP & CUP SEMI-FINALIST-2008
DIVISION 2 CHAMPIONS-2009
So ladies and gentlemen that is a brief history of the Grange Bowling Club,we are proud of our club and what we have achieved.I am sure we all give thanks for those who have gone before us and hope that the Grange Bowling Club continues to go from strength to strength."