top of page

Club History

Established in 1873, West Heaton Bowling, Tennis and Squash club has a long and interesting history.

Our club is proud to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023.
You can read about those 150 years in our Commemorative Booklet below.


West Heaton has always been run by volunteers and always in our current location. People have always played sports and enjoyed a social activities here.


The opening of Heaton Moor railway station in 1851 brought about development of both housing and shops along Heaton Moor Road and surrounding locality. Much remained green fields in 1873 and were developed over time to become the vibrant suburb

we know today.

What made a group of people decide to create a sports club, and on this location? We don’t know - only that on 15th July 1873 the first meeting of the Club took place. These members formed West Heaton Bowling Club Ltd.


24th July Bowling Green and Croquet Lawn opened as 'West Heaton Bowling Club Limited'.


Lawn Tennis arrived. 3 tennis lawns and one 'cinder rink' (like shale or clay) were built. The modern game had only been “invented” in 1873, and the first Wimbledon Tennis Championships was held in 1877.


Original Pavilion built for £80.


That's £6564 in 2017 money. In 1890 £80 could buy: 2 horses, 8 cows, 62 quarters of wheat or 242 days skilled work.


Lease was renewed for 11 years.


Earliest record of a bar.


All grass courts were replaced with 'cinder rink'.

Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 14.00.01.png

Decision to form a club “apart from the Limited Company” named “West Heaton Bowling and Tennis Club”. The Club paid the Ltd Co. rent so there was: landlord (Mr Brown), tenant (Ltd Co.) and Sub-tenant (the Club).


After Mr Brown's death, the freehold was purchased for £450 by West Heaton Bowling Club Limited (£13,075 in 2017 money). In 1920 £450 could buy: 16 horses, 46 cows, 351 quarters of wheat or 1363 days skilled work.


3 shale courts laid where the 'bottom' courts now exist. 

1933 - 1935

The Club and Ltd Co. grew apart, and The Club bought most of the £5 shares for £2.50 each, accumulating 196 of the 230 shares issued and gaining control. The remaining 34 shares proved untraceable.


The changing room extension was built.


The Entertainments Section was formed.


Croquet began to die out.


First tennis team entered into a competitive league.


Football section and table tennis team formed.


Small bar and bowler's hut replaced by Bar lounge and Bowler's Lounge. Badminton section formally disbanded as play had been made impossible due to the false ceiling added to the club house.


First squash court built.

Bar end toilets added.


First squash team entered into a competitive league.


Floodlights added to bowling green.


Bar Lounge extended toward the tennis courts. Changing rooms and Kitchen improved.


First bowling team entered into a competitive league.

Upper grass courts were converted to Playdeck Tarmac all-weather courts.   


Shelters and side boards added to bowling green by volunteers. Floodlights hinged to enable easy bulb-changing.


Major Refurbishment, replacing wooden sides with brick walls.


Floodlights were added to 2 of the all weather courts.

Image by Ben Hershey

Top Tarmac courts replaced with artificial grass carpet.


Bar relocated to current position in clubhouse.

Soccer Players

Football section disbanded.


Club name changed to West Heaton Bowling, Tennis and Squash club, 29 years after Squash was introduced.


Thanks to a Sport England grant, and Lawn Tennis Association interest-free loan, more major landscaping. Bottom courts also replaced with artificial grass. Floodlights added and second squash court built.


First female President, Barbara Dunne. 

 first friday 2012.jpeg

2nd March 2012 saw the start of our popular First Friday live music nights.

Jubilee 2012.jpg

In June the Club enthusiastically celebrated the Queen’s 60th Jubilee with sporting and social events.


Table Tennis introduced in the pavilion.


24th July marked 140 years. Since 1873 we have hosted sports on the same site, a remarkable feat as it makes us older than the telephone, Stockport County, Man United, Man City and the modern Olympics.

Club of year 2013.jpeg

By wonderful coincidence, our 140th was marked by being awarded the Lancashire Lawn Tennis Association Club of the Year. Brilliant !

floodlights 2014.jpeg

Modern floodlights on the top courts to match those fitted on the bottom ones in 2003. The original ones were fitted on courts 1 and 2 in 1982 but we now had all 6 courts with modern lights.

kitchen garden 2016.jpeg

Thanks to (as ever) a small dedicated team of volunteers, an unkempt area by the old croquet lawn was transformed into a lovely kitchen garden.


Bottom courts relaid with 'tiger turf'.

New bowlers shed for sheltering from the rain.


In March the Club temporarily closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic, along with most other communal activities throughout the country and beyond. We were gradually able to open playing and then social facilities.


The Club built a Memory Garden for those loved ones who had passed away, especially during the painful time of the pandemic.

comp of the year 2021.png

Another award from the Lancashire LTA - this time it was for Competition of the Year of 2021.


Celebrating 150 yrs as a sports and social club on the same site.

WhatsApp Image 2023-06-27 at 09.55.58.jpeg

The club house gets an update in the form of a new porch frontage.


Our official 159th Club Photo is taken, which hangs in the pavilion alongside other historic group photos. A digital copy can be obtained here


15th July The first meeting of the Club. The land had been obtained for 21 years on lease from Mr J. Brown, the freeholder.

What's next for West Heaton? Why not join a committee and get involved with shaping our club?

The Future?
Previous Anniversary Booklets

140th Anniversary Booklet

Roll of honour

our recorded Presidents. The Presidents from 1873 to 1921 are not recorded on our Honours Board but became known thanks to diligent work for the Centenary brochure in 1973 by our 1949 President, Fred Towns.

1873-1875 W.R. Callender, MP 

1876-1877 None elected 

1878-1880 J. Chadwick 

1881-1889 B. Marsden 

1890 Mr. Newby 

1891 Mr Withy 

1892 J.W. Berra 

1893 Mr Laidlaw 

1894 J. Roberts 

1895 F.Pearn 

1896 J. Roberts 

1897 J. Bowker 

1898 E. Walton 

1899 W. Lewis 

1900 J. Watson 

1901 S. Knowles 

1902 J.R. Frame 

1903 W. Curbstone 

1904 Mr Tomlinson 

1905 S.A. Jackson 

1906 N. Bradley 

1907 G. Jarvis

1908 Mr Binns 

1909 A.V. Sharratt 

1910 C.E. Thomas

1911 H. Mushlian 

1912 J.H. Abbott 

1913 R. Grenville

1914 F.G. Smith

1915 G.W. Wild

1916 J.R. Ball

1917 J.T. Wainwright

1918 J. Ware

1919 G.Nicholl

1920 G. Mason

1921 J.N. Hopwood

1922 - 1928 Not recorded 

1929 Gerald Linfoot

1930 Gerald Linfoot

1931 Stan H. Heighway 

1932 George Mason

1933 Len Worsencroft

1934 Geo. H. Byrom 

1935 A. E. Travis 

1936 Wm Dootson 

1937 Wm Dootson 

1938 Harold S. Todd 

1939 Wm Sidebotham 

1940 Wm Sidebotham 

1941-1944 2nd world war - none elected 

1945 Arnold Welch 

1946 Arnold Welch 

1947 George Ball 

1948 R. A. Brittain 

1949 F. W. Towns 

1950 C. H. Sheldon 

1951 H. K. Harrison 

1952 J. Arthur Stewart 

1953 Eric A. Todd 

1954 S. Locke 

1955 G. B. Mattinson

1956 Frank R Grieve 

1957 T. Bowden 

1958 J. O. Lupton 

1959 Ernest M. Kershaw

1960 R. H. Sheldon 

1961 H. Q. Mann 

1962 R. Brelsford 

1963 J. Marsh

1964 D. N. Rothwell 

1965 R. S. Brown 

1966 G. M. Davies M.B.E. 

1967 J. W. G. Mason

1968 R. Holt

1969 F. G. C. Atkinson

1970 I. R. Duncan 

1971 K. J. Gordon 

1972 R. D. Lodge

1973 G. M. Haslamz

1974 J. F. Wright

1975 D. E. R. Swallow

1976 I. Lunn

1977 G. B. Chadwick

1978 S. H. Mattinson

1979 RLE Rimmington

1980 G. N. Stephens 

1981 R. W. Woosey

1982 D. W. Porter

1983 P. H. Locke

1984 Owen Corrigan

1985 Dan Blunt

1986 Peter F. Mundy

1987 Bernard McGrath

1988 Peter E. Dunne

1989 Alan Woosey

1990 Roger Knowles

1991 E. Greenhalgh

1992 Peter Jackson

1993 G. T. Kay

1994 W. Barry Oswald

1995 John H. Whitby

1996 Peter Podmore

1997 Keith Anderson

1998 Michael Coward

1999 W. P. Henderson

2000 Mike Gibson

2001 John P. Howarth

2002 Barrow Gaskarth

2003 Barbara Dunne

2004 Andrew M. Rayner

2005 David G. Hopwood

2006 Janet E. Cowan

2007 Elizabeth A. Jordan

2008 R. D. B. Stringer

2009 John R. Helliwell

2010 Edward Tasker

2011 Norma Eccles

2012 Alan C. Mansfield

2013 Martin Sharman

2014 Chrissie Gibson

2015 Richard Meadowcroft

2016 Andrew Taylor

2017 Matt Jackson

2018 Una Goulding

2019 Joyce Barkclay

2020 Basil John Mandy

2021 Josephine Taylor

2022 Jane Philpott

2023 Steve Woosey

The Great War Memorial (WW1)

The Great War Memorial is displayed in the Pavilion and commemorates  those members who fell in the War. Strangely it was lost for a time until  found in a Manchester mill which was about to be demolished, and returned to the Club in the 1970s.

In 2018 (the centenary of the end of WWI) research was carried out into the names on our plaque. Some of the soldiers are included in the Heaton Moor War Memorial and the stories of the other soldiers were discovered.


So many young men fought in the First World War that tennis teams were depleted, so in 1916 the Committee decided that for the first time ladies would be allowed to arrange tennis matches. Also, as part of the war effort, the Club hosted teas for the wounded soldiers who were recuperating locally. 


The research on these fallen young men can be found in the attachment, together with extracts from West Heaton's Committee minutes from that period.


West Heaton during WW1

The Oundle Woods

Many members, especially bowlers, know that the president officially opens each Bowling season by bowling an “end” with the famous Oundle Woods, pictured. But what are the  Oundle Woods? 


They are two woods with engraved silver mounts which were presented at West Heaton in 1886 as a competition prize from William Adam to Alexander Adam (its not known if they were related).


After then there was no trace of them till 1985 when a lady in the Northamptonshire town of Oundle found them in an old box in her attic when helping to clear a house following the death of her God-daughter who was married into the family of Alexander Adam.

She passed them to her local bowling club asking if they could find the orignal owner. The President of the Oundle Club then set about this task and placed enquiries and adverts and finally received a response from a Jack Smith in Cheadle who knew of West Heaton.


No internet and social media to help then. Interestingly, the adverts had been placed in flat green bowling magazines and it was quite by chance that a bowler from a crown green area should see the advert and link it to West Heaton. 

Raymond Prior acted on behalf of the Club and passed on our sincere thanks. The woods are very heavy at over 3 pounds each so it was decided to use them for the very appropriate traditional ceremony.

bottom of page