On 5th January, 1872, a small group of businessmen from the Marchmont and Grange area met with the express purpose of forming a bowling club. That evening the name was agreed and five of their number were charged with the responsibility of searching for a site for Whitehouse and Grange Bowling Club.Old Bowl

On 8th April, some three months later, the original seven must have been somewhat dismayed to find that only fourteen persons attended the General Meeting held in Southside Literary Institute to consider a report from the Founders. It was reported that, 'After a little negotiation the Committee had succeeded in purchasing from Mr. George Harrison (later Sir George, Lord Provost of Edinburgh) his entire rights in the feu held by him in Hope Terrace, including boundary walls, drains, roads, etc. The 2-rink bowling green used by the Harrison family to the south of the 3/4 acre area was prepared for play immediately.

As the construction of the new green was proceeding at a cost of some £200, the Club House was also being erected at a cost of £173. To meet the cost of these items One Hundred Redeemable Shares were issued at £5 each. The last of the shares were finally cancelled in l952. A limit of 75 members was imposed and the Entry Money and Subscription were fixed at One Guinea each.

The first President of the Club was Mr. William R. Clapperton who resided in one of the ten houses at that time in Strathearn Place and was the owner of a Cabinetmaker and Furnisher business in Princes Street. Undoubtedly his enthusiasm was the major driving force in the speedy formation of the Club, but he was aided and abetted to a very large degree by George Harrison through whose generosity the site for the Club had been obtained.

At the present time when Edinburgh is considering the reintroduction of tramcars to alleviate our traffic problems, it is interesting to note that the construction of the Green in 1872 was somewhat delayed as a result of the formation of the tramways which ran along Hope Terrace and Clinton Road. Later when the 'blockage' between Strathearn Road and Churchill was removed the tramways were re-routed.

The new Green was formally opened on Friday 23rd May, 1873 - the event should have taken place on the previous Saturday but was delayed due to bad weather - is this another case of history repeating itself? Some of the members proposed at the Closing Meeting of 1873 that the two-green rink at the South of the Green should be utilised as a Curling pond. This was duly carried out and the Curling Club, which was confined to members of the Bowling Club, continued until 1912.

Bowling as a leisure pursuit had grown at 'an alarming rate' aerial pictureaccording to the 1903 edition of 'Edinburgh Bowling Annual' with around 100 Clubs in the city - a 300% increase on the preceding ten years. Whitehouse and Grange Bowling Club was very much to the fore in the promotion of the sport. Many younger members were joining and it was necessary to extend the Club House by building a second storey. The extension which incorporated in the frontal elevation the two gables, which we all still admire, was completed in time for the opening of the new season some 5 months after the original suggestion. 

During the two World Wars, due to rationing restricted hospitality and shortage of petrol certain restrictions were placed on 'friendly' matches. On the cessation of hostilities, many of these 'friendlies' which are still played today were resurrected. The Club was conspicuous in all aspects of bowling in the city and beyond. In addition to providing eight internationalists, several of the members were elected to high office in the administration of Bowls at National and local level.

With the Centenary Celebrations looming, it was agreed that further extensions to the Clubhouse be carried out. In 1969 it was agreed that Ladies should be given Associate Membership of the Club and further that a bar be installed. It is recorded that there was some dissent to the first proposal, but it appears that the bar idea was accepted unanimously! In l998 it was proposed that Ladies should be admitted as New BowlsOrdinary members of the Club. Thankfully, complete and painless integration has taken place in all aspects of the Club's activities.

Over the years the Club has developed a most happy and genial character. Whilst there is the competitive element in terms of the Men's First and Second XVIs, the Women's Leagues and a whole plethora of Club competitions, there are many opportunities to have a friendly game of bowls either against those visiting Clubs who have been coming to Hope Terrace for many years or the gentle 'roll-up' with those who appear on a Tuesday or Thursday morning. One of the lovely things about Whitehouse, if you arrive at the Green, you will always be asked to play. Surely this was the essence of the companionship and fellowship, which the founders bequeathed to this generation these 130 years ago.The New Bar

After two hours of bowling in our 'tranquil acre' where you can enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of the gardens, there can be no better way of ending the day than by inviting your playing partners to partake of a refreshment in our recently refurbished Club House. After a drink (or two) the game invariably improves in the telling.

As has been said so often, but it bears repeating, 'Bowls is a game where true sportsmanship prevails and whilst the object is to win, the purpose of the game is to enjoy oneself.' Come along to Whitehouse and Grange where you will receive a warm welcome and experience a great deal of enjoyment.

April, 2003