Martin, pictured with the bowls
The Return of the Bowls from 27th. June 1894 Opening Day
Firstly about me - as I said I am a bowler, indoors for the Angel IBC in Tonbridge, Kent and outdoors I bowled for Royal Tunbridge Wells. I moved towards the end of last year to Hove in Sussex and have joined Adur IBC and will bowl outdoors at Hove and Kingsway when the outdoor season starts.
My partner Jo and I were at an auction in Ardingly in Sussex, and we had seen a couple of lots we wanted to bid on - one of which was a pair of bowls, though I'll admit that was more my choice than hers! I knew that they were old as they were obviously Lignum, but were in a very sorry state and had obviously been stored at the back of someones shed for a fair number of years. I decided that I would bid on them if they were cheap enough and luckily I managed to get them - at the time all I had in mind for them was to be polished up and restored as much as a keen amateur could realistically manage.
When I got them home and had a good look at them I could see metal plaques on each side of them and after a little cleaning managed to decipher enough to make out the word
'West End Bowling Club' and 'Kirkcaldy'. A quick search on Google got me to your club website and on reading the history section I saw mention of 'a pair of silver mounted bowls' presented by the clubs first president Mr. A. Strachan to Provost Stocks on the occasion of the first opening of the clubs green. The inscription on the plaques is very indistinct but enough can be made out to be able to see parts of words that could be 'President' and 'Strachan', so I thought I'd drop you an email enquiring as to whether you thought these could be that pair, leaves me Intrigued about their history and how they went from the east coast of Scotland to an auction house in Sussex! I don't suppose the details could ever be found and that it will therefore have to remain a mystery, but it makes me wonder what they have seen during their near 120 years.
My thoughts now are that these woods should really be back at the club they started life with - albeit briefly - and in who's history they played such a part, and with that in mind I'd like to offer them back to the club. I have played amateur sport all my life and feel that it's important that clubs move forward with the times but in doing so keep a firm attachment to their past and their achievements, and it would be nice to think of these woods taking their place in your clubhouse.
Courtesy of Mr. Martin Leach - 16th. March 2012
Kirkcaldy West End are grateful to Martin for returning the bowls .
These now reside in the glass cabinet separating the bar and lounge within the clubhouse.