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. 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 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. 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.
The first President of the Club was Mr. William R. Clapperton who resided in one of the ten houses 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.
The construction of the Green in 1872 was 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 opened on Friday 23rd May, 1873 . 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. The Curling Club continued until 1912.
According to the 1903 edition of ‘Edinburgh Bowling Annual’ there were 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 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, was completed in time for the opening of the the 1912 season.
Green and new Clubhouse opening -4th May 1912
On June 28th 1912 following a civic reception, the Australian Bowlers left the City Chambers by char-a-banc for Hope Terrace. The ensuing match against Whitehouse & Grange was won 89-77 by the Australians.
Australian team at Whitehouse & Grange 1912
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 including representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Several members have been elected to high office in the administration of Bowls at National and local level. The most recent being Steven Kirk as President of the Edinburgh Bowling League in 2019. The club has also won various trophies over the years. See our Honours Board CLUB HONOURS
In preparation for the Centenary Celebrations in 1972 further extensions to the Clubhouse were carried out including installing the bar.
From an orginal painting by E.I.G. BROWN©
In 1969 Ladies were invited to become Associate Members of the Club In l998 that particular distinction was abolished and since then both sexes have been treated as full Ordinary Members of the Club. In 2017, Rhona Stephen was elected as the first woman “Club President” with the separate Ladies President’s role being discontinued. The intention is in future to alternate the Presidency annually between a Lady and a Gentleman. Presidents and Champions since the Club’s Centenary in 1972 PRESIDENTS and CHAMPIONS
Over the years the Club has developed a most happy and genial character. Whilst there is the competitive element in terms of league matches and a whole plethora of internal 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 just a gentle ‘roll-up’ and play. 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.
Bowls is a game where true sportsmanship prevails and whilst the objective 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.