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. The name was agreed and five of their number were charged with finding a site for Whitehouse and Grange Bowling Club. ‘After a little negotiation the newly formed Committee succeeded in purchasing from Mr. George Harrison (later Sir George, Lord Provost of Edinburgh) his entire rights in the feu 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 laying of the new green was proceeding at a cost of £200, the Club House was also erected at a cost of £173. One Hundred Redeemable Shares were issued at £5 each. The last of the shares were finally redeemed in l952. A limit of 75 members was imposed and the Entry Money and Subscription was fixed at One Guinea.
The first President of the Club was Mr. William R. Clapperton who resided in Strathearn Placeand the owner of a Cabinetmaker and Furnisher business in Princes Street. His enthusiasm was the major driving force in the speedy formation of the Club, but he was aided and abetted by George Harrison.
The construction of the Green was delayed as a result of the formation of the tramway which ran along Hope Terrace and Clinton Road. 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 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 and Whitehouse and Grange teams 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 and Gill Brown President of the South Edinburgh Ladies Bowling Association 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.
A short history of the Club’s first 100 years was produced to mark the Centenary Centenary in 1972
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 & CHAMPIONS since 1972
Over the years the Club has developed a happy and genial character. Whilst there is the competitive element to league matches and the internal Club competitions, there are many opportunities to have a friendly game of bowls either against visiting Clubs or just a gentle ‘roll-up’ and play.
Updated history of etc Club produced for 150th Anniversary season in 2022 by Mike Marshall nad Rhona Stephen