LIKE many sports clubs around the country Clacton Bowling Club is preparing to celebrate its centenary.

Hundreds were formed at the end of - or soon after - the Great War of 1914-1918 as the Government looked to tackle the overall health and fitness of the population.

The general unfitness that prevailed had become clear when tens of thousands were called up to serve their country and were found to be wanting.

Local historian Norman Jacobs said that it was a definite policy from Westminster to aid the setting up of clubs and creation of new facilities which would help get the nation more active.

“The Government gave generous tax breaks to companies to provide sports grounds for their employees and to encourage them to use them,” he explained.

“Councils throughout the land were handed grants specifically to create playing fields in the new quest to improve fitness.”

Clacton Bowling Club was one of those to spring up out of this policy and was formed by a group of local businessmen in 1922.

It began as a private members club and while there is little known of the early days, Mr Jacobs, chairman of Clacton History Society, has dug out some photos of the site in Collingwood Road which were taken in the 1930s.

The club still occupies the same base and although there has been some expansion to the building and improvements over the years to bring it up to date, the setting is remarkably similar to that of almost 100 years ago.

Now the committee and members are preparing to mark the centenary in 2022 and have started to gather photos, information, memorabilia and stories from the past which will be displayed in the clubhouse.

President David Mitchell-Gears, who has been involved for almost half the club’s existence, said that it is important to spread the word in the hopes that people will look out the items that will help make it a special celebration.

“We would be very keen to receive anything from those first ten years to help fill in the gaps, but we are looking for anything about the club throughout the decades,” he added.

“The aim is to put on a memorable display which will be of interest to local residents and some who may have moved away but have happy memories of themselves or their family being members.”

Clacton Urban District Council took over the bowling club after being served with a purchase notice in the early 1960s and it was used as a council green which was maintained by the local authority.

The site was then leased back to Clacton Bowling Club in 1990 and it took over the responsibility for operating and maintaining the premises, as it still does today.

Secretary Brian Hobbs will be co-ordinating the collection of photographs and items for the display and anyone who can help should contact him. You can write to him at Clacton Bowling Club, Collingwood Road, Clacton, or call him on 01255 475386 or email