Our Story

In 2007 Leith Bowling Club celebrated it’s 150th anniversary. The following is an extract taken from the handbook created as part of the celebrations.
We look back at the history of Leith and reflect on some of the milestones we have passed on the way to our 150th year. These out takes are filled with both nostalgia and humour and offer an insight into the evolution of Leith Bowling Club as we know it today.

History 1857 – 2007

1857 Original 9 Members meet to form Leith Bowling Club.
Green purchased at James Place on the site of Links Primary School at a cost of £55.
1858 1st complaint about the condition of the green (some things never change) A Mr Paterson was called in to effect repairs.
1860 Membership stood at 47.
1865 First friendly against Lutton Place. Harmony held at Old Ship Hotel.
Costs were 8 bottles Whisky, £2.00 and Biscuits 3/- (three shillings)
1874 Club left James Place and moved to the east end of Restalrig Terrace. A new green was constructed for £800.
1886 William Gladstone declined membership.
1889 Leith joins ELBA.
1901 Club moves again to present location at a cost of £384.
1902 1st complaint about the condition of the green (nothing changes)
1902 Leith joins SBA.
1904 1st Drinks Licence obtained.
1907 Jubilee Celebrations held at Queens Hotel Leith. 90 members and Lord Provost of Leith attended.
1908 Leith played Canada touring team, a meal was organized at the Peacock Inn, Newhaven.
1911 First Hat Night competition.
1916 Club insured against Air-Raid Damage.
1917 Joe Wills joins club, would become 6 times champion.
1921 First Ladies Day competition.
1922 Proposal to allow ladies to play – Failed.
1932 First extension to clubhouse, cost – £250.
1940 Electricity installed in club for first time.
1942  Proposal at AGM to admit juniors and ladies. 12 Juniors admitted. Ladies not destined to be suitable members of a “Gentleman’s Club”
1944 Proposal to admit lady members – again defeated.
1947 Flag pole erected at Leith.
1950 John Noble elected as President of E.L.B.A. 500 Spectators attend Tait Final at Leith green.
Proposal to install club bar – defeated.
Design of first club badge by L Jack – approved.
1952 Proposal to admit ladies is defeated. This decision was very contentious and the board of directors resigned 3 times in a month.
1954 Proposal to install club bar – Successful. Within 1 month the bar was fully stocked at a cost of £48
1955 All Club Members became Share Holders.
First hon. member elected, Sam Campbell.
Centenary Committee formed.
Proposal to admit ladies – again defeated.
1956 Saturday Hat Night Competition started.
Club purchased grounds which had been leased for the last 55 Years. Therefore securing the future of Leith.
1957 Centenary celebrated.
1958 Club broken into, thief was caught and sentenced to 6 months.
1959 Ladies section started
1959 First of the Davidson dynasty joined club Adam Senior
1959 Friendly against Touring Australian National Bowling Team
1959 Tait trophy final at Leith, 500 spectators present
1961 Proposal to sell draught beer defeated
1965 First honorary member, Sam Campbell dies
1965 Duncan Davidson takes first office
1966 Chairs purchased for 2/6 each.
Club house demolished in preparation for new one
1967 65th AGM held at Seafield BC
1967 Official opening of new clubhouse
1969 First friendly versus Lanark
1972 Pilrig BC allowed full access to club facilities for 3 months whilst their club is renovated
1974 First TV purchased
1979 C. McNab made honorary member
1982 Robert Storrier elected as Treasurer
1984 Bill McMurdo elected as Secretary
1985 Club joins dart and domino league
1987 Proposal to extend club accepted with help of loans from Alloa and Tennants
1988 Tommy Dick made honorary member
1991 Senior section formed
1995 Duncan Davidson top ten president
1996 Adam Davidson reaches Tait Trophy final only to be defeated by Robert Gardner of Dudley
1999 Ladies offered full membership
2000 Club wins Edinburgh Cup beating Wardie in the final
2003 Jackie Briggs elected as president of Scottish Bowling Fellowship
Bill McMurdo and Robert Storrier made honorary members
2007  Duncan Davidson receives honorary membership.

Extract from the writings of Robert H Edgar, President 1957 Centenary year:
“Retrospection shows the club commenced during the reign of a Queen, and today celebrates it’s Centenary during the reign of another Queen. Recurrently, throughout the interval between, this history records certain repetitive pleas.

Currently, all of these have been resolved, except the plea for equality to women, which, constantly, has been rejected.

Are we the last stronghold of male exclusiveness? Or is it merely symptomatic of the future that within a short compass this relic of Victorian attitude will disappear in an age which already granted equality in rewards for labour”