Our History

[Having had access to a very old diary compiled during the early part of the 20th Century, and by its age had become almost indiscernible, it seemed unforgiveable to allow this remarkable piece of history of the inception of Aberfeldy Bowling Club to be lost to the Club, this prompted me to rewrite same. This reproduction is an absolute true copy in every detail of the original.]

On 27th May 1859, a meeting was held in the Breadalbane Arms Hotel to put the bowling green on a proper footing, and that should Lord Breadalbane grant the use of the site, a respectable club be formed. The meeting submitted the following proposals for his Lordship’s approval.

1) That the Club have control over the green and be responsible for it being properly attended to, and taking care of for all time;

2) That one rink be always at the disposal of tourists visiting the Hotel and strangers residing in the village, when wanted a charge of 2d or 3d being made for each person per hour;

ORIGINAL BOWLING GREEN AT ENTRANCE TO BIRKS

From left: Dr William Stewart; Bill Reid (accountant); John Cameron (bookseller); W L Wood; Duncan MacGregor (butcher);  James Menzies (farmer); Duncan Ritchie (cabinet maker); James MacGregor (stock dealer); William MacDonald (shoemaker); (behind) Thomas Black (guide to Falls of Moness); Donald McLeish (bellman); Rev W B Campell; C W MacDougall (factor's clerk Union Bank).

3) That a committee of six respectable persons in the village of Aberfeldy and Neighbourhood be named by Lord Breadalbane to admit by ballot members, and each member when so admitted, having a voice in balloting for others;

4) That the Club be governed by strict rules punishable by a fine.

Present: John Campbell, Croftness, Chairman; William P MacKenzie, Aberfeldy; William Munro, Aberfeldy; James Wyllie, Bolfracks House; and Thomas Smith, Bolfracks Cottage (Secretary Treasurer).

From the minutes of this meeting, it would appear that bowls had been played for some time previously and, strange to say, the next meeting did not take place until two years later on 18th May 1861, when the Club was formed and called Aberfeldy Bowling Club. Office bearers were elected and Lord Breadalbane granted the use of the green to the Club on condition that one rink be reserved for tourists from the Hotel and strangers residing in Aberfeldy.

Those gentlemen were the pioneers of the Bowling Club and were subsequently joined by most of the leading businessmen in the village, prominent among whom were the following initial members; Robert Fisher, Baker; Robert Adams, Baker; Duncan Cameron, Bookseller; C W L Forbes, Banker; John Harrower, Watchmaker; Thomas Fyffe, Stationmaster; William Campbell, Clothier; L McLean, John McLean, Borlick; Dr Munro; James McKerchar; Robert McLean RN; John, Douglas, Alex McLean; George MacKenzie, Borlick.

In those early years, the ballot box was in force and Office Bearers and new members had to go through
the mill, one black ball in three debarred the aspirants but very few were refused admission to the membership of the Club. At a meeting in the year 1867 when the Secretary Treasurer’s Cash Statement showed a substantial balance, it was proposed and seconded and carried unanimously that the refreshments consumed during the evening should be paid for out of the funds.

The game of bowls, with the exception of curling, is perhaps the oldest of our outdoor recreations in Aberfeldy. The old green at the entrance to the Falls of Moness was beautifully situated and was kept in good order. Being thickly surrounded by trees, however, players who were non-smokers suffered greatly from midges, but this did not damp their enthusiasm for the game on a beautiful summers evening.

The membership of the Club increased with the years, and matches were played against all the neighbouring towns:- Pitlochry, Dunkeld, Blair Atholl, Crieff, etc with whom Aberfeldy held its own. Prominent players between the late 1870’s and the end of the century were: Malcolm McGregor; John Cameron (Painter); Peter Fisher; A R Archibald; W L Wood Snr; John Fernie; Robert Irvine; Dr Haggart; Findlay Ross; James McGregor; Provost Campbell; W R Stewart; and Thomas Fyfe.
[This being the last entry]

J P McKenna
1st August 1983


The Old Clubhouse

When formed on 16th May 1861, the Aberfeldy Bowling Club was initially located adjacent to the lower entrance to the Birks of Aberfeldy. The local Burgh Council minutes of 1904, 1905, and 1906, suggests the Club applied for and was granted a
move from their original location to the present position in 1905. The Burgh Council minute of 15th September 1904 makes it quite clear that there would be no charge for the land ‘given off’ to the clubs.

Opening of the current bowling green in 1905

‚ÄčThe Clubhouse seen left was built in1906 and to this day shares its locker facilities with the Tennis Club. It was constructed on land leased in 1904 for 99 years by The Marquess of Breadalbane, who subsequently disponed some 40 acres of land in 1920 to the Town Council. The land encompassed the golf club, Victoria Park, tennis court and bowling green, including the buildings thereon. The land was to be used solely for recreational purposes and the Town Council were directed to build the required Pavilions if they were not already erected and maintain them for all time. The building was listed through Historic Scotland as a category C(S) on 5th August 2002, as one of original and local importance. In 1978 the new Clubhouse was erected at the southern end of the bowling green including catering and bar facilities. Aberfeldy Bowling Club plays in the North Perthshire League and has been League Winners on many occasions. The Club celebrated its 150th anniversary in May 2011.