BRIEF HISTORY OF KINGSCROFT BOWLS CLUB - EARL SHILTON
The Club began in 1912 as the Leycroft Bowling Club with only three Rinks. Mr. E Harry Gilbert, the founder of the Earl Shilton Building Society, owned the Club and it was managed by a group of local businessmen. Leycroft was the name of a field at the top of ‘Carrs Row’ (Carrs Road) off the High Street, Earl Shilton which was owned by Mr. Gilbert. This became the bowling green.
In 1931 this group formed a company to purchase a field off Keats Lane to lay a full-size Green of six rinks in 1932 and to build a Clubhouse. The company was called the ‘Earl Shilton Bowling and Recreational Club Co. Ltd’ which is still active today and its primary function is the promotion of flat green lawn bowls. Over the years there have been changes but the traditions, etiquette and friendship associated with the sport of bowls continues.
The site of the new Green was called ‘Back Field’ but this was changed first to Kings Field then to ‘Kingscroft’. All the turf from the Leycroft site was transferred to the new Green. The new Club was officially opened in May 1932 by Sir William Edge MP. In 1936 a Ladies Club was formed.
The Clubhouse burnt down in May 1953 but with the resourcefulness of the members it was rebuilt and improved by providing two changing rooms. Since that date it has always been the aim of the Club to improve the facilities. With ‘self help’ from dedicated members a new roof was installed in 2001, and an extension in 2005 created the attractive building enjoyed today.
Kingscroft Bowling Club has always been affiliated to Bowls England and to the Ladies and Men’s Sections of Bowls Leicestershire and is considered to be one of the strongest and most respected Clubs in the County. The members’ welcoming and relaxed attitude has encouraged the younger element of the local community to join the Club. This is something to be extremely proud of because the future of the sport lies in the younger generation. In January 2012 the Men’s and Ladies Clubs were amalgamated to form one Club with separate Ladies and Men’s Sections for Competitions & Championships.
Throughout the years Kingscroft has always exhibited a competitive spirit towards National and County competitions. Club members have successfully represented the County at the National Championships now jointly held at Leamington and represented Bowls England at International level. The Club’s County, National and International Bowling Honours over the years are quite impressive and are proudly displayed on the Honours Board in the Clubhouse.
In 2014 the Club elected a new office of Honorary Bowls Development Officer as a Member of the Management Committee. This Officer’s prime aim is to promote and develop the sport in the local community, and to develop and improve the existing facilities. It is intended that this Officer will work closely with other Clubs in the area, and Bowls Leicestershire and Bowls England to recruit new members of all ages and abilities. At this time the Club established qualified and registered Coaches; the aim was to ensure that new bowlers received basic and correct instruction towards the sport of flat green lawn bowls.
The prime aim since the foundation of Kingscroft has always been bowling but the social side of the Club is not neglected. These social events generate valuable income to the Club which ensures that membership subscription fees are kept low, and the Green and Clubhouse are maintained to a high standard for the benefit of all members. The Club is managed by an elected but unpaid Honorary Management Committee and other volunteer members.