In a remote village such as early Chellaston, pubs served the purpose of working men's clubs, often being the only meeting place apart from the church and chapel.
There was little or no facility in the village for organised games but the turn of the century (1900) saw a change in attitudes towards leisure activities. This was because the Shop Act of 1886 restricted working hours for under 18's to not more than 74 hours a week. It is not surprising getting drunk was the easy way of the poor to relieve their boredom in the little time left for leisure.
The Formation of the Club
In 1904/05 the third vicar. Rev. T.M. Ward joined the parish of Chellaston. A Mr Pakeham was the church warden. Such men were influenced by the vicar so it is not surprising that the Rev. T.M. Ward took the chair at a meeting and called for a proposed bowls club.
Mr Pakeham made an offer of land for the bowling green about 50 by 50 yards in Station Road at a rental of £3 per annum with a lease of 10 years, occupation for the first year free.
Mr Pakeham's offer was unanimously accepted.
This is the first entry in the minute book, Chellaston Bowls Club under the heading ' Proposed Bowls Club, Chellaston, meeting held Friday February 10th 1905'.
On 24th February, a Mr Becks quote of £23.0.0 to level, drain and prepare the green was accepted. He detailed preparing a crown bowling green with turf upon what must have been a relatively rough field. He stated the work would be finished by the 17th April.
At a meeting the club was named. The Chellaston and District Bowls Club' with the vicar as President and Mr Pakeham as vice President.
On March 30th 1905 a Mr Foster was made groundsman for a sum of £6.10.0 with a bonus of 10/- at the end of the season if satisfactory. Bowls and a mowing machine were purchased. It was propsed that the bowling green would be opened on Saturday April 22nd at 3.00 pm.
The Opening of the Green
April 1905 was a busy month for the green to be prepared for playing on by the 22nd. The 1901 census shows a population of 654.
The details of the Opening Ceremony was reported in the Derby Telegraph.
It was a cold Easter Saturday when the President, the vicar the Rev. T.M. Ward, sent out the first 'Jack' and the Vice President followed with the first 'Wood'. There were already plans for a small pavilion to be erected. The members numbered between 30 and 40 and several games were played.
The club, beginning with a piece of land in a field and an idea for a crown green bowling club had been achieved in under three months.
Chellaston and District Bowls Club, 1905 to 1924
For nineteen years the club consolidated its position before it was faced with a nation crisis of the 1914-1918 war, but it survived and it continued without a break. In 1919 a groundsman was appointed with a wage of 7/- (35p) a week, 8/- in 1920 and 20/- (1£) in 1921.
Easter Saturday appears to have been the opening date for the bowling season. In the minutes of a meeting it was recorded that 'a cordial welcome was extended to the members' wifes to visit the green whenever they wished'.
In 1922 the club purchased a railway coach for a pavilion and veranda for £49.13.0.
In March 1924 a meeting was called 'to consider the impending sale of the green', which had appeared in the local press.
This would have marked the end on Chellaston and District Bowls Club.
How Chellaston Bowls Club Ltd. was established.
At this time the Chairman told the committee that he had received a letter stating that a Mr Gilbert was intending to put the green up for sale on April 4th.
Although Gilbert had been a nominal Vice President of the club since 1919 he had taken any active part in its affairs. He fully intended to sell the green and after persuasion offered it for £150. The committee offered £100 but Gilbert was only prepared to accept £125. So the green with right of way from Station Road was acquired.
In July 1924 a Limited Liability Company named 'Chellaston Bowls Club' with a capital of£250 made up in £5 shares was formed and registered address of 'The Pavilion Chellaston'. Chellaston Bowls Club Ltd., took up the running with 29 shareholders.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 15 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
2. Mr Peat, 3. Mr Brusby, 4. Mr Barlow, 6. Mr Hodgekinson, 7. Mr Gresley,
9. Rev P. Aldieus, 19. Mr J. Cotton, 20. Mr S.E. Walters
The New Beginning
In 1927 the club left the league. A full programme of friendlies was arranged with clubs on a home-and-away basis. The social side was developing and in 1927 the directors considered 'the question of building a ladies' lavatory, but there is no record of what happened.
Chellaston's Cricket Club was situated in Station Road and turf from its pitch was given by a Mr Crocker for patching the bowls green.
In 1926 a licence for the club was considered and more shares were necessary to cover the cost of a 15 by 12ft brick building at the end of the pavilion. (£100).
In 1929 water was laid onto the green and electricity, with a gas alternative, was considered for the pavilion.
In 1930 during the summer months beer consumption was about four barrels (£10.4.0). About a gallon of whisky was also bought monthly.
In 1932 the Directors allowed each shareholder a deduction of 5/- from the annual membership fee for each share held.
The management of the bar was always on a voluntary basis and appears to have had problems as shortages were reported. In 1933 small profits indicated 'serious leakage' and a motion was proposed to shut the bar down. This was defeated by 6 votes to 2.
In 1934 no dividend was declared as a new mowing machine had been bought.
In 1938 the green was extended 'about 2 yards on the side furthest from the pavilion where the turf had been removed'.
In 1940 The price of beer was increased from 9d to 10d per bottle. 1943 saw another increase of 1d. In 1945 draught beer was considered.
The Club Develops
In 1945 at a Directors meeting a Mr.Priestley propsed a suggestion for a new club house.
24 years later the Directors invited contributions towards the purchase and fit out of a new pavilion. A 60' x 60' wood sectional building was purchased from the A.E.I. subcontractors at the Ratcliffe on Soar power station. It was dismantled and shipped to Chellaston. The old railway coach pavilion was not suitable for anything and was scrapped.
After the 2nd world war the ladies were beginning to resent being kept out of membership, limiting their activities to cleaning and tea making with occassional use of the green. The older male members, particularly those who had been members for many years wanted to preserve the club as a mans' club.
The Chairman in 1971, reaffirmed that the club would remain a bowling club with social amenities and not run as a working mans' social club.
In 1972 an addition to the club rules was made:-
Ladies are permitted to use the bowling green on Saturday evenings. A yearly subscription of 25p would register ladies as Associate Members.
In 1978 members' wives were permitted to play bowls on Sundays from 2pm. In 1980 a resolution was passed at the A.G.M. allowing ladies to have one end on nights. When the ladies considered to use the green one evening every two weeks, the Directors denied them the use of the green. Nevertheless, the ladies continued to support the club by raising funds for new carpeting in the pavilion and for a ladies flush toilet.
In 1973 subscriptions were raised to £3 and wives of members became associate members as part of the husband's subscription.
In 1982 applications for new members was considered on a 'bowling basis'.
Such was the rate of inflation, at ths time, that beer was now 50p a pint and subscriptions would have to be raised. Bar profits contributed more to costs of running the club than did subscriptions.
New rules for Chellaston Bowls Club Ltd. came into force in 1982. Also, an Open Floodlight competition was introduced to be played at the end of the season.
Ladies became full members in 1989.
In 1994 a brick extension was added to improve facilities for members and visitors. This included a bar, cool room and toilets.
In 2008/09 the old wooden pavilion was replaced by a brick building that is today's clubhouse.
In 2010 the status of the club was changed from a company Limited by shares to a company Limited by Guarantee and its present title is
Chellaston Bowls Club (2010) Limited.
That the club has survived in Chellaston where others have failed has been due to the devoted members and players who contributed to the success of the club. It is their dedication that today's' and tomorrows' members own facilities that have steadily grown over eighty years.
They, the Directors and all who serve in any capacity, are the custodians of the club's future.