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From the photographs available there appears to have been cordoned off outdoor bowls green(s) at the current locations of the 2 outdoor bowls greens since at least 1927. They certainly became 2 greens in the early 1930s

Very little appears to have changed until the late 1960s when the indoor part of the bowls club was constructed, as documented in the 1960-1990 part of this website. This replaced the tennis courts that were in front of the pavilion.

A contact, Vincent Williams, informs me: "I have the opening booklet of the Indoor Bowls Centre. It it it says the centre was opened on Tuesday 23rd November 1965 by the Mayor of Folkestone, Alderman Wilfred May Harris J.P. The cost of building it was £55000." accounting for inflation that £55000 is just under a million pounds today!

Trevor Greening (Folkestone’s Borough Engineer, Surveyor and Planning Officer from 1968 to 1974) recalls: "At the time it was said to be the largest single span bowls centre (laminated timber) in the UK.  It contained 6 bowling lanes with a 5 foot surround  which would make the span about 100 foot.  The firm who built it was Fromson Construction, a Canadian firm and because of the need for extreme accuracy in the concrete floor I personally checked the levels of the formwork before allowing the concrete to be poured.  This then had softboard glued to it, with an underlay and jute matting on top which was subsequently changed to felt."

In a photo from Trevor, looking south through the window the old pavilion changing rooms can be seen. This is now the location of the bowls club car park.

Trevor Greening.jpg

Picture credit: Trevor Greening

Things stayed pretty much the same until 1995 when a new extension, plus alterations and improvements were made. These cost £100000 at the time (about £170000 in today's money). Design was by Hythe  architects Cheney & Thorpe and were done by then local builder Brian Wilson.

1995 Bowls Folkestonehistory Kent.jpg

Picture credit:: Folkestonehistory Kent / Folkestone Herald

Again a long period of little change or activity until 2004 when Shepway District Council (as named at the time) purchased the entire Cheriton Road sports site, which clearly included the bowls club.

Since then, there have been multiple considerations for selling off the bowls site for commercial use:-

  • 2018: offers made by two supermarkets for the potential purchase of the indoor bowls club, which was widely reported in social media and the press.  

  • 2020: this time for unknown use. The council have until March 2022 to come up with a decision.

Clearly this is an issue that may continue to rumble on in the future.

Although the bowls club is a very near neighbour to the football ground, there is very little interaction between the two clubs, other than the occasional car park use discussion. Everybody needs good neighbours. 


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