Glasgow Croquet Club

The History of the Glasgow Club

Croquet has been played in Scotland since at least the mid-1800s, but there are few records of games in the first half of the 20th century. In 1950, a new club was started in Edinburgh and in 1958, Mrs Pamela Brown of Rutherglen requested assistance in setting up a Glasgow club.

By 1959, ground in Pollok Estate had been identified and membership was up to 42, with a waiting list, even before the lawns were ready. There was one level lawn and one with a six foot slope down towards the river. Despite the obvious challenges, the club thrived, with a very active social side as well as enthusiastic players.

The site has now reverted to its original state as can be seen in this photograph, taken in 2011.

In 1975, the club acquired a new site nearer to the Police sports ground, still in Pollok Park and, mainly through the efforts of Jack Norton, four new lawns were created. The club thrived with many players of all abilities enjoying the facilties and Norton hospitality.

When the new M77 was routed through part of the adjacent Haggs Castle golf course, the Golf Club approached the Croquet Club to buy the lawns to replace part of the ground which had been lost. After protracted negotiations, the sale was agreed in 1988 and the croquet lawns are now part of the 9th hole of the golf course.

At that time, a number of public bowling greens were threatened with closure and, after looking at several options, agreement was reached with the Glasgow Parks department that the croquet club could have the use of the two bowling greens at Glasgow Green West. This arrangement continued for a few years, during which the bowling greens at Glasgow Green East were made available for major events, hosted by the Glasgow club, including international matches with Australia and the USA.

As there was a proper pavilion available at the East lawns, a move to these lawns was negotiated and the club continued there for several years, with up to four lawns available for tournaments. In 1990, the Home Internationals were held in Scotland for the first time, using a total of 10 lawns at Alexandra Park and Kelvingrove as well as those at Glasgow Green East.  Although this was a very adequate facility, fate intervened when the pavilion was burned down by vandals.  The cost of rebuilding was prohibitive, so again, a number of alternatives were examined.

By far the best option was a move to Kelvingrove, where up to four lawns were available, with a storage facility on site for the equipment. The setting, adjacent to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, was striking and the club was quite settled there when there was another twist to the tale.

When Glasgow won the bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Kelvingrove was selected as the venue for the bowling events.

This meant that the lawns had to be re-laid and as a consequence, the croquet club moved yet again, this time to Alexandra Park, where we played up to the end of the 2014 season. The staff there did a great job in bringing the lawns back up to a good standard, as they had been neglected for some years. The only disadvantage was that the Park is a bit “off the beaten track” and we have, for now, lost members who had been able to travel to the city centre location.

After the Games were over, we held discussions with the Legacy team and others in Glasgow Life so that we were able to return to Kelvingrove in 2015.  The Club again hosted the The Home Internationals in June 2015 at Kelvingrove.

In 2016 the Club made yet another move and is now located at Knightswood Park on the West side of Glasgow.  This move was required to allow Kelvingrove to be developed as an international bowls venue.

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