Wessex Bowling Club
The Wessex Bowling Club was founded in 1930 but it is not generally known that there was in fact a Bowling Club in existence in Broadstone as early as 1923. This bowling club known as Broadstone Bowling Club had a three rink green and was situated in the Recreation Ground close by to the current club.
Minutes of 1926 meetings clearly show that the Club was unhappy with the state of the green at this time. Ernest Osman-Brown, who was the President that year, was the prime mover in those discussions. At a further meeting in 1926 it was proposed a new green would be built, on ground owned by Ernest Osmon-Brown, (the current green) and the club would be called The Wessex Bowling Club, Broadstone. There were 28 members when the new Club opened.
The total cost of the pavilion and green was approximately £15,000, and was completed in 1930. It is alleged that Ernest Osman-Brown stated that for every “wood” bowled, it cost him 10/6d. Fine leaden, old fashioned lattice windows at the rear of the pavilion came from an “old world” thatched cottage at Mudeford, as did the magnificent carved oak fireplace. A painting of Sir Francis Drake playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe, which hangs over the fireplace, was painted by Meredith William Hawes from Bournemouth University and cost 80 guineas.
The Official opening of the green was on 21st June 1930 with a game between the English Bowling Association and a Dorset County team.
On the 30th September 1937 Ernest Osmon-Brown died at the age of 59 years and his wife requested that members continue to be allowed to use the green. Mrs.Osman-Brown succeeded her late husband as Honorary President for a period of 2 years, the only lady to fill the presidency of this all male club – a rather unique situation. The green was eventually leased to the Borough of Poole Council in 1940 and in 1945 Mrs.Osman-Brown handed over the Deeds of the whole property to the Council for a meagre £1,000.
The Wessex Bowling Club remained an all male club until 1971 when at a public meeting held on the 15th October 1971 it was agreed to form the Broadstone Ladies Bowling Club. At that meeting 27 ladies intimated that they would join and it was agreed that they would join the English Women’s Bowling Association and the Dorset County Women’s Bowling Association.
In 2001 after receiving a Lottery Grant of £32,000, Council Grant of £20,000 and the remainder provided by the Club, a total of £70,000 was spent on extending the Pavilion. In the same year a Junior Section was set up, with a Saturday morning club running during the outdoor season. This was followed in 2002 with the formation of a Short Mat Section to be run during the winter months. There is now a Broadstone team in the local Short Mat League.
In 2010 it was decided that the Wessex Bowling Club and the Broadstone Ladies Bowling Club should amalgamate and become Broadstone Wessex Bowling Club.