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The Waterloo - the story so far

Bowling News

The demise of the iconic home of crown green bowling is a tragic story for our sport and probably indicative of the times. After 114 years of hosting our sport and many of those as the host of the finest bowling competitions in the sporting year, the Waterloo BC at Blackpool finally lost its battle for survival. The end coincided with the Covid pandemic that compounded the problem and restricted the efforts to save the venue from its inevitable fate with its future still uncertain but that will not involve bowling in any form.

The green and its infrastructure all sit on land adjacent to, and owned by, the Waterloo public house. The long-term lease was expiring and the club's management committee was keen to secure the venue for bowling in the future. Two of the stands had been condemned on health and safety as well as comfort grounds.

The committee were all geared up to fund and produce replacement stands as well as other ground improvements. An online appeal had realised £75,000 in donations. To progress things they needed to be assured that any such investment would secure the long term future of the venue. It was in no-ones interest to invest money for a restricted timescale.

The landlord was only prepared to enter into a 10-year lease agreement that would never allow the club to recover its investment. Despite protracted efforts, no progress was made and last year the committee accepted their inevitable fate and withdrew from negotiations. The future use of the venue by the landlord is not known with no plans made public to date.

Attention now switched to finding an alternative green to take over the role of all the well-revered competitions that are such a focus of crown green bowling which help enormously to raise the profile of our sport. Agreement has now been reached with Fleetwood Bowling Club, just down the road from the former home, to take over these competitions and improve the club and facilities to provide a venue worthy of the history and standing of these competitions. Plans are well advanced to build two new stands around the green and at least one of those is expected to be open and in use for the summer programme of competitions.

Below are photographs of the old venue at Blackpool in its heyday and more recent ones of its current abandoned fate.

Tomorrow we continue the story by looking at the new home of crown green bowling, the Fleetwood Bowling Club.

The Old Waterloo in it's heyday

The Old Waterloo current state

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Martin Holt
Martin Holt
Feb 19, 2022

IMHO the BCGBA had the opportunity to purchase it many years ago . At the time the governing body was awash with funds but the "blazers" didn't have the long term vision to make it their headquarters. Instead funds have gone wherever and the BCGBA showpiece bowling events are now going to be held in a public park in Manchester. At least some of the "blazers" will still have somewhere to go for their freebies.


Feb 19, 2022

Great shame about the Waterloo but it was inevitable that one day it would need a lot of money spending on it just to maintain it.

But there is a winner out of this - Fleetwood Bowling Club which will have much improved facilities and the opportunity to be the new home of the top bowling competitions.

Philip of Lindley

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