We know Carnon Downs Bowling Club came into existence in 1928 because a badge exists showing that date but between then and 1949 is something of a mystery, because no minutes exist. We know that the land was originally owned by a Mr John Mitchell, who also owned a wheelwrights shop that became the garage and is now the nursery. A group of enthusiasts decided to bowl and cut a strip, levelled it and then mowed it by hand. Included amongst them was Fred Sladdin who bought the field in 1933. Fred died in 1954, leaving the land to his wife, who married Wilfred Beeson in 1955. Mrs Beeson leased the land to the bowling club in 1970, for a 28 year term at £12 per annum! However Mrs Beeson was also the club President and every year returned the rent to the club. The original club trustees were Harry Davey, George Knight and Michael Allen. In 1974 Mr Beeson inherited on the death of his wife and a year later passed the land onto a relative, Mr J Denham as a gift. The club bought the land in 1984 from Mr Denham for £1250. During WW2 the land was used by the Home Guard for training purposes, which conjures up some lovely images of some fairly relaxed target practice with bowls on a summer’s evening, followed by a few “upside down” cakes.
There is much detail of the years since until the present day in a history written by Cecil Howells which can be found in the clubhouse. It makes interesting reading and speaks of much devotion to the club over those years from a huge number of people, but is too long to reproduce in full here. There were members called “Allen” “Lawer” and “Langdon” playing important roles for us decades ago, and there still are today. Phil Trevena served as served as ladies captain in 1982, 83 and 96, ladies secretary from 84 to 88 and is still on our executive committee. There are many other names listed in the history above. Do read it to see if your relatives are also part of our long history. The long list of those who have represented Cornwall, or won Cornish championships are to be found there too. Arguably though our proudest achievement was when the club four, Charlie Gay, Bill Lawer, Dave Perrin and Tim Phillips won the English Bowling Association national championship in 2006. Charlie and Tim continue to play for the club.
The original “clubhouse” was a wooden building and in 1966 two buildings were erected to house Elson toilets. Where people “went” before then is probably best left to the imagination. The clubhouse was used to change, sometimes whilst the ladies were in the kitchen, until a hut was bought for the purpose. A wartime “Anderson” shelter was used to house the implements, although many of these were only of the hand variety. The new block built clubhouse was constructed in 1970/71 benefitting from District Council grants but with the costs halved by the enthusiastic use of voluntary labour by the members.
The clubhouse has been extended and improved over the years. When first built in 1972 it was said to be the best in Cornwall! The green has also seen much work and improvement over the years. A storage water tank was bought and an automatic sprinkler system introduced. New, modern and expensive green maintenance equipment was purchased, and, together with the devoted work of a series of greenkeepers and assistants, this has resulted in a green which by 1996 was “attracting compliments from many quarters.” The original 3 rinks were gradually added to, always through the voluntary efforts of the members, until we got to the 6 we have today. The current membership owe much to those who went before them.