Taunton Bowling Club was formally established at a Public Meeting held at the Star Coffee Tavern on 18th October 1905. At the meeting, Mr James Black was appointed Chairman, Mr Allan as Hon Secretary and M J Black as Hon Treasurer.
Bowling first took place at the Somerset County Cricket Club at an annual rent of £10, the green being maintained by the Cricket Club at the expense of the Bowling Club. In 1907, the Club erected a Pavilion at a cost of £8. 10s. 0d and the following year, a further £15 was spent on alterations including provision of a shed with wash-ups, tables, chairs, cutlery etc.
In 1912 the Club had to vacate the green at the County Cricket Club. An application was then made to the Taunton Town Council for the lease of land so that a green could be constructed and established. The Town Council agreed to lease part of Vivary Lands and it was then that the Taunton Bowling Club Ltd (“the Company”) was formed of members who purchased shares to obtain the finances necessary to establish the green and to enter into a lease of the land with the Town Council. This work was completed in December 1912, the turf laid and the green formally opened by the Mayor and Chief Magistrate of Taunton Town Council on 5th June 1913.
The Club continued to flourish between the two World Wars whilst there was little major development of Club premises. One significant development in 1930 was the admission of ladies to playing membership of the Club: the first bowling club in Taunton to admit ladies.
The present Club colours were introduced in 1952. The central motif of a new Club badge was a chestnut tree. The light blue colour was established as early as 1908 when dark blue blazers with light blue cording were adopted. The Club badge was altered in 1961 when it was agreed that the badge should show the Taunton crest of arms on a shield with our Club colours being the background. The Town motto ‘Defendamus’ (we defend) is included around the crest with the Club’s name.
In 1961 there was an urgent need to replace the accommodation, building proposals were submitted to Taunton Deane Borough Council to provide a Pavilion with a larger capacity including an indoor bowling rink. With the problem of not being able to borrow money on a non-freehold property, the indoor bowling green had to be abandoned. However, the building of the new Pavilion proceeded.
During the early 1980s the Hon Secretary was given an individual mandate to pursue indoor bowling at the Club and late in September 1984 indoor bowling commenced. The funding of the project was provided by our members, grants and loans from Taunton Deane Borough Council.
Formal planning approval for the redevelopment of the Clubhouse was received late in 1990 and the new Clubhouse was officially opened on 13th July 1991.
The next new development was in 2003: The boundaries of the outdoor green were previously hedged and these have been replaced by brick walling and decorative fencing with flower borders. A new maintenance building was also built, in brick and tile to match the rest of the buildings. This was essential as volunteer members carry out all maintenance to the Club and the outdoor green.
In 2006, Vivary park and Wilton lands were flooded and the indoor hall was awash. This necessitated a new indoor carpet and a great deal of work by our members.
2012 saw a new front entrance erected with the addition of a door through to the indoor hall, providing level access for wheelchair users. A new toilet for the disabled was included and an electric wheelchair lift was installed. This ensured wheelchair users could independently access the whole of the club both indoors and outdoors.
Later in 2012 another major flood in the park resulted in the indoor green again being under water. Members once again rallied around to get the indoor green up and running again as quick as possible. Following this, the club invested in a number of flood defences with removable doors etc.
January 2016 saw the most devastating event in the clubs history, a serious fire starting in the dining room caused enormous damage to the dining room, bar, kitchen and the disruption of the water, gas, electricity and telephone services. The clubhouse roof was destroyed and members were confined to the lounge area for safety. This lasted for 10 months before the new roof was completed and the rest of the club deemed safe to enter. Despite all of this, thanks to members tirelessly working, the club managed to function and the time closed was as minimal as possible.
In 2018, a veranda was constructed spanning virtually the whole length of the clubhouse to provide shelter for both players and supporters.
In 2020-21, Covid-19 inevitably meant our doors were closed for lockdowns, but bowlers are coming back and the club is alive again. And we have welcomed a record number of new members in this year.
In 2021, we introduced Rink Diary, an online booking system for the indoor rinks.
The Club is very proud of its achievements over the years and continues to prosper.