Denham Bowls Club was founded in 1922, following the donation of 4 acres of land off Cheapside Lane by local resident Colonel Way and £300 by the widow of Captain Tillard, killed in World War I, for work to develop the land and a pavilion in memory of her husband. The green originally had two rinks and no ditches.
Retired Police Sergeant Edmund Greig was a founder member, commemorated with a plaque in the clubhouse.
Early decisions taken by the committee were that annual subs should be 5/- and six pairs of galoshes should be purchased for members to wear on the green.
The committee met in the Falcon Public House in Denham village. Later meetings had to be moved to the village hall, much less popular with committee members due to its lack of liquid refreshment.
The club’s first match was against Uxbridge Bowls Club but the result has been lost in the mists of time.
Did the club start with a win? Alas, we’ll probably never know. Early problems, which sound familiar, included worms on the green and cricket balls hit with force sailing over the fence from the adjoining pitch.
A Ladies section was formed in 1934. Their greatest successes came when they won the County singles and pairs in 1959; in particular, when they made a remarkable clean sweep of competitions in the Bucks Championship in 1962; and when some of the Denham Ladies, including present members, were presented to the Queen in 1997.
More recent achievements include successes when lady members were playing for the County in 2008 (individual winner of the BCWBA Champion of Champions); in 2010 (Ladies Counties pairs runners-up); and in 2011 (Ladies Counties pairs winners).
Men from the club had noteworthy successes in 1937 when they reached the pairs semi-final of the English Bowls Association championship; when they won the Bucks Cup for the first time in 1982, and again in 1983, 1991, 1995 and 1996.
Other successes on the men’s side include winning the Bucks County plate twice, once in its inaugural year 2007 and again in 2014.
During World War II, it was decided that, as it was wartime, at the annual dinner and dance, only sausage rolls and pasties should be provided rather than a full meal. However, it was agreed that wine and spirits should continue to be provided by the club for the president’s table.
Members of HM Forces were allowed entry at 1/- less than other members. In 1943, the club was allowed to sell alcohol in the clubhouse. A pint of bitter was 1 shilling & 4 pence (7p) and a gin and tonic was 2 shillings & 3 pence (11p).
In August 1952, a new six-rink green and pavilion were opened, and in 1972, the club’s 50th anniversary was celebrated. In 1996, tour matches abroad began with a trip to Spain.
Nowadays, Denham is a warm, friendly club, whose members are keen to maintain and build on the traditions, successes and achievements of the club’s past.
The Secretary writing in his report in 1983 summed it up best: “Denham is a wonderful club, it cannot be denied. We have hiccups now and then; that’s life, but it is how we overcome them that is important. It is the interests of the club that must take precedence if we are truly to be club members and not just members of the club”.