BAINFIELD

 BOWLING & SOCIAL CLUB

President: Cathie Falconer

Who lit the fuse? almost like a rocket, this man took on the role of President and did so for seven consecutive years, with the exception of six months in his fourth year when, through illness, he had to give up the presidency. In stepped another stalwart, JIM. MAITLAND, Snr., who prior to assisting in this case, had already been President for twenty years from 1930-50. The good work carried on and six months later, Willie Lees resumed his role as President and did so for a further three years.


Who says a President's job is an easy one? An old saying I am losing my hair, it must be worry' was very true. Willie's illness was just that, a form of alopecia. On doctor's orders, he gave up all his work at the Club. Lo and behold, his hair grew back. Most men would have been thankful for this but not Willie. He came back and helped the Club for another three years as President


During the time Willie Lees was President, the plans for a new clubhouse were drawn up, a loan was obtained and the first brick was laid. The new clubhouse was opened by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. What an achievement by any President, not alone, others helped, but he must have been an inspiration. From a rebel member to President and now a well respected Honorary Member. (The rebel still lurks within!!)


In 1958, instead of the idle talk, preparations were underway for a new clubhouse with indoor bowling rinks. Plans were now being drawn up by an architect from the Liberton area of Edinburgh. For almost eleven months, Willie Lees and Treasurer, Willie Thompson, travelled by tram every Monday evening for meetings with the architect. Plans were scrutinised, minor changes made and after one year, the plans were ready.


Although now the plans were ready, not enough funds were available to construct such an elaborate clubhouse. A loan was necessary and the Town Council's Finance Committee was requested to assist. A Meeting was set up for this purpose. At first, the Council was not prepared to give much assistance. Their offer of financial assistance was not enough. Despondent, but not beaten,


Willie Lees and fellow members persuaded the Council to improve the offer. Pound for pound was the agreement, for every pound the Club put in the Council would match it The project was on, but money had to be raised. The more Bainfield could raise, the more the Council would provide. Once again, voluntary labour was required but this was not to be another wooden hut This was a new brick building with intricate foundations, elaborate bars, halls, toilets, changing rooms and three indoor bowling rinks. It was obvious that the members could not do all the work. Specialists were needed especially for the foundations and steelworks.


Members rallied, tradesmen used their skills and those who were not tradesmen laboured by digging ditches, carrying bricks, moving rubbish. All worked together and achieved their goal. A MODERN CLUBHOUSE with INDOOR BOWLS.


The old clubhouse was in constant use until the new Club was ready. They built over it and round it. They had to, how else could money be made? If it had been demolished, where would the Bingo be held, Whist Drives, Dances and any other function where money could be raised. The OLD was needed to fund the NEW. Even after dismantling, the old hut was sold for £60 the price it was originally bought for.


In July 1964, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh officially opened the new Bainfield Bowling and Social Club. Imagine the members on that day, they must have been very proud, who wouldn't be a marvellous achievement by any standards.


The new clubhouse consisted of a lower floor with a Male Members only Lounge and bar, a Television Room and Lounge, Ladies and Gents toilets with a two-rink Indoor Bowling Stadium being the main area On the floor above was a single rink for Indoor Bowling and a Beer Cellar. On the next level, toilets and locker rooms. The top floor had a large function hall, kitchen facilities and a Members Lounge overlooking the Outdoor Bowling Green. The estimated end cost was reported as over £20,000 (This figure was reduced considerably by the members direct labour on sections of the work.


For a few years, members enjoyed the facilities they had worked so hard to build and indeed so did other Clubs in the west of Edinburgh. But alas, once again, some were unhappy. They wanted involved with other Clubs, Scottish League games, National competitions; to be part of Scottish Indoor Bowling was the answer but the existing rinks were not of standard size and, therefore, entry into the Association was not possible.


The members were not deterred by this. Thoughts turned to bigger rinks, even more rinks. Plans were once again being drawn up, loans obtained; and after the go-ahead from the members, work commenced, not to alter the existing but to construct A NEW 6-RINK INDOOR BOWLING STADIUM. The shell remained but that's about all. Existing rinks became the Function Halls and a Games Rooms. The outdoor green had to be lifted to make way for the new stadium. New greens were laid on unused ground to the West of the Clubhouse. Some members must have wondered if it was worthwhile, but without the foresight of a few men, a lot of bowlers would not be enjoying the game of indoor bowling.


The Club at present is as most members know it, a 6-rink indoor bowling stadium with outdoor bowling facilities, function halls, games rooms and board room. Few remember the hard work it took over many years to achieve such a large clubhouse. It was not built by the wave of a magic wand but by the voluntary labour of devoted members working long and hard hours-TOGETHER.


It would be totally wrong for anyone to write about Bainfield history without a special mention to the Ladies of Bainfield, not just to Lady Members but to members wives as well. Without the tolerance and understanding of our ladies throughout the years, I doubt very much if Bainfield would be what it is today.


From the original wooden hut to the present stadium, our ladies have worked just as hard as the men, and are a part of Bainfield with whom we could not have done without. Bainfield Ladies have a strong bowling section as they have proved throughout the years and have produced some marvellous lady bowlers. They have represented the Club by playing for Scotland, both indoor and outdoor, and have won many national and local honours for the Club. Long may it continue. Ladies have always been a part of Bainfield and I would say an asset second to none.

History continued…….

TOAST TO THE OLD HUT: -

Lift up your glasses and see that they're fu'

And we'll drink to the old hall that's been so staunch and true,

To the old hall we say with a tear in our eye,

You've been a good pal to us in the days gone by.

To part with you now fills us full of regret,

But we shall always remember, we shall never forget,

But time marches on, for you it's the end,

So it's goodbye from us to an old faithful friend.

TOAST TO THE CLUB:

Sit back in your seats and cock your lug,

And we'll gie a wee toast to the Bainfield Club.

Fifty years, it seems like a dream,

Since we started bowling on the Harrison Green,

It's been a long hard road, but the battle has been won,

A place of our own which is second to none.

The casualty list, there's been quite a few,

All good lads, all true blue,

And so to the present and our celebrations,

To our club officials, congratulations.

So here's to the future, and here's to the past,

Keep the flag flying at the top of the mast,

So here's our best wishes from all of us here,

Many happy returns to our 50th year.


Written and proposed by Wm. Mc KAY, Founder Member

In 1974, Bainfield celebrated its 50th Anniversary. For this occasion, Willie McKay, a Founder Member, was asked to compose something special. This he did, Willie wrote for 3 Toasts and titled them, ‘The Jubilee Toasts 1973 - 1974’ one for the Opening in 1964, one for the clubhouse and one of the Club itself.

Read More