Mayor bowled over at Market Drayton club's 140th anniversary shindig

Market Drayton 's mayor was so impressed with an historic local bowling club that he paid for his membership on the spot.

Mayor Mark Whittle and his wife, mayoress Melanie, with club members
Mayor Mark Whittle and his wife, mayoress Melanie, with club members

Councillor Mark Whittle ended up spending four hours at Market Drayton Bowling Club's 140th anniversary get together on Sunday.

"It was full of people of all ages," he said. "As well as people in their 50s, 60s and 70s there were people in their 30s and 40s and children too.

"It's actually quite fun to play and I paid my membership fee on the spot. I was thinking this is really, really good. It was a very English summer's day.

"I was top scorer for a while, but only because I played first!"

Mayor Mark Whittle at the bowling club

The mayor, a former military man who now drives ambulances, added that he found it flattering to be able to represent the town at civic events. He's already attended nearly 30 engagements since he took up his second stint as mayor in May.

He added: "Like all clubs they need more members and I would say go down and try it out. It's right next to the Joule's brewery in Great Hales Street, so right in the middle of town."

Joule's Market Drayton Bowling Club is one of the oldest clubs in Shropshire. The club first played on the existing site in 1890, but can however, be traced back as far as the early 1800s.

As far as the club knows it existed before 1830, as the green is shown on the 1830 tithe map.

At that time it was located at the top of Church Street, roughly where the British Legion and St Mary's car park are now.

The public were invited along to have a go

In the late 1880s the owner of the land, Sir Corbet Corbet, Lord of the Manor of Market Drayton, required it for other purposes and offered the club the use of the present site.

Sir Corbet also owned the Corbet Arms and much of the adjoining land. The site was once the vegetable garden for the Corbet Arms Hotel.

A large heated greenhouse once occupied the whole length of the side where the clubhouse is now located. The club used the green from 1890 and since then it has been in continual use with the exception of the two World Wars.

The public were invited along to have a go

To find out more about Joule's Market Drayton Bowling Club contact chairman Martin Moore at chairman.joulesmdbc@gmail.com or secretary Helen Swire at secretary.joulesmdbc@gmail.comsecretary

Match days are on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday evenings from 7pm, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 2pm (there are home and away games so there may not be a team at home). The playing season is from early April to the end of September.

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