Follow the brown signs
Gosh, I never knew that!
Bowling is enjoyed by more than 100 million people worldwide, making it the second most commonly played sport after football.
A little bit of history
The earliest known record of bowling are some rudimentry bowling balls and pins in an Egyptian boy’s grave dating back to 3500BC. It was clearly popular throughout the ages, so much so that King Henry VIII banned all but the upper classes from engaging in it because workers were neglecting their trades in favour of going bowling (I think we all know that feeling). Tenpin bowling as we know it was introduced in the UK in 1960 when Henry Cooper and other notable celebrities of the day, including Edmund Hillary, Everest mountaineer, bowled a golden ball in Britain’s only bowling alley in Stamford Hill, London. Watch the British Pathe news reel filmed just after opening here. The sport enjoyed it’s peak in popularity in the mid 1960s when alleys opened up all over Britain at an alarming rate, following the trend set in America around the same time. But the boom days of bowling were short lived and by the mid 1970s popularity had waned, leaving many alleys to close or fall into states of disrepair, often being turned into alternative entertainment venues like bingo halls instead. Today bowling is making a bit of a come back and there are now around 200 bowling alleys in the UK, often in big complexes on the outskirts of town which offer multiple amusements, so a few games can easily turn into a whole days entertainment. There is also trend for smaller highly themed alleys which offer a more intimate and civilised game if one so desires.
What the experts say
“Countless people try their hand at Tenpin Bowling each year and to most of them the physical act of rolling a bowling ball is fun and relaxing. Most people then progress to joining a league, where it is possible to win trophies and awards” according to the British Tenpin Bowling Association.
Organisations, official bodies and great links to places where you can find out more
www.tenpin.co.uk – Details for their 40 or so bowling alleys all over the UK
www.btba.org.uk – The British Tenpin Bowling Association – Officially the last word on tenpin bowling
www.talkbowling.co.uk – A friendly community of bowlers, a comprehensive website with forum, blog, histories and links (and possibly best favicon I’ve ever seen)
www.uktenpin.com – The home of UK bowling with news, forums, event, league and centre information galore