The Rosemount Story

The following information is taken from the 1971 Golden Jubilee Brochure & covers the Clubs first Fifty Years. (Research is ongoing but i fear many of the records may have been lost).

WHY "ROSEMOUNT". The reason for the choice of the Club's name cannot be precisely determined. It was thought that it was the name of the house owned or occupied by one of the founder members, but extensive research has failed to confirm this. What is known, however. is that the name "The Rosemount Bowling Club" was adopted at the inaugural meeting on the proposal of Mr T.C.Hills, seconded by Mr. Inkpen. The addition of "Hastings" to the title was made in 1950, it was considered at the time that it would create additional publicity for the town. The committee minutes recording of this decision states that "discussion brought no dissentient voice"!

HOW IT ALL BEGAN. On 14th June 1921 the Rosemount Bowling Club was formed. The inaugural meeting was held at Gordon House, Carlisle Villas, at the invitation of Mr F.A.M.Cooper. Under the Chairmanship of Mr. (later Councillor) C.S.Littlewood, the 22 prospective members present agreed unanimously to form a new Club and elected the first officers; F.A.M. Cooper as Club Captain and C.S. Littlewood as Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.

Lord Eustace Percy, M.P. for Hastings, was invited to become President and Mr. (later Sir Alfred) Dyer, Vice-President. Both these gentlemen accepted and they continued in office until Lord Eustace left the constituency in 1937, when Sir Alfred became the Club's second President, which office he retained until his death in 1948. Since then, up until 1971 the Club had seven Presidents and was very fortunate to have had men of such callibre to guide the Club through it's first 50 years.

THE FIRST MATCH. The Officers wasted no time in getting to work. The first match between teams representing the Captain and the Secretary was played on 22nd June 1921. Just eight days after Foundation and it ended in a tie! 60 - 60. This would surely be a good omen of the comradeship which became typical of the Club and remains so to this day.

THE FIRST SEASON. According to the results published in the "Observer" during 1921, as listed below, the Club could not have had a more successful initial season in their games against other clubs. Seven wins and a tie from eight matches.

Rosemount 71 v Alexandra 34 Rosemount 64 v Clive Vale & Ore 46

Rosemount 77 v Spartans 52 Rosemount 68 v St Leonards 45

Rosemount 65 v Tenterden 65 Rosemount 75 v St Leonards 44

Rosemount 83 v St Leonards 67 Rosemount 96 v Temporary Members 56

The fact that there were sufficient temporary members to muster a team is clear indication of one of Rosemount's roles of the time -- the entertainment of holiday visitors on the bowling greens.

THE MEMBERS. The initial membership of 22 increased rapidly. By the time of the first match the number had risen to 37 and by the close of the 1921 season had reached 48. Rosemount continued to thrive and by 1926 the membership topped the 100 mark, thus doubling the membership in five years, while by 1931 the total of 154 had more than trebled the first seasons figures. The War Years inevitably saw a drop in numbers, but a few die-hards carried on despite interruption from the air. After the War the previous level was soon restored.

FRIENDLY RIVALS: OLD AND NEW. From the modest beginning of 1921, the Club's match list expanded steadily. As well as the regular encounters with our immediate neighbours, the local clubs and those from nearby towns, Rosemount teams had visited and been visited by opponents from such towns as Ashford, Canterbury, Epsom, Horsham, London, Rochester, Sevenoaks, Sheerness, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, and Wimbledon, in the first 25 seasons of friendly rivalry, as well as meeting E.B.A. teams, County teams and many touring sides including the South African Tourists in 1939.

Over the years some contacts have inevitably been lost, but others have been made to take their place in the annual match programme. More than half of the clubs that appeared in the 1946 fixture list will again be opponents during the coming summer (1971). It could be said that all the encounters that we have had over the previous years on the bowling greens have and continue to have forged lasting links of match rivalry and lasting friendship.

BALLOTS. In 1933 one of the happiest features of the Club's life was instituted, namely the Ballot Games (sadly no longer existing in the present day). In these thrice-weekly gatherings any member could be sure of a game simply by putting his name on the ballot list. Partners and Rinks were determined by the drawing of numbered discs and the uncertainty of the draw added extra excitement and spice to the games. This scheme probably did more than anything else to promote good fellowship among the members and the holiday visitors who were made welcome as temporary members for these organised meetings (again sadly no more).

HONOURS. The Club has happily been free from an exaggerated emphasis on individual brilliance or "pot hunting" at the expense of loyalty to Club Commitments, but the Club has great pride in all its members that have achieved successes in Tournament, Competition and the Administrative side of the game. (To numerous to mention without further research).

THE HOME GREENS. No account of the Club would be complete without some reference to the Home Greens at White Rock Gardens. This venue was not the birth place of bowls in Hastings. Other clubs were in existence, and still are, in other parts of the town, the Alexandra Club having the honour of seniority among existing clubs in Hastings.

The first greens were laid down in White Rock Gardens in 1916, in which year the White Rock Club became established there. From the outset, the success of the new venture must have been evident and expansion was soon planned. A note by "Vigilant" in the "Observer" issue for 18th June 1921, referring to the formation of Rosemount states that "a second club should prove an advantage all round, particularly when the third green is ready for use, which will not be before the Tournament, late in August".

Further expansion of the Bowls Facilities was progressive culminating in 8 Greens being laid with a total of 48 Rinks in a glorious and picturesque setting on the cliffs overlooking the sea, and has helped to make the town one of the leading Bowls Centres in the country. Unfortunately of the 8 Greens & 48 Rinks that were laid, there are now only 4 Greens with 24 Rinks still in use today.

However we still go on and even though membership has depleted somewhat from its heyday's Rosemount Bowls Club is proud to have been associated with White Rock Gardens in Hastings for over 90 Years, lets hope we can make the 100.

The Club still has a good relationship with other clubs old and new in our fixture list as well as being able to re-enter back into the County fold. We also welcome anyone that would like to come along and join us no matter of age or gender.

THE LATEST CHAPTER. (17/01/2021). Well its been 10 years since I added this page to the website and I can safely say that even though we have had some ups and downs, minor hiccups etc. we are still soldiering on and still here.

We made it: 100 YEARS OLD