In August 1892, a group of local residents who regularly played unbiased bowls in Lochee Park agreed to form a Bowling Club. The Town Council were approached for a suitable part of Lochee Park but were unwilling to assist. On the 6th February 1893 the players agreed to lease a site in Ancrum Road for the princely sum of One Pound Sterling per annum and the Ancrum Road Bowling Club was formed. The membership fee for the inaugural season was Five Shillings. Three years later, the former Dundee Lord Provost Hunter presented a new Cup for games between local clubs and Ancrum Road Bowling Club was one of the original contestants. In 1898, a new Bowl House measuring 10 feet by 8 feet was built at a cost of £12.
By 1901, the search was on for a new and larger green and in 1902 the lease was signed for the present site in Muirton Road. To finance the new green, a grand prize draw was organised, and among the many prizes donated was a pony which was later exhibited in the High Street, Lochee, and at the Cattle Market in Dundee. One hundred and forty pounds was raised and together with donations and subscriptions the Green and Bowling House costing £500 was opened by Mr. D.M. Brown on the 14th May 1903, totally free from debt. The new green was renamed Lochee Bowling Club. The following year, the club became affiliated to the Scottish Bowling Association. However, even the most progressive of clubs sometimes stumbles, and a proposal to install Gas Lighting was rejected giving a new meaning to the phrase Lochee Nae Lichts !
In 1911, the club saw some major success with the winning of the Hunter Cup for the first time and the introduction of the Wapinshaw on Tuesday evenings. Wapinshaws in these early days were played to an entirely different format with teams of 6 players entered for a competition lasting 6 to 8 weeks. Each week a draw for rink and position was made and the results tabulated in league form.
Entry fees were charged each week and prizes presented to the league winners. It was at this time that Lochee made the wearing of rubber soles compulsory for all bowlers. The following year brought the club continued success winning the Three Counties tournament by the record margin of 69 shots. In the same year, it was agreed that club competitions be charged as follows: 1st Round free; 2nd Round 6d; 3rd Round 9d; 4th Round 1/-; and 5th Round 1/3d. During the First World War (1914-1918) no inter-club matches were played but matches were held to raise funds for the war effort. Following resumption of inter-club competitions Lochee won the Guthrie Cup in 1919.
During the 1920s, the club again tasted success by winning the Hunter Cup in 1921, the Hunter & Guthrie Cups in 1925 and Lochee President Bailie Neave played in an International match at Croydon. In 1927, Lochee Bowling Club was one of the first to join a new association of Bowling clubs in Dundee to arrange the competition for the Findlay/Leslie Charity Cup, and in the following year the Rotary Charity game was inaugurated.
The next decade produced successes in the Guthrie cup in 1931, the Findlay/Leslie in 1935 and the Patterson Shield in 1938. The Bowling House was extended twice and the club was financially secure towards the end of the decade before Second World War (WWII) began. Once again Lochee set out to raise money for the war effort and were so enthusiastic that they received a letter protesting against them serving teas after matches. Lochee apologised and restricted hospitality during the rationing period. The year 1943 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Club but it was agreed to postpone any celebration until after the end of hostilities. September 1945 not only saw the end of the war but also the purchase of the Lochee Green from the owners for a sum of £200. A year later negotiations began with the Railway company to purchase ground to build a new clubhouse. Unfortunately, the first application was turned down and it was not until 1953 and the Diamond Jubilee Year that the new clubhouse was built.
Among other notable successes in post war years were the Guthrie Cup in 1947 and 1953, the Patterson shield in 1953 and, for four successive years, Lochee reached the final of the Hunter Cup being successful in 1950, 1952 and 1953. All in all, the 60th Jubilee was something to celebrate for the club and if the 6th June 1944 was D-Day, then the 3rd June 1957 was definitely L-Day with the club welcoming the ladies section. Ladies for the first time were accepted as members and entitled to play on the green. The following year, Harry Smith was selected for an International trial game and the first annual match against Abergeldie was played. In 1959 Lochee won both the Guthrie Cup and the Kellachy pairs.
Success in the 60’s included the Hunter Cup in 1963 and the Barclay Cup in1965. Significant changes were afoot however and in 1965 a proposal to allow play on Sundays was thwarted. Sunday was preserved as a day of rest for the green as well as the players. Yet, the decision was reversed in 1967, apparently the green no longer needed a day of rest ! In 1966, member Dave Petrie was nominated for an International trial following his success in winning the Patterson shield. The end of the 60’s and the start of the seventies saw two triple successes. Hector Wallace won the Angus Singles on three consecutive years in 1969, 1970 and 1971, and in the same years Lochee pairs completed a hat-trick in the Henderson Trophy. 1974 saw a Lochee rink win through to Queens Park and in 1975 the Findlay Leslie Trophy was again brought home. However, amid all the successes, there was a serious incident when some of our oldest trophies were stolen while being sent for engraving in 1974. Although the engraver replaced all the trophies, unique and valuable history was clearly lost. Success continued with the Angus singles, the Angus Fours and the Guthrie Cup in 1976, and 1978 was declared a vintage year with the club collecting no fewer than 6 trophies, including, The Angus Triples; The Angus Fours; The Ferguson Singles, The Barclay Cup, The Grouse Trophy, and the Broughty Pairs. The first Burma Star game was also played in 1980 and in the same year Lochee provided both finalists for the Hunter Cup.
Throughout the early 80’s success continued with the Kellachy Cup; The Guthrie Cup; and The Grouse Trophy in 1981, The Thomson Trophy and Ferguson Singles in 1983 and the City of Dundee Triples, together with the Guthrie Cup in 1984. Lochee Ladies celebrated their Silver Jubilee in 1982 and on the 19th May 1984 Lochee presented a plaque to Abergeldie to commemorate 25 years of friendly rivalry. The Findlay/Leslie Trophy came to Lochee in 1985 as did the Barclay Cup in 1986. In 1988 two of our club stalwarts, Jim Alexander and Willie Clark, fought their way to Queens Park.
Moving into the 90’s and the club was looking forward to celebrating its Centenary Year in 1993, and to round of a remarkable century we had our youngest ever club champion in 28-year-old Jim O’Connor. 1993 marked our Centenary Year and preparation for this had started several years earlier where a subcommittee was elected to oversee the organising of additional fixtures on ‘Special Mondays’ against all the local clubs, purchase of mementos for all participating bowlers and also carry out club refurbishment and maintenance to enable a memorable visitor experience. Our President for the Centenary Year was Jim Kidd. Jim was very honoured to be elected and several former presidents were also honoured with being Captains for the day in each of the additional games being played. The additional matches proved a great success, were greatly appreciated by all participants and this helped to maintain and improve our bond and friendships with other bowling clubs across the country. Members celebrated the occasion with a Centenary Dance at the Enverdale Hotel in Cupar Angus, a night thoroughly enjoyed by all. Although there was no significant success in external competitions during the Centenary Year, the club did establish our 2 Bowl Pairs Open Competition, which was won by Lochee Bowling Club members Willie Milne and Willie Martin. However, we continued our winning ways the following year 1994 with the Thomson Trophy and the Millar Triples in 1995. Also in1995, we inaugurated new trophies, donated by two of our members for friendly fixtures, The Alex Nicoll Trophy for an indoor match Abergeldie and the Jock Flight Trophy for a fixture with Dunfermline Bowling Club. 1995 saw our 2 Bowl Open Pairs receive sponsorship and in 1996 the club won the City of Dundee Seniors Rinks, The Finlay Leslie and The Millar Triples.
The club was also honoured with the election of George Black as the President of the Angus Bowling Association. This year also saw the club finally decide, after years of deliberation, to expand the premises again with the provision of new locker rooms. The club approached the council with the purpose of obtaining the small strip of land to the north of the club but this proved too expensive so it was decided to purchase the land adjacent to the club house and to extend the building and utilise our existing cellar to provide the necessary locker spaces. Architects and Contractors were sought along with the necessary funding and work on the new lockers commenced in 1997 and completed by 1998. During 1997, success on the green continued in the Angus Fours and the winning of the Angus League. The club was also honoured with the election of Alex Smith as the President of the City of Dundee Bowling Association and also his selection of Honorary President of the Dundee Indoor Bowling Association. That year also saw the rink of Ian G. Smith, Bruce Longmuir, Willie McIntosh and Willie Meachan representing the club in the Scottish Fours at Ayr. In 1998, our committee were made aware that two of our bowlers, Ron Forrester and Dave Petrie, had attained the momentous achievement of reaching more than 50 years as members of Lochee Bowling Club. In recognition of their continuous loyalty, contributions and ‘service’ to the club it was decided to have a Special 50 Years of Service Medal commissioned and presented to them at our Annual General Meeting. We finished off the decade with success again in the Millar Triples.
At the start of the new Millennium plans were afoot again to further improve our club house facilities and hopefully continue on our winning ways. However, the first decade of the 21st Century turned out to be pretty lean on the external competition front with only 2001 being notable with wins in the Angus Fours and the City of Dundee Senior Singles. Not until 2007 was the club back to winning ways and our bowlers dominated the City of Dundee finals that year with victories in the Triples, Rinks and Singles Champion of Champions. In 2009, we were delighted to celebrate 50 years of fixtures with our Aberdeen friends Abergeldie Bowling Club. The fixture coincided with their visit to Lochee and so a great day was had by all.
The start of a new decade saw us have more city competition success with winning the City of Dundee Senior Triples. 2012 saw another significant achievement when, after a number of years languishing in the bottom division of the Angus League due to the re-organisation of the league in 2004, we finally gained promotion to the Angus League Division 3. That same year Bobby Clark was elected President of the City of Dundee Bowling Association. Also, we could finally say we were entering the 21st Century with the setting up of a website which enabled our members and friends to keep up to date with the progress of the club. We also decided to upgrade our club facilities once more with improvements all managed by our own club members. Over the next few years, success continued to come our way with the Kellachy Cup and City of Dundee Pairs in 2013, the City of Dundee Triples in 2014 and 2015. 2016 became another memorable year when were again victorious in the Hunter Cup. This year also saw Bob Taylor become elected President of the Ex-Presidents Association. As we approach our 125th year (2018) we again had a momentous year in 2017. Our Ladies Section celebrated their 60th anniversary year and, after many years of deliberation they finally agreed to accept full membership of Lochee Bowling Club. We have now joined the ranks of many of the local clubs and look forward to many years of continued success with our ladies being involved in all aspects of our club.
To finish off this short history a mention to an achievement gained by member Willie Milne who again won our 2017 club championship for a record 10th time. Willie was also club champion in our Centenary year 1993. Looking forward to our next milestone year we are again engaging in some major refurbishment to improve our facilities for all our members, friends and visitors. As we approach a new page in our history we can look back over the past One Hundred and Twenty-Five Years with admiration and pride and we owe our predecessors a debt of gratitude and we have much to live up to, and while there is insufficient space to detail every trophy won or honour bestowed, it is possible to savour slices of our history and record some of the more momentous events but with commitment, dedication and a will to win we can ensure that our successors in future years can also look back on our achievements with an equal degree of respect.