Cadbury's Bowls Club

A short history

Tom Griffiths

Photo:The Clubhouse. This was the old school terrapin building which Cadburys helped to provide for the Bowls Club. It was demolished in 1986 to make way for a new brick built structure

The Clubhouse. This was the old school terrapin building which Cadburys helped to provide for the Bowls Club. It was demolished in 1986 to make way for a new brick built structure

Peter Harrison

The Cadbury family, being Quakers, had the health and welfare of their employees very much in mind and to this end they provided sports facilites in the form of a cricket pitch, hard tennis courts and a Bowls Club. Sadly, the only one remaining is the Bowls Club, Lakefield School is built on the cricket pitch and the tennis courts have slowly decayed and are now covered in brambles and weeds and are within the boundary of the Industrial Estate.
The earliest recollection concerning Cadburys bowls club was back in the late 1910's / early 1920's when  some Cadbury employees  used to go the home of  local dignitary  Basil Jones. He lived at the "Reddings" in Fretherne  and according to local reports they used to bowl on his front lawn.

Rumour has it that bowls was officially played for the first time in Frampton on the current site in 1922. During the 1930's Bert Davies took on the role as the groundsman for Cadbury's and part of his responsibilities was to look after the  miniature bowls green (30 yards square) which was pretty rough, not very level and hardly used.
A number of the Cadbury employees asked the management if the green could be brought up to standard size ( 4 rinks ) and Bert was given the task with Cadbury's supplying the labour and materials.
The men worked week-ends, rest days and evenings. Working during dark nights wasn't a problem as the electrician Bob Pamphillon fixed lights on poles.
The turf and top soil were removed, ashes were brought from the boiler house then rolled down flat for drainage , the ends were extended northwards, the top soil replaced, then levelled and finally the very best Cumberland grass seed was sown.
The green was inspected and passed fit to play  and a Mr Wilkins from Cam Bowls club helped get the club affiliated to the  Glos Bowling Association, and so started the Cadbury's Bowls Club.
A few years later a local councillor  informed the club that if they ever wanted to extend the green to 6 rinks now was the time as it was highly probable  that the council were going to build houses on the adjoining land. Cadbury's agreed  to the extension and once again the members / workers got to work on the green. In April 1957 the President of the Gloucestershire Bowling Association Mr W G Guy officially opened the extension which brought it to its current size of  6 rinks.

The facilities were poor, only a hut for the mower and  bowls  kit ( In those days Cadbury's supplied all that was required , shoes, bowls etc).

By now the club were playing friendly fixtures with neighbouring teams and Cadbury's were always a popular fixture not because of the green or facilities but because at the end of the game free hot chocolate or coffee was supplied ( the milk being brought across from the factory in a bucket and warmed up in the kitchen of the old Cadbury's Memorial Hall). As already mentioned the Cadbury family were Quakers and no alcohol was allowed on site. Another attraction for visiting bowlers was an "illegal substance" called "Nuggets of Chocolate crumb" supplied by the Cadbury factory. Even today some of our visitors still remember the "Nugget" days.

For away fixtures Cadbury's always supplied a coach and this was taken as an opportunity for members to stop off at some of the local pubs on the way home for the odd pint or three. Annual trips to other Cadbury sites mainly Bournville and Frys would be organised and the bowlers would play fellow Cadbury employees. The late Charlie and Lillian Longney ( who were both members ) still carried on organising trips to these sites although bowls was no longer a part of the day.

The club had no pavilion and after Saturday / Sunday afternoon games tea would be taken in Cadbury's Hall.

Boyd Dando who was landlord of the Bell Inn on Frampton Green became a member of the club and as time went on members and visitors drifted across to the Bell for a pint and ultimately after evening games Boyd would lay on a supper, consisting of cheese and those large cottage loaves.

By this time due to a shortage of bowlers ( shift work could play havoc with availability), non Cadbury  people were invited to play. Eric Gleed recalls the story of how he was leaning on the fence surrounding the green back in the 1950's (the cricket match he was supposed to playing in had been cancelled ) when he was asked to play for the Bowls club as the team were one short. He was still playing until he died  in 1998.

It was in 1982 Cadbury's sold the green to the members for a nominal fee providing it would always be a Bowls Club. It was at this time that the name of the club was altered to the Frampton on Severn Bowls Club. It was decided to start fund raising for a pavilion. Dances were put on, raffles were run along with the famous Guesser and Cadbury's donated £600.

A portable terrapin was bought from a site in South Wales and transported back by local haulage contractor M.C.Cullimore whose General Manager Peter Winfield is one of our  longest serving members. Members helped convert the terrapin  into a Clubhouse which was to remain in use until 1986.

This page was added by Peter Harrison on 20/03/2009.

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