*Historical* We take a look at the long and varied life of the wooden clubhouse in The Grove which is currently maintained and used by Carshalton Bowling Club. It’s also been used as a cricket pavilion, park cafe and possibly started life as stables.
Let’s take a look at its history.
The first map I’ve found that shows a building on this spot, is from 1910. It was not marked on the 1898 map. This was a U-shaped building, with a central courtyard.
The land had gone into council ownership in 1923, and this aerial photo from 1924 shows the central courtyard had been built over. You can see how it was situated next to farm and animal-related buildings.
Carshalton District Council were to make this area into a public park, and in the Book of Carshalton it states “In 1926 the cricket club moved to the Grove field in Carshalton, using the stable as a pavilion” – could they be referring to this building? There were stables nearer to Grove house, but was there enough room to play cricket, considering other sports were played there too? Could the outer fields provide a better playing area?
In this newly-formed council park, which catered for all types of popular outdoor activities, there was a bowling club. As of 1926, it was sited behind Grove house.
In 1928 Major C.P. Lovelock was elected as the first President. He retired through ill health in January 1929 and was replaced by E.C. Slade-Jones who remained in office for many years – and had his name on the board.
You can see on this 1934 map, that the area continued to be redeveloped. Next to what is believed to be the cricket pavilion was now a ‘putting green’, and you can see the bowling green marked bottom left.
This 1937 photo shows people enjoying bowls when it was played behind Grove house. In the background, you can just make out a grass tennis court, which is now the children’s playground.
However, this bowling green was rough and new premises had to be found.
The bowling club moved to the site of the putting green, as this 1937 photo shows. Was this a brand new building, or was it an old stable block, reconfigured? It’s a u-shaped building, with a newer covered in central area.
If it was an old stable, it’s plausible that during a refurbishment, a new veranda was added to the east side, facing the new green. This veranda has now been enclosed.
Interestingly, this map from 1956 still marks the building as a U-shape.
This shot of the interior certainly has the look and scale of old stables.
By 1965 the building was being used as a cricket pavilion, as well as for the bowling club. You can still make out a concrete area in The Grove, which was possibly used for cricket practise, and which would have had nets around it.
At this time, the wooden building was also being used as a park cafe. You could buy an ice cream or a hot drink from the hatch and sit outside. It’s not known if there was indoor seating too.
I’m pleased to say Carshalton bowling club is still going strong, and always welcomes new members, or people wishing to try it out. Please contact the club directly. Details are on their website.
© Current pictures and collating research, Secret Carshalton. Stables fact from the Book of Carshalton – it’s not 100% clear whether this is still the original building, though the style of construction and the fact that it’s the same shape, suggests strongly that it is. There would probably have been remnants of the old stable under the floor if still exposed. Old Bowling club pics thanks to Chris Pocock. Maps under Creative Commons license. With thanks to Jeremy Dearmer for taking the time to show me around the building and grounds.
If you’ve any memories of this area of The Grove, or further information, please leave a comment. We try to get the facts straight, but new information can often come to light.
Wonderful pic via Paul Freeman on SC Facebook showing cricketers leaving the club house. Believed to be the last match, photographed in 1996.
The Grove Cafe never had indoor seating in the Grove Park Cafe when it used tobe next to the cricket changing rooms. It was a kiosk with seating out side I remember as a child and when I worked there in early 1980 till 2000. It moved from the kiosk to where the cray golf was about 1994 .
I always enjoyed watching the cricket in the Grove, (c 1964) and buying a cup of tea, sweets, and ice cream from the café pavilion. Always a good crowd, and I particularly remember an old gentleman who regularly came as a spectator, who had a strong limp and walked with a stick. He was very vocal and encouraged the batsmen ‘tap and run, tap and run’ he would shout. I regularly played tennis, either on the hard courts or the grass court by the Grove house, having booked a court with the ‘parky’ in their room by the playground.