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Smiths Dock Bowling Club

Club History

Smith's Dock Shipbuilders were based on the River Tees and employed over 5000 people during the Teesside growth years of the early 1900s.

In common with many large industrial companies in the area, Smith's Dock Shipbuilders had a policy of beneficially encouraging their employees to live an active, healthy lifestyle during their leisure time.

As part of this policy the company, in 1920 established sporting facilities that included football pitches, tennis courts, children's play areas, two bowling greens and a social club, all on the same site in Normanby, known to all as Smith's Dock Park.

The company owned and fully maintained these facilities until 1986, when with the demise of shipbuilding in the area, the company closed and sold off all its assets, including the recreational facilities, to local firms.

The bowling green and its pavilions however were excluded from this sale and instead were leased to Trustees for the benefit of the local community on a 999 year lease for a peppercorn rent.

Smiths Dock Bowling Club, since then, has been self funding, with all maintenance and improvements being the responsibility of the club members.

In 2010 the original visitors building was damaged during the snow hit winter and was rebuilt by the members.

In 2013-14 the original 1920's wooden pavilion was found to have substantial issues with the external structure.

With a lot of support from local business and considerable effort by the members the building was refurbished and reroofed, with the frontage sympathetically restored to preserve its historical heritage.

Following on from the external building work  improvements to the interior, including redecoration, internal cladding, refurbishment of the toilets and kitchen were also carried out.

Externally, works on the grounds, including improvements to the greens, new fencing, a newly built barbeque area were also undertaken and further work is still ongoing.