Bowling

The park has two bowling greens both at the north end, but neither was present when the park opened in 1894. No bowling greens were shown on the 1900 Ordnance Survey map.

Receipts, year by year reported in the Parks Committee minutes were:[1]

Year Income
1911 £81-18-4
1912 £70-4-6
1913 £74-19-6
1914 £74-1-4
1915 £61-7-0
   
1922 £131-16-1

The 1920 Ordnance Survey map shows that there was a bowling green beside the Friars Road Lodge, next to the tree avenue leading to the ornamental fountain, and another green by the Waterloo Road entrance and close to the pavilion.

The green near the pavilion was originally a practice bowling green, but in September 1913 the Parks Committee agreed to extend it to be suitable for match play, at a cost of about £27.[2] In May 1924 the Committee granted a request from the Belle Vue Pavilion Bowling Club for permission to erect a flag staff near the pavilion green to be able to fly their club flag on match days.[3]

For the green at the Friars Road entrance the Parks Committee agreed in May 1925 to provide lavatories for a sum not exceeding £50[4] and in August it was decided to extend this green at a cost of £60.[5]

In June 1933 the Committee visited Belle Vue Park. It agreed that a new bowling green near the Friars Road entrance be constructed and that an additional entrance for pedestrians be made near the site. It was also agreed that new glass houses be built on part of the site of the former pavilion bowling green, the remainder to be laid out as a rest garden.[6] In April 1934 the new bowling green was nearly ready and the Committee agreed that the Mayor be asked to open it on the 28th April at 3pm.[7]

The Western Mail gave the following history of the bowling greens:[8]

"One of the first public bowling greens in South Wales was that in Belle Vue Park Newport and it was certainly the most beautifully situated. It was on the highest point of the park, nicely secluded, with magnificent views over the Bristol Channel.
But it was not of regulation size, and some 20 or so years ago a new green was prepared on a site just within the Friars-road entrance to the park. Here the Belle Vue Club has played ever since. The old green was practically unused for a time, but it remained available to the public, and soon after the war it began to be patronised by people who did not belong to clubs and by beginners.
Friendships were made, and four or five years ago a new club was formed. This club has proved remarkably successful, but as it began to get matches and as it began to enter various competitions it found, as the Belle Vue Club had found years before, that the green was not adequate owing to its being short one way.
The parks committee was appealed to and was sympathetic. At first it was thought that the green might be enlarged, and the club members concerned were hopeful on that score because of the peculiar charm of the site, but after due consideration the committee decided that such a scheme would not meet all requirements, and that it would be better, and more economical in the end, to construct an entirely new green.
A site was chosen next to the newer green, and the work has been in progress throughout the winter.
The situation is an excellent one convenient to two of the park entrances. The green is up-to-date in all details, is charmingly surrounded with rhododrendrons, etc, and fine views are offered to the players. A new pavilion is to be erected to serve the two greens.
The original green will now disappear. Part of the site will be given up to glasshouses for potting, etc., and a part will be laid out with terraces as a rest or sun garden."

The green was was formally opened by the Mayor, Councillor F. J. Humphries on Saturday 28th April. The Mayor said that the green had cost £400 of which 75% had been expended on labour. The work had been carried out entirely by the acting Borough Engineer Mr William C. West, the Parks Superintendent Mr J. E. Tindale and their staffs. It was announced that the green would not be played on for a month.[9]

In April 1935 a contract for the construction of a new bowls pavilion was awarded to Mr F. C. Parfitt at his tendered price of £727.[10] In September the Parks Committee agreed that work be carried out immediately to alter and re-construct the original bowling green at the Friars Road entrance.[11] In October it was reported that the bowls pavilion was complete apart from some minor details.[12]Installation of an oak hand rail on the steps to the bowling greens was agreed at a cost of £11 in July 1937.[13]

The 1930s OS map shows the two greens in their new positions - side by side near the Friars Road entrance and against the boundary with Friars Road, their present day location. (Also on the 1930s map, greenhouses are shown in the space previously occupied by the bowling green known as the pavilion green, the site of the modern day car park.)

No change is shown on the 1950s and 1970s maps.

Sources of Information

  1. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 18th October 1912, 21st November 1913, 20th November 1914, 19th November 1915, 24th November 1922
  2. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 19th September 1913
  3. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 3rd May 1924
  4. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 25th May 1925
  5. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 10th August 1925
  6. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 23rd June 1933
  7. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 20th April 1934
  8. New Bowling Green to replace smaller one. Western Mail & South Wales News Tuesday April 24th 1934 page 8
  9. New Bowling Green. Western Mail & South Wales News Tuesday April 30th 1934 page 6
  10. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 5th April 1935
  11. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 19th September 1935
  12. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 18th October 1935
  13. Newport County Borough Council Parks and Cemeteries Committee 16th July 1937