Greystoke used to have a bowling green. It used to be on what is now the playing field, in the corner nearest the Penrith road bridge. It was still there in the late fifties / early sixties but had fallen into disuse. Instead, football and cricket end up being played on it. The children called it the “bowlo” and the bridge was always known as the “bowlo bridge”.
It was opened on the 31st August 1929 by Lady Mabel Howard who also bowled the first wood. What a shame it is not there today for all us wrinkles to while away our time. More information will be available at the opening of the refurbished swimming pool changing rooms.
There was a football game most evenings at the bowling green, weather permitting. I could look out of my bedroom window on Icold Rd and there was a sliver of space between the Dutch barn and the farmhouse on the Robinsons’ farm on Church Rd (which became the Dixon farm). I’d look at this for a few seconds and if a ball traversed that space I knew something was starting. We’d pick sides, sometimes only three or four a side to start with, but as others came the teams got bigger. We’d play until dark, or until one side scored ten goals, whichever came first. No goalposts, just heaps of jackets or sweaters. It was less than half the size of a regular football pitch, and sometimes the teams were bigger than eleven a side, so very crowded. It didn’t matter. Cricket was harder, as it demanded a smoother wicket, but we managed that as well. There was an old green pavilion from bowling days, which eventually got pulled down and replaced by a fine set of swings. (Maurice Mandale)
Usually the two best footballers got to pick the teams. They would pick the best players in descending order down to the not so good. (That was me). If you were picked last it didn’t do your ego much good. The bowling green bower went up to the football field at Greystoke Gill and was used as changing rooms. When the playing field was developed the footballers started to play there. The bower came with them and was re-erected where the swimming pool is now. (Allan Marshall)