Gullivers Bowls Club

Gullivers Bowls Club History

Gullivers Bowls Club was founded by the enterprise and generosity of Charles Gulliver who came to Bexhill in 1925. He was Managing Director of the London Theatres of Variety Limited, owning some thirty music halls, including the London Palladium and the Holborn Empire.

The land was purchased in 1952 and the lower green laid. Unfortunately it was discovered that there was no water main in Knole Road so our founder bought  "Wynchlows"  a house situated at the south-east corner of the property in order to lay water from Middlesex Road through its garden to connect up with a hydrant in the car park. Some of its rooms were used as a club pavilion until the current clubhouse was erected.



A second green was laid in May 1954 and the opening celebrated  by a match against Sussex County Bowling Association of which Charles Gulliver was a past President.

Charles Gulliver wanted to promote Indoor Bowling and after extensive negotiations with the De La Warr Estates was permitted to build the present pavilion containing two rinks.  These were opened in 1954 by the Mayor of Bexhill.

With the ever increasing interest of ladies in the game of bowls, Knole Road Ladies was formed in 1954. The ladies had their own clubroom at the rear of the Indoor Rinks.

In 1959  due to his failing health Charles Gulliver moved into the upstairs flat at Wynchlows where he could watch the game of bowls from his bedroom window.

Charles Gulliver passed away in June 1961 and the Club in his honour hold a "Founders Day" Bowls Drive, annually at this time each year

It was now considered necessary for the Management Committee to establish the Club as a "Members Club" independent of the financial support enjoyed previously from the Gulliver Family. A Company limited by guarantee was formed.  In 1970 Clifford Gulliver wanted to retire and wishing to secure the future of the club, it was agreed that Gullivers Bowls Club Ltd. should purchase the property, for the sum of £10,000 and granted an interest free loan to be repaid over eighteen years.


Our club badge was designed by Charles Gulliver and incorporates his racing colours of champagne and scarlet.  He was always keen to ensure that no one referred to his colours as yellow and red.  Champagne and claret were his favourite tipples, as well as his racing colours: they are distinctive and no other bowls club in England use these colours.  The rose on the badge depicts the rose of Hampshire, where he was born, the crescent is the emblem of good luck and the wavy lines denote the sea.   

With the format of bowling changing and mixed games becoming more popular Knole Road Ladies changed their name to Gullivers Ladies. In recent years the ladies and men are completely integrated and belong to "Gullivers Bowls Club".

Gullivers members have won six Sussex County titles and one national title, as well as a number of local open titles.  In 1995 our now Chairman of the Board Charles Wright won the national title which was the English Bowling Association (now Bowls England) Champion of Champions when he defeated Hugh Whitehead (Shildon Railway, Durham) 21-7 in the final at Beach House Park (Photo in Photo Galleries/History).  This is the only time a Sussex player has won this title.