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Although Risbygate Club began life in 1912, reference is made to a bowling green on the site since at least 1795 within archives held at the Bury St Edmunds Records Office. The Club’s headquarters were situated at Risbygate House, 102 Risbygate Street, one time home of wine merchant George John Oliver and, between 1896 and 1911, solicitor Arthur James d’Albani. In 1912, when Frederick and Ellen Drake took over the property, it became known as the Risbygate Temperance Commercial and Family Hotel.Messrs FG Pawsey and AA Philpot were prime movers towards the Club’s inception. They felt that a privately situated green was much needed in that part of the town and that it would be a great idea to form not just a mere club, but a social organisation too. Frederick Drake possessed a green and suitable accommodation for a club headquarters and, when approached, consented to provide the necessary facilities. It was not at all difficult to get a sufficient number of men to take up membership and the first few years of the Club’s life were happy times. Those who could bowl set out to teach those who could not, and as soon as they could do so it apparently proved difficult to get them away at night!The bowling green, to the rear of the property, was looked after by Frederick and to all intents was the envy of local bowlers, there being many glowing references over the years to its superb condition. Membership numbers were restricted to 50 and consisted mainly of local businessmen and commercial travellers who, in those early days, had no desire to interact with other clubs. In fact, it was not until 1920 that inter-club matches began to take place.

 

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Westley Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 3RR