Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sepia Saturday 323 : Losing My Marbles in Langholm


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a group of schoolboys playing marbles. Schoolboys grow up, but here in the North of England, they don't stop playing marbles - the marbles just get a bit bigger. The game in question is, of course, crown green bowling and my pictures shows Langholm New Bowling Green in Cumbria. For those not familiar with it, the game is played on a grass green which has a "crown" in the middle (that is, the edges slightly slope away from the centre).  The bowls were originally made of wood (and are still called "woods") but more commonly they are now made of composite plastics. The bowls have a off-centre weight (or "bias") which means they do not normally travel in a straight path, but curve one way or the other depending how they are rolled. The aim of the game is to deliver your woods closest to a small "jack", taking into account the curve of the crown and the positioning off other bowls.


My great uncle, Fowler Beanland, had two passions in his life - picture postcards and crown green bowling (I suspect he had more passions than that but that is another story). The picture of Langholm New Bowling Green comes from a postcard in his collection and on the reverse of the card he recorded that this was the location of his teams' - he played for Longtown - worst defeat, when they lost by 33 points.

I have occasionally played "an end" of crown green bowling and - in all my playing career - I have never won a game. Perhaps I had better go back to marbles. 


To see how other Sepians have lost their marbles - go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

11 comments:

  1. How interesting. I did not know there were different types of greens like that. My grandfather was a keen bowler and I have his badges.

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  2. It's quite an absorbing game once you get into it. Maybe I'll take it up in retirement!

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  3. This sounds like a great game. i've never heard of it before.

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  4. I'd never heard of this game before. It sounds interesting. How long has it been in existence & is it played most everywhere, or only in certain areas of the country? I might like to include it in some of my stories?

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  5. We have a proper bowls green here in Asheville, NC. It's built on a kind of raised bed surrounded by a dry moat with an artificial turf. However it's out in an open field and lacks the charm of Langholm's ivy covered stone walls. They don't let anyone walk on it unless they're wearing special bowling shoes.

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  6. A wonderful sight on a sunny English day (I do remember there were a few!) would be the ladies and gents all in white playing bowls on the green. Have you seen the naughty Beryl Cook painting of ladies bowling Alan?

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  7. Sounds like curling except we have brooms.....and ice and...well, I guess it isn't much like curling. Looks like fun.

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  8. Bowling is very popular here, every town has a bowling green. They all wore white coats and white hats. I am not sure if they still do. In the 80s we had a young girl from Switzerland on a 6 month exchange with us. In Yamba NSW she saw a bowling green with all these white coated people playing. Innocently she asked:"tell me, why are there so many doctors playing bowls?"

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  9. Sounds like a game I could never play well.

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  10. Oh, but he wrote of his defeat with such wonderful flourishes!

    Never heard of that game. Fascinating.

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  11. Never heard of crown green bowling. However, there is a town here in Virginia (and other states too) called Bowling Green. I guess there is some sort of connection.

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