Bowling History 101: The first British Bowling Alley

Posted by Tenpin at 3.00pm on 12 June 2014

12 June blog 

Bowling History 101: The first British bowling alley

We know what you're thinking?

You're scratching your head and wondering when the automated wonder of bowling first arrived on our shores? It's a good question that's worthy of investigation.

Well, we've been digging around in the archives and, as luck would have it, we've come up with the answer.

Time to jump in the old De Lorean and transport ourselves back to 1960. That's right, 54 years have passed since tenpin bowling made its debut in the United Kingdom.

Let's give that some context: that's before the Beatles were famous, before James Bond appeared at the movies, before Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.

It all started in Stamford Hill in London on a wintery January night. The first British alley arrived with much pomp and fanfare. Indeed the state trumpeters of the Life Guards were hired to give the event a blaze of brass.

Said to have been created for £50,000 (that was a lot of money back then), the alley was hailed as a high-profile entertainment arena set to transform post-war Britain.

With such grand aspirations, its opening night was destined to be a star-studded occasion. The actor Douglas Fairbanks jr and boxer Henry Cooper were there to give the launch the necessary showbiz razzle-dazzle, but who would roll that all-important first ball?

This honour was accorded to Sir John Hunt, the explorer and adventurer who had led the team that first conquered Mount Everest (Hillary, Tenzing and all that). 

 

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