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Centenary Booklet - 2004


Foreword from the President

It is my privilege as the incumbent President of the Hope Paton Bowling Club during its centenary year to say a few words to mark this auspicious occasion .

From my own experience as a member of the club I think we owe a huge debt to Miss Hope Paton and all the following committees and members for creating a bowling green and subsequently setting up and running the bowling club.

As you can see from this potted history of the club included in this booklet there have always been difficult times for the club, including two World Wars, but despite this the club has flourished and now offers a pleasant place to enjoy the conviviality of a game of bowls.

The biggest change in the physical layout of the club took place from the late 1980’s through to 1991 when the new clubhouse was built and the banks around the green were replaced by the vertical walls. This must have taken a concerted and sustained effort by the members over this period and should be appreciated by us all now, and by the members of the future.

Coming up to date I would like to thank all the sponsors who have generously given cash and prizes in kind throughout the years.

I would also like to thank the committees and members who have given of their time and energy to looking after the club buildings and surrounds to make it a pleasant place to visit. I say a special thank you to the club centenary committee of G. Henderson, E. Norrie, W. Paterson and P. D. Machir.

I must make special mention of our secretary George Henderson who has spent many hours researching the history of the club on top of the numerous tasks which fall under his normal remit.

Finally I wish our guests a warm welcome to our celebratory games and functions and hope they leave with happy memories of their visit.

D.B. Maver  (President)





 Although the absence of minutes of club meetings prior to 1960 is unfortunate, a great deal of information regarding the early history of the Hope Paton Bowling Club can be found in the files of the Montrose Review and forms the basis for most of the information of this booklet.  Reports from the period before the First World War in particular give a valuable insight into the origin of  the major trophies which are still being played for and also describe some unusual prizes awarded at  that time. They also provide information about when Hope Paton joined various bowling associations and the members who became the first office bearers and prizewinners. For their help in compiling this information I would like to thank the Editor and staff of the Montrose Review and the staff of Montrose Public Library. I would also like to thank Olive Leven  and Willie Thomson for their recollections of the building of the new Club House and J. J. Milne for his help with various other questions. My thanks also go to Pam Nicoll for her much needed proof reading assistance.

                                                                                                            George W. Henderson




On Wednesday 31st August 1904 a large crowd attended the official opening ceremony of the Hope Paton bowling green and gardens including the Provost, members of the Town Council, local clergy, business people and the general public.


Provost Melvin opened the proceedings and paid a long and glowing tribute to Miss Hope Paton whose generosity had made the gardens and bowling green a reality.

Mr. R. J. Lyall replied on behalf of Miss Paton and explained her long felt desire to provide something for her home town.


The Provost informed the company that if a Club were to be formed in connection with the green, an offer of a silver cup had been received.


It was also intimated that the wife of a Melville bowler wished to present a silver teapot for competition between working men on the green.

When the green was formally accepted by the Provost, a key that had been supplied by Mr. D. D. Clark, watchmaker, was presented as a memento to Miss Paton.  Made of 15 carat gold and four inches long, the key bore a shield supported by two mermaids with the town’s motto, Mare Ditat Rosa Decorat, and the inscription “To Miss H. H. Paton on opening the Hope Paton Gardens Montrose, August 31, 1904.” 


After the speeches Miss Paton stepped on to the green and formally rolled the first jack followed by the Provost playing the first bowl.


A match was then played between six rinks from Montrose Bowling Club and a combined team of two Town Council rinks and four from Melville. It was reported that after earlier rain the new green which had been laid with turf from the Mid Links was heavy and that some extraordinary shots were played. 


The Montrose team won 85-73 and the Review also reported that at one end a Montrose skip Mr. A. Davidson lay one shot down but on playing his last bowl, knocked the lying bowl out and received eight shots.  Thus on the first day, the first maximum score was obtained at Hope Paton!

The proceedings closed amid loud cheering when Baillie Alexander, who had been a skip in one  of the rinks, announced the result.


It was not long before friendly matches were played on the new green as Arbroath Abbey note in their 125th centenary booklet. On the 17th September that year, six rinks of Montrose bowlers entertained six rinks from Abbey.    The first friendly ended in a win for Abbey by



The green proved to be attractive at the start with popularity continuing in following seasons. In 1905 Mr W. H. Valentine won a competition solely confined to tailors with the first prize of a pair of bowls.  A large tournament for visitors from as far afield as London and Liverpool organised by Mr. Alexander Findlay from Glendoick was deemed important enough for the Provost to present the prizes.  Later, a tournament with a medal and cup as the prizes for a competition between Free Gardeners was organised.   Inter-departmental matches between employees of Paton’s Mill also took place. For many years, clubs and associations with strange sounding names organised matches on the public greens. Aberdeen and Dundee Unitarian Church clubs frequently found a half way house at Hope Paton and as late as 1946 the Montrose North End Co-operative Women’s Guild arranged a bowling match.


The Review reported on 2nd June 1905 that the draws for various competitions on the public greens had been made. At the new Hope Paton green the trophy would be a teapot that had been gifted by a lady. The entry of 78 was definitely promising and showed the green was attaining considerable attention. The extra competition had its effect at Melville as the entry for their similar competition, although a satisfactory 100, was down by 30 from the previous year.


More friendly matches were played.

On a dull rainy day in late August four rinks of Hope Paton bowlers were beaten 89-73 at home by Lochlands.

A home and away match against the Melville bowlers resulted in a close win for the visitors at each of the greens with Melville gaining overall victory by a single shot.

Continuing in popularity,  this Hope Paton v Melville home and away fixture later had a rose bowl as a prize for the winners and this was still being played for as late as 1949 when Hope Paton  ran out winners by  an overall  margin of four shots.



The Crowe Cup

On June 23rd the Review again reported on another gift to Montrose bowlers.


“There was on view at the Hope Paton green on Monday night a handsome silver cup  for competition among the bowlers who frequent that green which has been presented by Mr. Gordon Crowe.

The trophy which with its ebony pedestal stands about 18 inches high is of chaste design, richly ornamented and a beautiful specimen of the silversmith’s art. 

On the lid is the figure of a bowler in the act of playing.

The bowlers are at present competing for a silver teapot and are to be congratulated on receiving Mr. Crowe’s gift, which it is understood will be formally handed to them by the Corporation through Provost Melvin.”


The Crowe Cup is the oldest trophy in the possession of Hope Paton B.C.  Always awarded to the winner of the Gents’ Green Championship, it was first presented to Jas. Valentine in 1905. The winner has, until now, represented Hope Paton in the Scottish Public Bowling Clubs Association Singles Championships in the following year.

Mr. Crowe who died on 6th October 1922 aged 59 was a keen bowler. For fully 20 years he was licensee of the Golf Inn and was a member of the Parish church choir. He also took a great interest in Masonic affairs.




The first Green Championship attracted an entry of 78 bowlers, the second, in 1906, realised a total of 108 entries for the Crowe Cup.    Present day match  secretaries may well wonder how competitions reached a successful conclusion especially as the season started in mid-May.    If  entries for these competitions seem large, consider the entry for a “Drawing Tournament” held at Hope Paton in September 1911: “The entry of 325 testifies to the popularity of this event”.  A similar competition held at Melville in June 1912 attracted 332 entries.


Although the green was well established, no mention of a committee is evident. Both public greens were officially opened and end of season prizes awarded by the Provost or Councillors until after the Second World War.  The affairs of the club were  organised by a secretary Mr. George Arbuthnott as this Review report of  15th September 1905  indicates.


“On Friday evening the prizes in connection with the various competitions and tournaments of the Hope Paton green were presented to the winners in the clubhouse by Provost Melvin. There was a large attendance of bowlers.

The Provost, before presenting the prizes, congratulated the winners and spoke of the popularity of the green.

Mrs. Sturrock, who at the beginning of the season had gifted a handsome silver teapot for competition on the green, was also present and handed over the teapot to Mr. W. Porter, the winner.

The following is the prize list:

Green Championship (Crowe Cup)      Jas. Valentine

Silver Teapot      W. Porter              2nd   (Gold Badge)     R. Mowatt

Rink Tournament     G. Arbuthnott


Before the company dispersed, Provost Melvin, in the name of the bowlers, presented a pipe and a tobacco pouch to the secretary Mr. G. Arbuthnott in recognition of his valuable services to the club.   Mr. Arbuthnott suitably replied”.


Mrs Sturrock’s Silver Tea Pot Competition appeared once more in 1907, this time as a handicap competition when it was won by A. Walker.   After that there is no further record of it.    Prizes of this type were common - Mr. R. V. Harcourt, M. P. for the Montrose Burghs,  gifted a marble drawing room clock for competition at Hope Paton which was won by J. Shields in 1908. The club itself added prizes for runner-up and semi finalists in this competition, with D. Carver winning a walking stick, R. Mowatt a pipe and George Arbuthnott, appropriately enough, gained a new fountain pen.   Melville also had a similar competition in 1906 when bowlers contested Mrs. Milne’s Gold Scarf Pin.


The Town Council announced in the summer of 1906 that they were to present a pair of bowls to each of the two Public greens for open competition. This became one of the club’s major competitions which lasted until the mid 1970’s.  Mr. R. Mowatt was the first winner of the Corporation Bowls, called “Silver Tops” due to the silver plates which were inset on the sides.

Provost Melvin, when presenting the prizes in 1906, again made a gift to Mr. Arbuthnott  and, although there is still no mention of a committee, Mr. R. Mowat is referred to as Captain of the bowlers.  At this prize giving the Provost urged the bowlers to enter competitions and to cultivate the skills of rink play.


In May 1908, however, the Review does record that an A.G.M. took place at Hope Paton and Mr. A. Burnett was elected as President. The Vice-president was A. Anderson with George Arbuthnott continuing as secretary. The committee comprised J. Beattie, J. Allan, D. Scott, D. Smith, T. Latto, W. Graham, A. Arbuthnott, H. Swankie, W. Hampton, W. Porter Snr. and D. Milne

The green championship that year was probably the first time the president and vice president contested the final of the Crowe cup. The many spectators round the green saw Alf. Anderson, with his last shot, take the title 21-20.


Also in May that year another club was formed at Hope Paton when the Wednesday Half- Holiday bowlers held a meeting and formed a club in connection with the green.  The Half- Holiday club thrived until after the first world war, holding their own competitions and matches against other clubs. One of the Honorary Presidents of the club was Mr. Gordon Crowe.


An Angus Bowling League was in place in the early years and a meeting in March 1906 of  “bowlers who pursue that pastime at Hope Paton Green” decided to join the newly instituted league.   Mr. G. Arbuthnott, the Hope Paton secretary, was appointed the first club delegate to the league committee.   In March 1909 Hope Paton were among the seven clubs who attended the meeting of the Angus League in Forfar to decide fixtures for the forthcoming season. The other clubs were Melville, Brechin Public, Abbey and Lochlands from Arbroath with Reid Park and Victoria from Forfar.  Also, at their own A.G.M. that year, Hope Paton decided to give any assistance possible to their fellow bowlers at Melville in their efforts to erect a suitable pavilion. The club may well have regretted this decision later as their first match in that season’s Angus league resulted in resounding 101-55 defeat at the hands of their neighbours!   Despite this bad start, Hope Paton took a prominent part in the league affairs, albeit with a gap of some years’ absence.


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