Border Bowling Tournament at Gala Bowling Club in 190
Border Bowling Tournament at Gala Bowling Club in 190

Bowling clubs across the Borders are preparing to close their greens as another season draws to a close.

It’s a popular sport that was once said to be played only by old men, but is now an attraction for both sexes of all ages.

Our picture from the past shows the Border Bowling Tournament in full swing at Gala Bowling Club in the summer of 1908.

Despite what seems to have been a warm day – note the straw boaters and parasols of the watching ladies – most of the men have retained their jackets and, at minimum, their waistcoats. Look closely and there is a even a top hat on the right-hand side of the elite gathering on the balcony.

Gala Bowling Club became functional on July 2, 1859, at Kirkbrae and on August 13 played its first match against Selkirk, winning by four shots. In a return game two weeks’ later, the Gala men were again the victors. It was in 1883 that the club moved to its present location – pictured – in Gala Terrace. Members just missed out on having the Laird of Gala and his Scott family as neighbours. They had moved out of the adjacent Gala House to a new mansion in Gala Policies. Gala House later became Old Gala House and is now a museum.

Waverley Bowling Club took over the Gala club’s site at Kirkbrae. A third bowling club in the town is Abbotsford which is celebrating its 125th birthday.

compiled by Bob Burgess