WG Grace may have been England’s greatest-ever cricketer but he had interests in many sports and towards the end of his cricketing career in the late 1890s, he began to take a keen interest in bowls.
In 1899, WG Grace accepted an invitation from the Crystal Palace
Company to help them form the London County Cricket Club at the Crystal Palace
He became the club’s secretary, manager and captain. He was pivotal in establishing the London County Bowling Club in 1901.
On 8 June 1903 in Crystal Palace
’s cricket pavilion, a group headed by WG, formed the English Bowling Association with himself as President.
Grace recognised that the popularity of the game was such that bowling in the winter was a viable proposition. In 1905 Crystal Palace
Indoor Bowling Club was formed, playing within the Crystal Palace
Great Exhibition centre’s main gallery, thereby establishing England’s first indoor bowling club.
The great fire of 1936 destroyed the whole exhibition centre. As a result of a rebuilding programme, in 1937, the CPIBC was once again up and bowling in its present home, in Anerley, just down the hill from its original location.