When the first bowling green was opened in Victoria Park in 1913, it could never be imagined that a century later the Royal Leamington Spa venue would have been transformed into one of the most famous bowling establishments in the world, with five greens and impressive facilities.
We’ve pulled together 12 facts about the Warwickshire town hosting the lawn bowls events at this years’ Commonwealth Games.
- Following the 1951 Festival of Britain, Leamington held festivals of illuminations and concerts in Jephson Gardens. However, after complaints of loud music and voices, they were scrapped in 1961.
- The very first lawn tennis club in England was formed in Leamington in 1872 at the Manor House Hotel.
- At the corner of the main walk by the Jephson memorial is a fountain to commemorate the members of the Free Czechoslovak Army who set out from Leamington in 1942 to execute the SS governor of Czechoslovakia.
- A slipway to the River Leam, which runs at the back of the clubhouse, was used by local circus people to wash their animals, including elephants. The elephant wash slipway is still there today.
- An 11-year-old Princess Victoria spent her first overnight stay in a public building in Leamington.
- Number 6 Clarendon Square was once home to Prince Louis Napoleon, who became Napoleon III.
- Frank Whittle, the inventor of the jet engine, learned most of his engineering skills at his father’s workshop, the Leamington Valve and Piston-Ring Co at Clinton Street.
- Leamington Spa waters were well known as being good for making bread and preserving meat, but they were also believed to cure rabies!
- John Betjeman once wrote a poem called ‘Death in Leamington.’
- Leamington was mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) but remained a small agricultural village until its spa fame in the late 18th century.
- The name of the town stems from the River Leam which runs through the town.
- It is one of only three towns in the country with a ‘Royal’ prefix, the others being Royal Tunbridge Wells and Royal Wootton Bassett.
[Photo supplied with thanks to Max Passantino]
Bowls International is the world’s most respected bowling magazine, available monthly in both digital and print formats. A comprehensive Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games supplement is included in July’s issue of Bowls International.
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