Opened on 1st July 1937 the Club green was constructed on the site of a large demolished house in Orchard Road, adjacent to the Priory Park and Winter Gardens. The house was named “Gratenhurst” and the land was donated by the Misses, Poulton and Greenslade, to the Malvern Urban Disrtict Council solely for recreation and specifically for a bowling green. With its picturesque setting, having the 11th century Church & the Malvern Hills as background. The green has excellent drainage properties due to the house foundations and rubble beneath. Many Local Councillors have been members, and notably some have served as President, namely, Mr G.W. Grundy, Mr H.D. Parker & Mr E. Layton whose rose garden memorial is still tended by the Council and present Club members. Long serving member Arthur McPhail was Club President and went on to be President of the County in 1982.
The several years of amalgamation with Malvern Police Club was a successful period of Club history. Never having a high membership the Club has however had County bowling successes. During the Club’s Jubilee year in 1987 Messrs Derek Lean & David Mitchell were the County Pair’s Champions and represented the Club & County at the National Championships, and the late Past President Harry Addison was runner-up in the County Champion of Champions competition.
In 1996 the Club benefited from a “Sport & Arts” grant, and with additional help from the Malvern Hills District Council the pavilion was refurbished, extending the changing rooms and function room. A long-term lease was also re-negotiated and much improvement was made to the green by Past County President Vic Blackshaw but due to the cost of green maintenance and lack of members the Club has struggled in recent years. Nevertheless this is happily more than compensated by the enthusiastic influx each year of people new to bowling, who are always welcomed and “thrown in” to play in the full programme of friendly matches each season. Past President Dr R.M. Holman was a retired G.P, whose influence gave the Club a renewed appetite for future success initiated by the recent past President Ian Robertson, and the late stalwart Harry Addison.
Anne Taylor, the 2011 Ladies Champion, went through to the semi-final of the Champion of Champions, beating the Champions of much larger Worcestershire Clubs.
In 2012 we organised a very successful, well attended Finals Day for the Malvern Interclub Competitions, when Anne Taylor and Jean Groves lost to Victoria in the Ladies Pairs, but we are pleased to say they brought the trophy home in 2013.
Under the leadership of our then President, Greville Megson, the club entered Division 3 of the league and we travelled round numerous Worcestershire clubs and were the 2013 Runners Up. The same year we opened our green to the U3A under the able leadership of Wayne Braddock and this has been a huge success.
Our busy summer season ended when we hosted (with the co-operation of Manor Park who supplied twelve players) a grand six rink touring team event for clubs in Portsmouth. We fed and watered some forty-eight players and a further twenty visiting spectators on that day and still managed to win!
It was fantastic to have as our guests of honour, Tony Gamble and his wife Penny at our End of Season Lunch and Prize Giving. Tony is the President of Malvern Bowling Club Australia. Malvern Priory Bowling Club set up links with our sister club in Australia during the last World War when their members kindly sent food parcels to our tightly rationed club members.
In 2012 Defford Short Mat Club donated a mat to us and for the last two years now we have run a successful Winter Short Mat Club in the pavilion. It is open from Wednesday to Friday each week.
Also during the winter months Priory Players run two practice sessions a week at Manor Park Indoor Bowling and under the leadership of Anne Taylor this year they entered a team in the Monday League.
Through the very able leadership of Dorothy Keeling the club is applying for a grant to improve the facilities both on the green and in the Club House. If the hard work put in is any measure, it should be very successful.
We are a progressive club which offers activities for all types of bowlers, from those who just wish to keep fit in good friendly company, to those who want to improve and tone their skills of bowling in order to compete at the higher levels.
New Members are always welcome, and free of charge they can give the game a try and see if it is for them.