The history of Cuddington Recreation Ground goes back to March 1928 when the Cuddington Parish Meeting resolved to encourage the parish council to acquire land in the parish for a recreation ground. In December 1931 Cuddington Parish Council learned that the purchase of 24 acres of land for a recreation ground at Sparrow Farm was proceeding. In February 1933 the General Purposes Committee of Sutton and Cheam Council chose the name Cuddington Recreation Ground. This part of Worcester Park, between the railway line, Central Road, Oaks Avenue and Sparrow Farm Road, was served by a very active Stoneleigh Park and Cuddington Residents’ Association and in 1936 they started a bowls club.
At this time the district had its own local newspaper, the Worcester Park Times, which gives several updates on the progress of the club, and of the green which would become its home. On February 1 1936 the newspaper announced that the green was ready for turfing. When the club was formed in 1936, it was presumably hoped that the green would become available that year, but on August 1, the Worcester Park Times conveyed the news that "it will not be possible to open the green this season."
On April 17 1937 an article in the Worcester Park Times, headed Stoneleigh Park and Cuddington Bowling Club, announced: "We are now within measurable distance of the official opening of the new green on May 1. A match with the Borough Council has been arranged for the occasion, but there will also be ample time and opportunity for friendly play between old and new members. A very attractive fixture list has been arranged, although the committee has wisely decided not to attempt too ambitious a programme in its second season and the first on its home green."
This suggests that the club had already been actively participating in local matches during the summer of 1936. Presumably this either involved playing all fixtures away, or temporarily using another green - possibly the Worcester Park Athletic Club's facilities in Green Lane.
Local historian David Rymill wrote an article exploring the club's origins, which was published in Worcester Park Life magazine in August 2016 and provided the material for this summary. Click here to read the article in full (scroll to pages 6-7).
Visit the Historical photo archive where you can view some early photographs of the club.
WHEN CUDDINGTON BOWLING CLUB WAS FORMED IN 1936 . . .
YOU COULDN'T GET A DRINK AFTER 10pm
The Sutton & Cheam Advertiser and Surrey County Reporter, published in March 1936, ran the headline No after-ten drinking. It reported that the local licensing authority had turned down an application by the local Licensed Victuallers' Association, representing pub landlords in Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park, to stay open for half an hour after 10pm to ease the "last-minute surge to the bar to get in a round before last orders were called". The Licensed Victuallers Association argued that already 34 licensing authorities in England had agreed to 10.30pm drinking, but the local licensing board held firm and rejected the appeal.
YOU COULDN'T GO TO THE CINEMA ON A SUNDAY
There were to be no Sunday cinemas - yet - in the Worcester Park neighbourhood. The April 30 issue of the local newspaper reported that Sutton & Cheam Council had shelved a decision to allow films to be shown on the Sabbath until the end of the year. The newspaper pointed out that an application made in 1934 for Sunday screenings in the Sutton and Cheam areas had been rejected after a public ballot had said a definite no to the idea.
AND A SEMI-DETACHED HOUSE COST £775
The local newspaper reported in the year that Cuddington Bowling Club was founded that local developers were selling new three- and four-bedroom Tudor-style semi-detached and detached houses for between £775 and £1,200.