The Hungerford Club started its life as the Church House Club and Library in 1901.
Some years later, at the end of the First World War, land was acquired from Mr Wooldridge (of The Wharf), and a Sports Section was established, including bowling green, croquet lawn and tennis courts. Mr Wooldridge also gave the (wooden) pavilion free of charge. In August 1918 it was handed over to the Club. An agreement at the time stated that should the club no longer find a use for it, the ground should revert to the Town and Manor of Hungerford.
The sports ground was laid out on land between The Croft and the canal. The original plan was different from the modern layout, and two tennis courts can be seen on the site of the present-day bowling green. In the background can be seen the cottages at Strongrove Hill (including the ruins of one razed by fire). The three tall poplar trees are adjacent to Hungerford canal lock.
The playing of Tennis started in 1918, the original grass courts have now been replaced with 4 outstanding Hard Courts with play being available virtually all year round. Coaching is offered to all ages and abilities. Success has been achieved in local leagues and particular attention is being paid to the coaching of youngsters who are members of the future.
By the 1980's the changing facilities at the Sports ground were thought to be inadequate, unsafe and unhygienic, and it was decided to build combined changing facilities for the bowls and tennis players.
The club decided to design the building itself, and much of the construction work was undertaken by Club Members. Showers and changing rooms were included in the design, and part of the building can be converted into a function room if required.
The new pavillion was opened in Jul 1982. See "Hungerford Club's £25,000 pavilion opens its doors", NWN 22 Jul 1982.
The restored bowls club club house was opened in Jun 2007. See "New club bowls 'em over", NWN 7 Jun 2007.
The sports ground provides an essential facility in Hungerford. The Bowls section joined the County Association in 1924 and has just celebrated its 75th Anniversary. The Ladies Section was established in 1945. Hungerford Bowlers have brought numerous important trophies back to the town. The late Dennis Brittain, the late Mr Jim Davies and Mr Ted Hill have served as County Presidents. Henry Vellender, Alan Bartter, A.P.Bartter and Tom Hooson have won County Rink Championships. Mr Ted Hill and Mr R Bailey have won the County Pairs.
The Bowling Club is an important part of the sports section of Hungerford Club, with an excellent green and pavillion in The Croft.
- Hungerford Club sports ground, Aug 2009
- Church House sports section, 1923. In the distance can be seen the burnt out ruins of the cottage. The Hungerford fire engine attending got stuck in the mud and had to be left there overnight!
- Hungerford Bowls Club, 1935. Back row L to R: Fred Batt (Barber, Bridge St), Jack Jones (Civil Servant, Newbury), Arthur Killick (Grocer, 17 HS), H Astley (Solicitor, Bridge House), H Crossley (Commissioner of Oaths, 49 HS), Leo Townshend (Music Student, Croft House - now St Anthony), Arthur Glover (Manager Earles Stores), Frank Hughes (Farmer, Old Hayward), D Wyatt (Bank Clerk, 27 The Croft), Bert Holland (Farmer, Hopgrass), Fred Jessett (Baker, Old Post office, Eddington), John Johns (Bank Clerk, 130 HS), ?O'Connor (Newbury).
Middle row: Bert Bushnell (Registrar, 3 High Street), Harry Reid (Gardener, 19 The Croft), ???, James Seddon (Agricultural Engineer, 29 The Croft), W Webb (Music Teacher, Newbury), Bert Withall (Grocer's Assistant, Church Street), ?Caulfield (Attendance Officer), Charles Godwin (Tax Inspector, Newbury), ???, Charles Kunkler (Lamb Inn), ?Neate (?Travel Agent, Newbury).
Front row: Percy Nicolls (Retired, Countryside, Salisbury Rd), Jimmy James (Miller, Essendene, The Croft), Ernest Munford (Printer, 129 HS), Gordon Starkey-Smith (Doctor, Manor House), Percy Jessett (Baker, Old Post office, Eddington), Fatty (?Fred) Jessett (Baker), Harry Chapman (Water Works Manager, North View), Edwin Townshend (Independent, St Anthony, The Croft).
(Info from Leo Cowell-Townshend, Feb 1985)
- Hungerford Bowls Club, c1965
- The redecorated Sports Pavillion, Nov 2015