Built in 1926 by local builders George Towers for the princely sum of £20,000, Cowpen and Crofton Miners Welfare was a facility set up for miners and their families in a desire to ‘adding considerably to the educational knowledge of the members while providing facilities for music and recreation’. The outdoor facilities soon arrived thereafter which included tennis, quoits and a bowling green. The actual bowling club was also founded in 1926.
The code of bowls played by the club was principally EBF (English Bowls Federation) and the club took part in EBF leagues and competitions up to 2016. However, in 2006, the club joined the EBA (English Bowls Association) league structure and is now affiliated to Bowls Northumberland (Formally the County Bowling Association) and Bowls England (formed in 2008 by the unification of the English Bowling Association and the English Women’s Bowling association). EBA is now the principle code of play at the club.
Unlike a lot of bowling clubs at the time, Cowpen and Crofton Welfare Bowls Club was NOT exclusively ‘men only’. Women were accepted into the club as long ago as 1929 and the women of the club had and still have a very useful ladies team. The women of the club also play a vital role in ‘open leagues’ and play on an equal footing with the men.
Both the men and the women take part in County run leagues as well as local leagues such as the Blyth Valley League and the Northern League.
Membership of the club is currently fairly strong with the current membership being 43 men and 20 women. Recruitment of new members is always high on the agenda to ensure the club maintains a healthy viable membership and complacency is never allowed to creep in.
The ethos of the club has always been one of being warm, friendly and welcoming to everyone. The aim being to ensure every member has the chance to play competitive bowls if they so wish. The selection policy reflects this aim, winning is secondary to fairness. Social bowling is also a key element within the club and this is available most days during the playing season.
The management and members of Cowpen and Crofton Welfare Bowls Club has the desire to develop the club and its facilities to be the principle provider of outdoor lawn bowls within the town of Blyth. Its vision is to grow in accordance with the membership and to provide modern facilities commensurate with the needs of the membership and current legal requirements. The club aims to provide the opportunity for any Blyth resident or anyone in the neighbouring community to partake in coaching, volunteering or participating in flat green bowls, regardless of sex, age, disability, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or other beliefs. Should the club be fortunate enough to obtain a new clubhouse, part of the clubs vision is to be able to use the pavilion (new facilities) all year round for indoor carpet bowls/new age bowls and social gatherings.