Francis Drake Bowls Club

Francis Drake Bowls Club

Welcome to Francis Drake Bowls Club...

Affiliated to Bowls England and Kent County Bowling association.

Casual or experienced bowlers and new members most welcome. Qualified EBCS coaching available, equipment including bowls and regulation bowling shoes supplied.

During the outdoor season (which runs from late April to early October ) the club has regular casual roll ups, friendly
and league matches with mixed male & female teams, Kent competitions & individual club championships. See fixtures for more details.

This is a council owned facility and the grounds are maintained by Glendale. The club is run by the members headed by a small committee and in line with the club's constitution. The green has set opening times dependent on club fixtures, the English weather and the availability of a key holding member but can also be used at other times when a key holding member is available.

 "It has often been said that, standing on the top of Hilly Fields on a windy day, one may inhale the sea breezes which flow in a direct course through the hills from the south coast. It may account for the prevailing idea that Brockley is the healthiest spot in the whole of London..." - The Brockley News, Friday 20th August 1920.

HistoryFrancs Drake historic players

c. 2000 BC
Egyptians roll balls or other rounded objects

c. 100 BC
Infidels stoned to death

c. 60 BC
Game of boccie spread to ancient Greece & Rome

c. 43 AD
Boccie spreads into NW Europe

First known bowls rink built in Southampton

Bowls banned in England by Edward III

Ban lifted by Henry VI

Henry VIII bans the game again and although largely ignored, was in force until 1845

Francis Drake knighted in Deptford but couldn't be bothered wandering up to Hilly Fields for a game of bowls as neither the park nor rink existed at that time

Hilly Fields Park opens

English Bowling Association formed by W.G. Grace
W.G. Grace - founder of the English Bowling Association

Bowls rink opened on Hilly Fields

Five years old Arthur Guidotti peers through gate and vows to play bowls one day

Club celebrates 50th Jubilee Year

Don Thurnell & Len Bridges begin to create the special FDBC spirit that remains to this day
Don Thurnell Len Bridges

Maestro Patrick Strain joins FDBC, raising the standard of competitive bowling to new brilliance
Pat Strain

FDBC Centenary is celebrated and 75 years after thinking about it, Mr Guidotti finally joins the club...

Mick Singer takes over as Team Captain as Billy Jenkins steps down, and promptly leads FDBC to their first ever John Collyer League Championship victory!

After 104 years of watering by hose and hand, our green finally gets an automated watering system, with grateful thanks to the Mayor's Fund.

Francis Drake Bowls Club historic players     

Mick also introduced the FDBC shirt in 2010, and here he models the first club shirt.


Ron Phillips becomes Team Captain

Ron Phillips

...and FDBC were victorious in the BBDBA home and away triples league 2014


Another great year for Ron: he led FDBC to victory, winning the Lewisham and District League 2015 and also became the club champion for 2015


Jeanette Singer becomes Captain



Ken Shooter becomes Acting Captain

This was not a good year for any bowls club. Play was prohibited for much of the year. During the remainder there were no matches or competitions, the number of players was limited and no spectators permitted - due to the Covid-19 pandemic.



Back to normal - almost!

During the season Covid-19 restrictions were gradually eased by the government and play was virtually back to normal by mid July.  One notable restriction remained: although we could now use the clubhouse changing rooms social distancing had to be observed.  So, to avoid overcrowding caused by everyone changing into whites, we wore greys throughout the season.