The beginning

Foreword
  I feel greatly privileged to write a foreword for the History of the Renshaw Bowling Association. Although we missed the centenary year the members have joined a select band of associations who have been in existence for one hundred years. The Association has played a most important part in the bowling activities in Renfrewshire West and I am certain that in the years to come the Renshaw Bowling Association will hold its place in the forefront of bowling.

T. Bradford Secretary and Treasurer Renshaw Bowling Association

Acknowledgements
  Please accept our apologies for any incorrect statements during this short history, as unfortunately the minutes of the association are not complete and only start at 1908, so the first few years are pieces taken from the local newspapers, namely the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette, and the Paisley Daily Express from 1895 until 1907. Also to all the clubs who gave their help with this publication, and to Honorary President Philip Brown for producing this history.

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WHEN a number of very keen bowlers got together in 1895 from the 13 bowling clubs within the West Renfrewshire constituency boundary of the then MP Sir Charles Bine Renshaw (1894 to 1905), from whom the association took its name, their aim was to create an association for competitive bowling amongst the clubs. Born December 9, 1848 in Sussex, son of Thomas C. Renshaw Q.C. of Lincoln Inn, Charles was educated at St Clers in Kent and Conistatt in Germany in which Law and Commerce were his subjects. In 1892 Sir Charles Renshaw was returned to Parliament as a Conservative member for the Western Division of Renfrewshire, and he retained his seat with much distinction until the 1906 General Election when he retired. In 1872 Sir Charles married, Mary Home, daughter of Mr. A. F. Stoddard, carpet manufacturers, and resided at Barochan, near Houston.
After the death of Arthur Stoddard in 1882, Sir Charles along with his brother Arthur took control of the business and together they turned it into a well known company. Sir Charles Renshaw was described as intensely humane and full of sympathy and treated his workers as human beings. He was always aware of the plight of the poor, sick and needy. He founded the erection of the Elderslie Cottage Hospital and its maintenance in the village. His charity also included his church St John’s Episcopal in Johnstone. For his services in local and national government affairs he received recognition and was created a Baronet in 1902.
Sir Charles travelled the world to find new markets when the United States tariff barriers were in force. He went to India and other near East countries. On one occasion he was requested to remove his shoes on entering a mosque only to find that the carpet was one of his made in Elderslie.
Sir Charles also loved to participate in a game of bowls, and in July 1900 he was honoured to open the new green at Yoker. In 1903 he was made an Hon. President of Brookfield Bowling Club, the club having only opened in 1901. He was given the honour, along with his wife Lady Mary Renshaw of opening the new green built at Lochwinnoch in 1906. Lady Renshaw delivered the first jack, and Sir Charles delivered the first bowl and apparently a very good one it was.

charles renshaw

Sir Charles Bine Renshaw
MP for West Renfrewshire from 1892 to 1905 from whom the association took its name

Mr Renshaw’s Trophy
Sir Charles Renshaw was the patron of Elderslie Wallace Bowling Club. As Chairman of A. F. Stoddart & Co. Ltd in Elderslie the company who donated the money to have the Elderslie Wallace green and clubhouse built in 1873. Later he approached the members of the club with a view to starting up a challenge cup competition amongst the clubs residing within his West Renfrewshire parliamentary boundary. The criteria for being able to compete, for this prestigious trophy, were that any village or parish within his boundary not having its own elected MP or councillor would be eligible. In 1896 a meeting of bowlers was held in the Globe Hotel in Paisley in connection with the cup for competition among the clubs in West Renfrewshire, called the Renshaw Cup Bowling Association.
Out of the 13 clubs eligible to participate for the cup, those being Barrhead, Linwood, Lochwinnoch, Kilmacolm, Old Kilbarchan, Johnstone, Gourock, Langbank, Walworth, Inkerman, Bridge of Weir, Elderslie Wallace, and Lilybank, only 10 sent delegates. It was deemed that the game be one of 21 ends to be played under SBA rules and played on Thursday, 2nd July, 1896. A working committee of one representative from each club was appointed to make all arrangements in connection with the match. Mr J. Stevenson (Johnstone BC, latterly Barrhead BC) was elected acting secretary. There was no official president of the association until 1897. The representatives from the member clubs decided that there would be no president and it was decided that whoever won the Renshaw Cup the president from that club would present the cup to the next winners.
This was changed in 1905 when the nomination from Lochwinnoch was elected as president for the coming season. A secretary/ treasurer and two auditors were also appointed An article in the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette dated 2nd May 1896 stated: ‘There’s to be a contest in West Renfrewshire, not a parliamentary one, but a bowling one. The elected member for the county is the donor of the cup for the competition and there are already visions of it adorning the sideboard of a certain person’. This was referring to Mr Arthur Henry Renshaw younger brother of the donor, and also co-director of A. F. Stoddard, who at that time was president of Elderslie Wallace BC.

trophy

The original Renshaw Cup won outright in 1905 by Lochwinnoch Bowling Club

Where to play?
  While trying to organise the event, the committee were looking around for suitable greens to play the Renshaw Cup, and eyes were cast towards the six Paisley greens, but this was not to happen as only the genial members of Charleston granted the use of their green. It was then decided that only greens of those clubs eligible to play in the Renshaw would be used. The draw for the first cup game was drawn in June 1896. The rules which were laid down for entering rinks, was that for every 25 members a club had they could enter one rink. Later on this was amended to just two rinks per club.
On Thursday 2nd July 1896 in the afternoon the first competition for the Renshaw Cup was played off in excellent weather with 13 clubs represented and 36 rinks entered. The winners of the cup would be the club with the highest shot gains. As it turned out it was Elderslie Wallace Bowling club with a 10.5 shot gain who were the winners, this coming on the back of already having won the County Cup earlier in the year by 12.5 shot gain, making Mr A. H. Renshaw a very happy person. Unfortunately in this year Walworth Bowling Club, who resided in Howwood, could only field one rink, while Johnstone could field five teams. The presentation took place in the Globe Hotel in Paisley by ex-Provost Armour. Mr Robert Jardine accepted the trophy on behalf of Elderslie Wallace BC, in the absence of Mr A. H. Renshaw.