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Midland Red
Cherwell
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1 of 31  Thu 22nd Mar 2012 6:04pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4549

Anyone with memories of this popular past-time in the 60s?? For a time it was absolutely massive, in the UK and in Coventry in particular My "home" was the Top Rank in Queen Victoria Road, with bowling lanes on two floors At times you had to wait hours to get a game and the venue was absolutely packed out from dawn to midnight - the crowds had to be seen to be believed (And to think you hired bowling shoes which had just come off someone else's feet!) I had a team in a couple of leagues, and amongst my bowlers was Sky Blues goalkeeper Bob Wesson I have a badge somewhere from when I qualified as an instructor Somehow, the popularity waned just as quickly as it started I remember the Forum Bowl carried on for quite a long time, but never at the level of the initial period
Ten Pin Bowling
Beesman
Cornwall
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2 of 31  Thu 22nd Mar 2012 7:19pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2012  Total posts:367

My Ten Pin Bowling memories only go back as far as the Forum Bowl. I used to live in Burns Road so the 'bowling alley' was at the end of my road. It must have opened in about 1965 and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr is supposed to have attended the opening night during the course of which he supposedly bought an orange juice for about sixpence, proffered the girl on the counter a £10 note and told her to keep the change!! This is a story passed down over a couple of generations so I wouldn't like to guarantee its accuracy!! What I can confirm however is that the Humber Bowl as it was originally known used to stay open until about 4.30am as I could hear the pins clattering down from my bedroom whilst I was trying to sleep ready for school in the morning!! Smile
Ten Pin Bowling
Adrian
UK
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3 of 31  Thu 22nd Mar 2012 10:58pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:191

I can remember the Forum cinema closing in 1962, and the bowling alley being built on the site. I thought it opened a little earlier than 1965, perhaps 1964. We always knew it as the Forum bowl. It was open till late as Beesman said, and was always busy. There was a car park in the basement. Thumbs up
Ten Pin Bowling
Beesman
Cornwall
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4 of 31  Thu 22nd Mar 2012 11:30pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2012  Total posts:367

It could well have been 1964 Adrian. The underground car-park was quite innovative in its day but it was not over popular as it was quite a creepy place to walk through to collect your car as often as not several of the lights weren't working! Also the added danger of being run over by me and my mates racing round there on our push-bikes!! Oh my
Ten Pin Bowling
Beesman
Cornwall
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5 of 31  Thu 22nd Mar 2012 11:35pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2012  Total posts:367

From what I can remember 'Humber' was the name of the company that ran a lot of bowling alleys throughout the UK at the time. I think the Forum was one of the largest with 36 lanes in operation.
Ten Pin Bowling
MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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6 of 31  Thu 22nd Mar 2012 11:57pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:878

Beesman, I had forgotten all about racing bikes round the Forum car park. Probably with you!! I seem to recall we would do this if the cycle speedway tracks at Brandon or Whitley were too wet. My first experience of tenpin bowling was at the Queen Victoria Road alley. But I don't think it lasted that long before becoming a Tesco. After that I used the Forum occasionally, usually in school holidays. I didn't go for years though, until I took my daughter a few times in the 90s. The food and drink was just as bad after all that time too!
Ten Pin Bowling
flapdoodle
Coventry
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7 of 31  Fri 23rd Mar 2012 7:45am  
Member: Joined Nov 2010  Total posts:829

Back home in Lancashire, my local cinema was a converted bowling alley. It was a tiny place with 4 screens! By my generation ten-pin bowling wasn't popular. I used to go occasionally to the Forum (now turned into some sort of weird evangelical church!) but it was never very busy. My Mum said it was popular in the 1960s when she was growing up. Yes, the food and drink at the Forum was awful! You could tell it was on its last legs. I recall that Skydome was supposed to originally have a bowling alley, but they never bothered. I guess the demand isn't there.
Ten Pin Bowling
TonyS
Coventry
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8 of 31  Fri 23rd Mar 2012 3:48pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2011  Total posts:1540

Gosh, I'd forgotten all about the Bowling at Iceland/Tesco's in Queen Victoria Road! I only ever went a couple of times but I do recall the queues to play - and the "sweaty shoes". I always worried about who had just been wearing them, and wishing I could afford a pair of my own! I went to the Forum Bowl a few times as well - with it's underground car park (is that still in use?) Never felt very safe parking there though.
Ten Pin Bowling
dutchman
Spon End
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9 of 31  Fri 23rd Mar 2012 5:35pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

The bowling alley occupied the top two floors of the former GEC building with the supermarket underneath. Access was via a side-entrance and staircase in Garfield Road (since renamed Rover Road). I think there was also a door to the rooftop car park? The lobby had one of those old "push button B" type call boxes. Work began on the alley in 1962 but I'm not sure when it first opened? I do remember waiting hours for our number to be called only to be told we had missed it and would have to wait for it to come around again!
Ten Pin Bowling
Adrian
UK
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10 of 31  Fri 23rd Mar 2012 6:13pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:191

I had completely forgotten about it too. If I remember correctly, it was above the shops, and could be accessed direct from the circular market car park. I went quite a few times when it first opened, so how I forgot about it I just don't know. Cheers
Ten Pin Bowling
Beesman
Cornwall
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11 of 31  Fri 23rd Mar 2012 7:52pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2012  Total posts:367

I also recall the shoe sizes were always about 2 sizes bigger than you wanted! You asked for size eight and their 'size eight' was more like size ten. The result of which you paddled about looking as if you had 2 barges on your feet! Tying the laces tighter didn't solve the problem either! Smile
Ten Pin Bowling
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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12 of 31  Fri 23rd Mar 2012 8:12pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1043

On 23rd Mar 2012 3:48pm, TonyS said: ....with it's underground car park (is that still in use?) Never felt very safe parking there though.
Yes, that carpark is still there. Haven't used it for years as we live a couple of minutes walk away, but one always has fingers crossed that the car won't have any additional scratches when you return! Oh my
On 23rd Mar 2012 7:52pm, Beesman said: I also recall the shoe sizes were always about 2 sizes bigger than you wanted! You asked for size eight and their 'size eight' was more like size ten. The result of which you paddled about looking as if you had 2 barges on your feet! Tying the laces tighter didn't solve the problem either! Smile
I always used to feel the same about those hideous shoes, too. The only compensation was that everyone else was in the same boat.... or pair of boats actually! Lol
Ten Pin Bowling
GVB

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13 of 31  Sat 24th Mar 2012 5:38pm  
Total posts:109

I remember the Forum very well. I worked down the back as a mechanic for quite a while(part time only).We had to really nurse those machines as paying for new parts was not something that they liked doing. Then one night the manager came to me and said "we are taking on a new guy on less money than you as you are too expensive. Tonight is your last night, but before you go can you just show the new chap the ropes?". It didn't take me very long to explain why I would not be stopping and what I thought of his request. However on a lighter note, I really enjoyed bowling and competed in five leagues with varying success.
Ten Pin Bowling
Tourer
Aldermans Green, Coventry
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14 of 31  Sun 25th Mar 2012 7:05pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2012  Total posts:11

Does anyone remember bowling at the Savoy Bowl in Radford Road? I used to go there before joining a league at the Top Rank Bowl, and when the Top Rank closed, our league transferred to the Forum Bowl. The Savoy was originally a cinema (as was the Forum) where I watched films as a kid, then it closed and reopened as a bowling alley, until that also closed and subsequently became a bingo hall.
Ten Pin Bowling
Beesman
Cornwall
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15 of 31  Wed 28th Mar 2012 8:39pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2012  Total posts:367

I remember in the 60's and 70's Ray Pell was a leading light in Ten Pin Bowling in Coventry. His name would feature regularly in the ten pin section of the 'Pink'on a Saturday evening. I got to know Ray in the 80's when he and I both worked in the main office building at GEC Stoke Works. He was a thoroughly nice guy. Smile
Ten Pin Bowling

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