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Thatcham bowled over

Lakeside Superbowl opened 25 years ago

Jackie Markham


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Liverpool and England footballer Emlyn Hughes cut the ribbon

Ten-pin bowling has long been a popular past-time in America, but only came to the UK in the 1960s with the opening of bowling centres in Stamford Hill and Golders Green in London.

The leisure activity gained popularity throughout the 1960s, but then waned in the 1970s.

In the 1980s a new breed of bowling centres with electronic scoring systems built up a new following, firstly in the cities then spreading to the towns – and eventually to West Berkshire in the unlikely location of Lower Way, Thatcham.

A quarter of a century has now passed since Lakeside Superbowl opened its state of the art 24-lane bowling alley in Lower Way. The official opening took place on Saturday 7 November 1992, the ribbon being cut by tv celebrity and former Liverpool and England footballer Emlyn Hughes.  Guests included Newbury’s MP Judith Chaplin, and the mayors of Newbury and Thatcham, George Baker and Bob Judge.

The bowling centre manager, Stuart Harris, had organised with Thatcham Rotary, a charity-fundraising bowl the previous evening, which raised over £2,000 for local charities.  Young and old from Newbury and Thatcham turned out in large numbers to support the new venture, and a fun time was had by all.

 By the mid- 1990s, 3,000 people per week were making use of the facilities.

The centre, which now includes soft play facilities, is still a popular place for families to relax together, as well as providing a useful venue for children’s parties.


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Article comments

  • NoisyNortherner

    05/12/2017 - 10:28

    Sadly, the alley has seen better days and is in chronic need of some investment. The prices currently charged are a bit steep for the quality of the equipment that you end up using. It's a real shame because I love bowling and would be more inclined to use this one more often if it hadn't been left to decay.