By Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association President John Ashbridge
Fairlanes Bowl Hawthorns West Bromwich
Such was the desire to get bowling centres open in the early 1960’s it’s interesting that the steel work for this new centre was erected in just three weeks. Very quickly the roof was completed to allow fitting out and the installation of 24 Brunswick supplied lanes and machines to continue without delay. The centre was the first in the West Midlands to be purpose built with all lanes on one floor. Total cost of the bowling centre was £250,000.
The centre officially opened on 7th July 1962 and was the first Fairlanes centre to open in the UK. Present at the opening was Fairlanes Chairman, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr and the Mayor of West Bromwich, Alderman P D Taylor. In the weeks prior to the official opening the centre had been conducting preview sessions to show the citizens of West Bromwich just what bowling and bowling centres were like. It was therefore, no surprise, that by the opening day two leagues were ready to roll. A Celebrity night was also held with, TV star Michael Holliday in attendance, and this included a challenge match between West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa players. Sadly, Fairlanes at the Hawthorns was somewhat short lived and no reference to the centre can be found after the beginning of 1965.