By Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association President John Ashbridge
Regent Bowl Regent Road Great Yarmouth Norfolk
The Regent Bowl was opened by a local Great Yarmouth company, St Johns Motors (Yarmouth) Ltd, on the 5th April 1963 and was equipped with 12 bowling lanes and machines supplied by AMF. The centre, the first bowling centre in Norfolk, was built above a garage with the lanes separated only by the centre pillars of the building. As with most early centres business prospered very well, leagues were formed and the centre also benefited from the influx of holiday makers during the summer. At some point, date not recorded, the number of lanes was increased to 18, and ownership changed and the bowling centre was then run by Pex Bowling. Between 1994 and 1996 the number of lanes was further increased to 22.
Operation continued successfully for many years, although by 2002 there had been a change of company name to Regent Bowling Ltd. The centre was later purchased by Newbury Leisure and during a major refurbishment the number of lanes was reduced to 18. During the night of 5th August 2016, a major fire started within the centre and sadly the building was completely destroyed. This came as a real loss to Great Yarmouth and to the tenpin bowling industry in general, as at the time of the fire, the Regent Bowl held the accolade of being the longest continually operated bowling centre in the UK.