Walton Pier Bowl – Introduction to New Book

I have recently been sent a copy of the introduction to a new book soon to be published by Steven Walker regarding the history of Walton Pier Bowl and reproduce it here to whet your appetite.

Money raised from book sales will be donated to Walton Foodbank.


The original Bowl over the North Sea was demolished in 2021. A new six lane bowl opens in 2022. This book tries to commemorate the people, and events that took place in its history and record the experience in words and pictures.

The first Bowl was opened in 1964 with Brunswick gear and pins, and managed by the iconic Keith Hale, an American who came to Britain to spearhead the establishment of Tenpin Bowling to this country. He created a legendary Pro Shop and helped set up leagues and a Saturday morning junior club overseen by local lad Chris Winter. The Junior Club was very popular with local children in a town with few activities and resources for young people in the Winter.

Being a new sport it attracted a lot of people to join the fun and develop their skills.

Keith Hale

Despite having only nine lanes, making it one of the smallest bowls in the country, it has been responsible for producing top international players such as England representative Paul Scottow and current International superstar Dominic Barrett.

Machinery being installed 1964

In its 1970’s heyday the Bowl was hosting BTBA regional matches, an International tournament with teams from all over the Globe telephoning their results through to the Bowl, and sponsoring the notorious pirate radio station Radio Caroline which broadcast from a boat opposite the Bowl anchored in International waters.

.Nine lanes being hand built

Leagues ran on every night of the week and sometimes had two leagues on the same night. A cash league was created on a Friday evening which attracted teams from across Eastern England. These were usually sponsored by local businesses that provided shirt livery in their brands. A team of American service personnel came over from Lakenheath USA airbase in Suffolk, and a team from Harlow in Essex which included another England Legend, Dave Pond.

At the time it was created the Pier was owned by the Goss family and it was Michael Goss who saw the potential for joining the tide of enthusiasm for Ten Pin Bowling

which really took off in the 1960’s. The Bowl was situated at the end of the amusement arcades and children’s rides which attracted huge numbers in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. This was in hindsight the beginning of the end of typical seaside holidays in the UK as overseas holidays grew in popularity due to cheaper air travel.

Walton Pier teams participated in Regional, and National tournaments up and down the country.

Juniors such as myself graduated into the Adult leagues where we held our own against much older opposition.

I was Eastern Region qualifier of a Coca Cola sponsored under 21 National tournament in 1970 where we played the televised finals at the Ambassador lanes in Wolverhampton.

Walton Pier Bowl had a family atmosphere with a Bar, Coffee shop serving burgers and cola, and a busy pro-shop where players could buy the latest balls and have precision finger holes drilled expertly by manager Chris Winter.

The lanes were kept in immaculate condition helped by their traditional maple wood construction.

After the much-hyped mods versus rockers seaside shenanigans in the late 1960’s the management introduced a no jeans, leather jackets or long hair ban which cramped the style of those of us trying to keep on trend.

These rules were inevitably relaxed as time moved on and non league players were needed to maintain financial viability.

For the past twenty years the Bowl had slowly declined in popularity, with fewer leagues and fewer non league visitors. A lack of investment in lane technology and equipment meant machine breakdowns became more frequent and lane closures could last weeks.

Various managements came and went, and despite a recent costly refurbishment, a decision was taken to stop all league Bowling. There are plans to open a smaller new Bowl at the front of the Pier.

This book has been published in an attempt to capture precious memories, information, anecdotes, pictures and press cuttings and collate them into a local archive to preserve a piece of sporting and social culture. Money raised from book sales will be donated to Walton Foodbank.

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Walton From the Air

I recently received an email from Frank Hall which read:

My local paper, the Oxford Mail, recently published some old aerial photos of the city which they obtained Historic England. It turns out that this is a set of images of the entire country that have been put on line.

There are a number of Walton from the 1920-40’s which I have never seen before, and I thought some of your subscribers to Walton Tales may be interested in viewing them

You can access these at


The web page contains a map of the entire country and you can zoom in and click on any blue star for the old (1920-1940) photos, or clicking on the boxes brings up RAF pics from the 1950’s.

I have found the site to be very interesting especially the old 1920 to 1940 images.

Frank also asked me if I could tell him where Everett Terrace was in Walton – one of his ancestors is recorded as having lived there. I could not find any reference to this location even though it sounds familiar. Can anyone help?

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I have been loaned a number of photographs which were ‘rescued’ from the Pier Bowl before its demise.

Many of the photos were taken by Putmans.

I have added them to my Old Walton Archive

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Questions from Keith

I have recently received a message from Keith Duller in the form of a comment to an unconnected post on this blog. I’ve chosen to publish his message here where more of you will see it. He wrote …

I love reading this forum, although I am only 60 my family have lived and worked in Walton for years, perhaps we could open a couple of discussion points I am interested in that I don’t think have been brought up yet

1 The memorial garden next to the church.  I can remember as a child exploring that overgrown area and finding a building that used to be an artist studio. I am told that many years ago it was the town morgue and the artist was the daughter of a local house builder.

2 On Walton pier there used to be a roller-skating rink. I have heard stories of the time when Nipper Norman went over the barrier and into the sea from the end of a whip?

3 I have heard this now from two people that there is a military underground car park at the Naze that was buried.

4 There are lots of tunnels under Walton. I can remember the one on the old railway yard near the turn table and one from the Pier Hotel. I am told there is also one under the old school in Stanley Road.

I would love to hear more about these subjects if anybody has more to offer.

Regards Keith

I am hoping that some of you may have thoughts on the four subjects he raises and for my input here is what I remember…

  1. The old cemetery, which is now the memorial garden next to the church on the opposite side of Church Road, is the area I believe Keith is referring to. I do not remember a building on this site although there was one at the entrance to the new cemetery. I have no knowledge of an artist using the building. Maybe someone will know more.
  2. I well remember the skating rink on the Pier and using it, although I was not old enough to perform the tricks that I used to so love watching the older kids show off. Nipper was a great friend of mine, but he never mentioned being jettisoned from the rink into the sea. Were you a witness?
  3. A military underground car park at the Naze? Again, it’s news to me, but stories do get exaggerated especially by some of our newer residents.
  4. Yes, there was a tunnel from the Pier Hotel grounds which when I saw it only went a short way inland, but I’m told it is thought to have run originally to the Martello Tower which stood where the Round Gardens are now. The railway station yard and the school tunnels are news to me.
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A recent enquiry about a photo in the Old Walton Photo Archive has led to an interesting mystery.

A reader asked me if the building shown in the Archive named Marine Lodge was still standing as his grandfather was registered as having been born there in 1908. The building on the Parade can be seen in the Archive and I was able to tell him that it was still in existence.

Timothy Pike then informed me that his great grandmother, Daisy Elizabeth Loscombe gave birth to his grandad in Walton on 23rd July 1908 having been sent here to have the child as she was an unmarried mother. Daisy who had been a barmaid in London was only 24 years old when her baby was born. She had remained in Walton for a short time long enough to have the child baptised at the parish church on 6th September that same year and gave her address as 79, Saville Street.

More details followed.  Timothy was searching for the unnamed  father of his Grandfather,  who was baptised Edward William Loscombe.

Daisy was employed at The Bridge House Hotel, London Bridge, Borough High Street, Southwark  when the baby was conceived and it was possible that the father was a well-to-do gentleman who paid for her to come to Walton to have the child and avoid a scandal.

On the child’s birth certificate his father is named as Edward Loscombe and she identified him as a sea captain, but this was pure fabrication as were her own present and maiden names. The manager of the Bridge House Hotel was named Roland Humphrey who had a half brother who was a sea captain in the Royal Navy. Was this where she got the idea of the occupation of the father for the registration of birth?

On the 1901 Census the residents at 79, Saville Street were shown to be Thomas and Elizabeth Pate. Thomas was a retired naval pensioner who died in July 1908 – the same time the baby was born. Elizabeth Pate was still living there on the 1911 census. The Pates had two daughters Ethel and Beatrice. Does anyone know of them? Or did Daisy perhaps just use the Saville Street address unbeknown to them?

The happy ending to this saga was that in 1920 Daisy met and married Harold Gurney Walker Pike who adopted and raised the child.

The real father of Timothy’s Grandfather, Edward William Loscombe, is still a mystery and he would like any possible clues to help him solve the puzzle.

Marine Lodge – Then and Now
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Today I was scanning old negatives for inclusion in The Old Walton Archive when I came upon a portrait of Rev Parry (below) who was the minister of the Congregational Church in the 1970s. Some of you may well remember him, a friendly and courteous gentleman who lived in The Manse in Saville Street.

This reminded me of a small booklet I have titled “The Story of Walton-on-Naze Congregational Church. 1834 -1937”

It has a wonderful history of how the church began and was built by local subscription, labour and determination.

Here are a few of the Ministers starting in 1867 with Rev. H. Winzar

He was followed by Rev. M S Horton, probably one of the most historically well known ministers who did much to increase the congregation and build the church which still stands today.

These Ministers followed until 1935 when Rev. Bell moved to the Congregational Church in Royston, Hertfordshire

Rev. Parry who started my memory was an interesting man in that he was an avid and skillful knitter. The cardigan he is wearing in this photo was all his own work.

The newly built church in 1878 soon after Rev. Horton took office

By 1937 under the ministry of Rev Bell the schoolroom had been added. It was built by P G Oxley at a cost of £385

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Problem with the following post

Sorry that the following post “Official Handbook ….” is difficult to read. There is a problem with the WordPress site which does not allow me to correct it

I seem to have sorted it now. Sorry for any inconvenience

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I have recently discovered a small booklet among the many Walton items on my bookshelf. It is a four penny (4d) brief guide to the Town and surrounding district issued for the information of intending visitors.

It was published with the authority of the Town Council by the Chamber of Commerce and printed by C H Weston of Walton in the mid 1930s.

As it contains a number of interesting photographs I will share them with you along with their accompanying captions.

The cover photo shows the scene in Old Pier Street as HRH Prince George’s car returns from naming the EMED lifeboat at the Albion breakwater.

The banner across the road reads “We Thank Sailor Prince”

Some interesting information about the Naze Links…

Unfortunately the final pages, which probably contained local advertisements, have

been cut out of my copy of the booklet – only this one remains.

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  • It is with much sadness that we learn of the passing of one of Walton’s most loved characters, 86 year-old Peter Chumbley, a born and bred true Waltonian.

Peter was born in Walton and spent his working life as a very talented sign writer responsible for almost every shop fascia and written commercial vehicle in the area.

Always ready for a laugh and joke to all passers-by he was a friend to everyone.

Peter was responsible for the formation and success of the Walton Judo Club.

He was a 5th Dan Black Belt, a great competitor and brilliant teacher. Hundreds of youngsters from around the area were given instruction in the noble art and taught how to behave.

Peter, who has been ill for some time, will be missed not only by his family and friends but by the whole community for the time and effort he gave so willingly to encourage others to learn the sport of judo

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I have recently been given some interesting images for my Online Archive showing New House Farm farmhouse and land on Kirby Road.

This led me to delve into the history of the farm.
Around 1890, former Indian Army officer, Col. Richard Percival Davis, inherited the estate of his uncle, Squire Richard Blanshard, which included the farm and much land.

Col Davis after a good day’s shooting with his gamekeeper, Charles Eaton and William Hammond (standing)

Col. Davis was the High Sheriff of Essex in 1903, a Justice of the Peace and Essex County Councillor. He died in 1915 and New House Farm passed to his brother Charles who sold it to James Samuel Blyth whose son David F. Blyth inherited it on his death. David died recently and his daughter and son-in-law, Nick and Margaret Walshaw, still live at the farm.

Here are two photographs of Grove Farm in 1906 and 1910

Photo by Thomas Brooke in 1906
Photo by R M Alexander in 1910

Nick Walshaw also gave me some interesting aerial photos showing the farm in slightly more recent times.This one shows the cow sheds on Kirby Road which I remember being a place I visited with my mother as a youngster to ‘see the cows’.

Cowsheds in the foreground opposite Grove Avenue
New House Farm 1963/5

Rigdons Farm and Norfolk House, Kirby Road

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