Plea to end ban on women members at historic Chesterfield club

A former member of a Chesterfield bowling club which claims to be the oldest in the world has quit because of '˜chauvinist attitudes' which mean it still refuses to let female members to join.

Wednesday, 16th August 2017, 12:11 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:08 pm

The Chesterfield Bowling Club - which some say dates back to the 12th century - has a long-standing policy of not admitting women.

The former member says the club needs to let in female players to secure its future, claiming it is struggling financially - something the club denies.

The former member, who does not want to be named, said: “I suggested that women be allowed to come along and play but I got drowned out. I was always told it was a male-only club - that there should be no women involved.”

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The source said the club currently has about 50 paying members.

He added that when a vote was taken at a recent meeting, two-thirds of members voted against allowing women members.

The club pays just £2,000 a year to Chesterfield Borough Council for the lease of the site in the centre of town just off Beetwell Street.

The source claims this means council tax payers are subsiding an organisation with an openly discriminatory membership policy.

A spokesperson for Chesterfield Bowls Club said: “We have traditionally been a male only club for many years.

“The subject of female members was discussed recently and members were happy with the current situation.”

The spokesman added that claims made by the source that the club was struggling financially were ‘not true’.

A spokesman for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “Chesterfield Bowling Club is not subsidised by the council.

“The club has a 20-year lease on land we own, for which they pay a commercial rate for land of this type and which is higher than all the other bowling greens we own.

“We currently maintain other bowling greens in the town but do not do that at Chesterfield Bowling Club where the club is responsible for its own maintenance costs.”