‘Sexism’ row at ancient Chesterfield sports club goes global

Coroner Peter Nieto concluded a conclusion of accidental death at Mrs Higginbottom.
Coroner Peter Nieto concluded a conclusion of accidental death at Mrs Higginbottom.

A Chesterfield sports club which found itself at the centre of a gender row says its policy of not admitting female members is ‘set for review’.

The Chesterfield Bowling Club hit national and international headlines last week after a former member criticised its long-standing refusal to accept female members.

The subject is not closed and is set for review.

Chesterfield Bowling Club

In media interviews, the club asserted its right to set its own membership policy – saying it had always been a ‘traditionally’ male-only club.

However, in an interview with the BBC over the matter, the club’s secretary, David Meakin, revealed that the issue was ‘not closed’ and was ‘set for review’.

The Derbyshire Times broke the story two weeks ago after a former member – who did not want to give his name – claimed the club was losing money as a result of its old-fashioned attitudes.

In a statement released to the BBC, the club responded: “The possibility of admitting female members has been the subject of committee discussion after being raised by an active member of the club.”

“As a result the opinion of the present membership was recently canvassed. The subject is not closed and is set for review.”

As well as the BBC, the story was covered by The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Sky News, The Daily Mail and Italian sports newspaper, La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Chesterfield Borough Council confirmed that the club rents its New Beetwell Street premises from them at a ‘commercial rate for land of this type’. A spokesman added that the current 20-year lease which the club operates under is up for review in October next year.

In an online poll conducted by the Derbyshire Times, 69 per cent of readers said women should be allowed to join the club.

The club claims to be the oldest bowling club in the world, with a history stretching back to 1294.