HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As the name implies, this was a Club for the employees of Miller & Co, Engineers and Founders. Thomas Miller founded Miller & Co Ltd. in 1867, when the main products manufactured were tram and railway wheels, brake blocks and rolls, all of chilled iron. Other items produced included gas meters and iron frames for pianos.
The company occupied a site of 3.7 acres, situated close to the centre of the picturesque City of Edinburgh in London Road.
Chilled iron rolls were the principle activity of the company since the early 1900s, and Miller & Co. were one of the first companies to manufacture rolls of the Tri Pass design for the rubber industry circa 1947.
A major investment programme, which commenced during the early 1960’s, saw the installation of large machine tools, and this programme was constantly upgraded.
Miller & Co. had the capacity to produce Rolls with a cast weight in excess of 60 tonnes, a face length in excess of 400 inches (10 metres) and diameters up to 60 inches (1.5 metres). The longest paper Calendar Rolls in Europe were believed to be of Miller manufacture.
It was not unknown for Miller Calendar Rolls to outlast the paper machine e.g. a Miller roll that was supplied to a U.K. paper mill circa 1908 was returned to Miller & Co. for scrap in 1983 when the machine was being dismantled. The roll was still in working order.
The quality of Millers products was renowned throughout the world, and at one time Miller exported direct to over 40 countries worldwide.
1953 – A NEW START
Up to 1953, members of Millers Foundry played bowls on public greens in various factory leagues.
In 1953, the green at Farrer Terrace was opened complete with a small wooden Clubhouse on the left side of the entry pathway, thus becoming in effect a Private Green Club. The location of the original Clubhouse is virtually where our flagpole is sited today.
In due time, the Club joined the Scottish Bowling Association and the East Edinburgh Bowling League when it was inaugurated in 1961. Around this time, the labour force diminished and the Associate Membership increased and began to take a greater part in the Club Management.
It is worthy of note, that the lady members – wives of the staff – carried a vote, the associates did not!
1968 – A NEW CLUBHOUSE
In 1968, the company erected a new Clubhouse – basically a prefabricated structure that at the time was an excellent standard for bowling clubhouses.
The year 1970 was notable because the first Associate President, Joe Gibb, was appointed. Joe held this position for five years until 1974. Under Joe’s guidance the Club flourished, and Saturday nights at the Club became the focal point of the member’s social week.
The owning Company however retained financial oversight of the Club by insisting on a staff member holding the post of Treasurer. The Club was extremely fortunate in their choice in that Russell Sparks was appointed Club Treasurer.
Russell very carefully and cautiously built up the Club funds to such a degree, that we were able to seek outright purchase of the Club. At this time, the Club membership expanded considerably and became very active in its social and bowling activities.
1978 – SILVER JUBILEE
1978 saw the Club celebrate their Silver Jubilee with Bob Haldane holding the honour of President for this year.
Various games and matches were played with invited guests during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations, and the Club had the pleasure of the presence of the following well known bowlers for an exhibition game during the Silver Jubilee celebrations:-
Bob Sutherland ~ Alex McIntosh ~ Jackie Christie ~ Rennie Logan ~ John Scott ~ David McGill ~ Willie Paul ~ and John Slight.
1984 – A MILESTONE IN THE CLUB’S HISTORY
In 1984, our aim was realized, and the Club was purchased outright from Miller & Co, becoming then a fully Private Club, owned and managed by the members.
Despite the purchase leaving the Club with little or few financial reserves, the continued support of the membership saw the Club reach financial stability once more. This was now leading to various discussions and thoughts over the years as to what best to do about our premises. By this time, the Clubhouse was constantly being repaired, painted, or having small extensions added such as the entrance porch and the addition to the gent’s locker room. Despite this maintenance, extensions and refurbishment, the Clubhouse became an ever-increasing burden on the members and the Club finances.
1998 – A FURTHER MILESTONE
The advent of the National Lottery Sports Fund opened a new avenue for financial support, which we successfully and gratefully explored. Their grant along with our accrued funds, supplemented by an interest free loan from Belhaven Brewery, enabled us to achieve our aim and build a Clubhouse to be proud of. The present Clubhouse says much for the administrative work of our Office Bearers and Committee Members over these years, aided by our legal and financial advisors.
Principally of course, all of this has been made possible by the continued support of the members over so many, many, years.
The Club has always prided itself in being first and foremost a family Club, and it is interesting to see that many who first arrived at the Club in prams and carrycots, now arrive at the Club with their own family, and indeed grandchildren in a similar mode of transport.
To so many people, sadly some no longer with us; we dedicate the ‘Golden Jubilee Year’ to you.
May our Club continue to function for many years to come and always offer the same open hand of friendship, fair play and companionship to members, guests and all who have had the pleasure of our club.