When Wetherspoon took over The Black Horse, in Northfield, three summers ago, the company not only gained a pub, but also, unusually, a bowling green.
The bowling green at the rear of the pub, located on the outskirts of Birmingham, originates from 1924 and was originally a flat green.
It is now home to The Black Horse Bowling Club (members pictured), a crown green bowls club affiliated to the British Crown Green Bowling Association.
Originally, workers from the local factories (such as Austin and Cadbury’s) met for a well-earned pint and a game of bowls after work – and The Black Horse Bowling Club was formed.
In the mid 1980s, the club had a membership of around 70 bowlers, of all ages, and it was decided to add a crown to the green, to make it more challenging.
The club also entered several leagues in the area, at that time, and still plays an active role in all of them today. They are Warwick & Worcester, Northfield & District, Yardley Wood District and the Heart of England Friendly.
Tony Gray, club chairman, said: “In July 2010, the bowling club underwent a transformation, when the pub was bought and renovated by J D Wetherspoon. We were also awarded for an ‘Awards for All’ grant from The Big Lottery Fund.
“We now offer a great club atmosphere for our membership, along with social and community events. We have several teams and, during the spring and summer, members can enjoy a game of bowls on most days.
“We always welcome new members and also help Wetherspoon with community based activities and fundraising for its nominated charity CLIC Sargent.”
James Lagneau, Wetherspoon’s area manager, said: “The Black Horse has the only bowls club at a Wetherspoon pub – and the partnership is proving very successful.
“The club has recruited new members from the pub’s customers and now regularly uses the pub for social events. We wish them continued success for the coming seasons.”