In memory to Jack Oliver one of the founding members of Pilgrim Bowmen.
How It All Started.
As a founder member of the club back in 1954,I have been asked to write a little about the history of it.
The club was formed by a group of teachers and a few others like myself who were interested in Archery. The first thing we had to do was to find a suitable venue, give the club a name and decide on a badge.
Our first venue was the lawn at Fydell House and we decided on the name of ‘Pilgrim Archers’. We affiliated to Lincoln County Archery Society, East Midlands Archery Society and the Grand National Archery Society. Then we were informed by GNAS that there was already a club with that name. So we became ‘Pilgrim Bowman of Boston’. We decided to be Pilgrim because Fydell House was next door to the Guildhall where the Pilgrim Fathers were imprisoned, we wanted the badge to symbolise the name of the club.
The conch shells were an everyday item used by the Pilgrims.
The bows are used by bowmen.
Crowns are the Boston Coat of Arms.
At Fydell House we had a shooting distance of about 20 yards, with a home made backstop of tarred hessian. We acquired a target and made others with 4 inch wide strips of cardboard with glue and pegs. When we got a bit better at shooting, we moved to a field at my house. The poultry kept the grass short and we were able to shoot up to 60 yards. One of the highlights was when we entertained Cranwell College archers to a friendly match. I cannot remember who won, but a good time was had by all. My mother provided tea, a sit down do in the front room. Later we were invited to a return match on the Oval in front of Cranwell College, followed by tea in the hall.
Our first indoor range was the old drill hall. We later moved to the North End Railway shed at Boston Station.
Just a note about prices of equipment. I’ll call it:- My shopping list in 1955
1 Lemonwood flat bow – £2.15.0 (£2.75)
1 dz Arrows – 30/- (£1.50)
1 dz plastic nocks – 3/- (15p)
1 dz brass piles – 6/- (30p)
In 1956 our embroidered badges were 15/- (15p) each and a metal ones 5/- (75p) each.
In 1958 some of the Boston Sports Clubs twinned with Laval in France. When the French came over for the first time there were no archers. Our secretary John Robinson (rather a big fellow) was on the door to stop gate crashers at the farewell dance. He was wearing a GNAS lapel badge. One of the French sportsmen told him that there was a archery club in Laval and gave him the address of Marcel Gesbert. The following year about ten archers went to compete in Laval and thus our archery link was formed and still going to this day.
Eventually the club moved to our present ground at the Mayflower Sports Club. We were the first sport to be there. Later we had to move temporarily to the Co-op field and then to Burton House whilst the Mayflower field was being drained. After it was reseeded we were able to move back and were joined by the football, cricket and hockey clubs. Eventually an indoor range was built for the rifle club and our club to use. Other extensions were squash courts, toilets, changing rooms and bar area. Then later, addition of a hall, mainly accommodating table tennis, then a conservatory as an additional room.
About a dozen people started the Pilgrim Bowmen and membership has fluctuated over the years. I began as a founder member an am still very much involved with the club as a life member, county coach and regional judge. I am pleased to say at present we have a strong membership of over 30 archers. Many friendships have been formed and this has created a friendly club that gives a warm welcome to new members