Author Celebrates 60 Years of Walton Tenpin Bowling in New Book

AN iconic pier and its famous bowling alley will be the subject of a new book.

Walton Pier owner Russell Bolesworth has applied to Tendring Council for permission to upgrade the much-loved landmark.

Plans show that the existing nine ten-pin bowling lanes could be replaced with adventure golf and a new six-lane bowling area would be built instead.

Steven Walker, 67, of Sunny Point in Walton grew up bowling ten-pin bowling on the pier in his youth and must preserve those sacred memories in a new book.

He said: ‘I haven’t decided on a name yet as it is still in its infancy, but the book will also commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Walton Pier Bowl next year.

“The bowl was established in 1963 as one of the first tenpin bowls in the country, many people in Tendring would have gone there in its heyday in the 1960s.”

Steven collects material from prominent actors, old photographs and other memorabilia for his book.

Walton Pier’s bowling alley is one of the smallest in the country with nine lanes. Other larger lanes have between 20 and 30 lanes.

Walton’s offer was the brainchild of the Goss family and the first manager Steve Hale came from America in the 1960s to establish bowling in the UK.

The site hosted professional competitions.

Classic – The Walton Pier Bowl at its peak

Steven added: “International competitions were done over the phone back then, it was even before the Eurovision phone contest.

“People were playing games and recording their scores over the phone. My mother was on switchboard and I remember she was always enthusiastic about her work.

“Teams from US Air Bases Suffolk came to play in the regular weekly league competitions.

“It added a bit of excitement because they came with their experience and their paraphernalia, to me it felt like they came from another planet with their knowledge.”

Steven absorbed all of this knowledge when he started playing seriously in his youth.

He played on Saturday mornings for junior clubs under-16 and under-18 teams with his friends.

Steven said: “In Walton there isn’t much for young people to do, the pier used to be a big thing before people started going to Spain for cheap holidays.

“If you weren’t good at football this was close to home and something unique to do. The place was packed most nights with league bowlers from Clacton, Colchester and Suffolk.

“I won competitions as a junior, was East of England regional champion at one point and competed nationally.”

However, Steven wouldn’t consider himself the biggest name to come out of Walton bowling, that would be Dominic Barrett.

Mr Barrett, 36, who lives in Great Bentley, honed his bowling skills at Walton Pier.

He competes in world events and the Professional Bowlers Association tour, during which he won nine titles.

Steven said, “If tenpin bowling was an Olympic sport, then Dom would be a multiple gold medalist.”

Steven will feature Dominic in his book as well as other ten-pin legends like Keith Hale who wrote a 300-word piece for the novel.

The book will be sold as a charity fundraiser for Walton Foodbank. To learn more about Steven’s work, visit

Lola R. McClure