Bolton Genealogy


Tom Mayor


(Years are approximate. Taken from many news articles, the years for the same event are sometimes listed differently in different articles.)


1894 - Tom Mayor was born to William & Eliza Mayor on September 8, 1894 at the Millstone in Anderton, Lancashire, England.

1900 - Tom’s father, William, was in the bowling finals of the 5th Annual Handicap at the Railway Hotel in Chorley in August of 1900, losing by 4 points. The event started with 248 competitors.

1911 - At 18, Tom accepted a challenge from panel bowler, Hughie Martin at Yarrow Bridge. He played and won, took a second challenge and won and continued winning until dark.

1911-12 - Tom played his first big tournament at the age of 17 when he figured in the Blackpool Talbot. The following year he was refused entry because he was too young but had the ruling reversed when he explained he had already played in the Talbot the previous year.

1912 - Tom competed in his first professional tournament as a youth of 19—he was beaten 61-60 but his opponent had a 5 point start.

1916 – Tom’s father, William Mayor, died on May 1, 1916.

1920 - He commenced an unusually large number of engagements one week in October, 1920. At the Queens Hotel, Bradley Fold, he won the final there and then he played a match against the 25 yr old George Lomax, who up to that time had an unbeaten record on the green. Mayor made short work of the game and beat Lomax 51-29. A few days later he defeated George Hampson 51-46 after giving him three start. The following day Mayor played Than Sharples who conceded three points start to Mayor but the panel player found his Bolton opponent far too strong, Mayor winning 51-46.

1920-1923 - In the early 20’s for three successive years he won the Bradley Fold Handicap.

1924 - Out of 1024 entrants, Tom reached the semi-finals of the Bolton Infirmary Handicap at the Gibralter Rock Hotel in Bolton in 1924.

1924 – Tom’s mother, Eliza Mayor died on April 17, 1924.

1925 - On June 29, 1925 he married Margaret Lamont whom everyone called "Maggie" in Holy Trinity Church in Bolton.

Tom & Margaret Mayor

1923-1930 or 33 – Tom left bowling to join the Army, then the newly formed Air Force in the first World War, and family business restricted his bowling until 1930 when he found the time to put in the long hours of practice he felt was necessary. He was on the panel for 25 years.

1930 - The 10th Annual Professional Handicap promoted by the Lancashire Professional Bowling Assoc on Sept 8, 1930 took place at the Halfway House Hotel, Squires Gate, Blackpool. Tom was defeated in a tiebreaker in the final by Jack Rothwell, losing 21-11.

By 1933, 34 or 35 (depending on the article) - Tom was playing for the Lancashire Professional Bowling Assoc. For the next 22 yrs he played at least 3 games a week for 52 weeks of the year on about 50 Lancashire greens a year. In this era, he played somewhere in the region of 3,500 money matches. Two matches are played in an afternoon.

1934 - Tom won the 13th Annual Bolton Royal Infirmary Open Charity Bowling Handicap at Gibraltar Rock Hotel, Deane Road, Bolton in September of 1934 with a field of 880 players. He defeated Jack Martin 21-14

1930’s-1940’s - “The 1930's and 1940's will also be referred to as the Golden Age of professional bowling, and the men who dominated the scene during those years were known as the ‘Big Four’ -- Jackson, Rothwell, Winstanley and Mayor,” writes Fred Eaton.

1938 - Tom was in the last eight at the Talbot.

1944 - In one spell in 1944, Mayor won 37 out of 44 matches.

1945 - Tom won again in the Victory Handicap at Hulton Arms Four Lane Ends.

1947 - In a 1947 news clip says Albert Jackson and Tom Mayor reappeared (after being off colour following illness) at Whelley.

1953 - To a record crowd on September 5, 1953, Tom lost a match to Winstanley 41-35 in the finals of a charity match for Christie Cancer Fund at Stanley Road Conservative Club.

1953 - At the West Leigh St Paul’s Labour Club PLOVER CUP 41 Up Handicap in 1953 for 32 invited players, Tom again reached the final but was beaten by Dickie Roberts.

1955 - In addition to the Plover Cup, there was another 41 Up Handicap promoted by the West Leigh St Paul’s Labour Club, again with 32 invited players. Tom was again defeated in the final, this time by George Broadhurst.

1956 - Tom retired from the professional scene, the hard winter campaigns had eventually taken their toll. He was taken ill and went out of circulation on the county’s greens for five years and than made a gallant comeback in the summer of 1961.

1960 - By 1960 he returned to bowling.

1961 - In the October, 1961 Talbot Bowling Championship, Parr beat Mayor 21-19 in the semi-final.

Tom was in the final eight in the Waterloo Hotel 54th Bowling Tournament (no year or results given).

1962 - The Lancashire News Of The World Tournament at the Empire Services Club in Preston was held on June 23, 1962. A crowd of 1,500 watched J. Molyneux defeat hot favourite, Tom Mayor 21-15 in the final.

1962 - In July-August of 1962, Tom competed in the West Leigh St Paul’s Labour Club Handicap Skeath Cup reaching the final, but losing to Norman Heslop. It was the second of two 41 Up Handicaps and limited to 32 invited players.

1962 - He reached the final at the Waterloo but was beaten by Jim Collier in one of the most exciting finals ever played in the Waterloo Tournament. Though he had the same number of chalks as Collier in the final, he lost on the handicap. With 4,000 spectators watching (the largest ever), it was the most exciting final since the competition started 54 years ago.

1963 – In October Tom Mayor won the silver cup and the £150 prize at the 55th Waterloo Hotel Bowling Handicap championship at Blackpool. Tom, 69, won the tournament beating 36 year old Dennis Hogarth 21-16. The game started with 1022 contestants and lasted two months. The match took 55 minutes.

1963 - In theTalbot that year, Tom was defeated by Norman Etchells in a fifth round tie 21-16.

1963 - In the West Leigh St Paul’s Labour Club PLOVER CUP 41 up Handicap in 1963 with 32 invited players, Bill Simm defeated Tom Mayor 41-37 in the final.

1963 - The introduction of professional panel bowlers to aid the Christie Cancer Fund staged at the Stanley Road Conservative Club in Sept of 1963 was a huge success. Sixty year old Tom Mayor gave 56-year-old Winstanley a real tussle before finally being beaten 41-38.

Tom & Margaret Mayor
Tom & Margaret
outside their shop

1965 - After losing five previous 4 Up handicap finals, a week before his 71st birthday in 1965, Tom won the Westleigh St Paul’s charity bowls handicap, beating George Rigby 41-21. He won the Skeath Cup, a replica, and the 100 pound prize

1965 - In the 1965 West Leigh St Paul’s Labour Club PLOVER CUP 41 Up Invitational Handicap, Brian Duncan defeated Tom Mayor in an epic final by a score of 41-39.

1966 - The News Of The World crown green bowls championship at the Empire Services Club in Preston in 1966 saw Tom lose to Peter Johnson in the final, 21-16. For Tom, it was the second time he had been runner-up in four years. At the 66th Talbot charity bowling tournament with 2,000 in attendance, the last game of the quarter-final round saw the elimination of the favourite panel player, T Mayor by R Robinson, 21-17. Commencing on June 29th, the Leigh branch of the Bolton, Leigh and District Deaf and Dumb Society benefit bowling handicap held on Westleigh St Paul’s Labour Club green, T Mayor and R Roberts met in the final. Tom lost 41-37. 1966 - In the 1966 News of the World Championship at Empire Services Club in Preston, Tom again reached the finals only to lose once again. Seventy-one year old Tom Mayor was runner-up for the second time in four years.

1967 - A week before his 71st birthday, Mayor is winner at his sixth try. He won Westleigh St Paul’s Charity final. It eased the memory of five previous final defeats. Going into the Talbot, Tom was playing with the worry of a sick wife (aged 73) lying ill at home with heart trouble. Every day he dashed back to Bolton after his round to look after her. In the year of the 99th Talbot, Tom, still tall and straight in his 77th year with a longish face that looks solemn under his perennial flat cap, yet finds little trouble in smiling at a recalled memory, is having another go this year at winning the game’s most sought-after trophy.

1983 - Tom died on October 9, 1983 at Bolton General Hospital in Farnworth. Tom lived his final years at 14 Richmond Gardens, off Green Lane in Bolton.

Click here to see how five sovereigns took Mayor to bowls stardom.

* Source Information supplied by Barrie Cotterell, Secretary-Historian of the British Crown Green Bowling Referees Society and Les Gent, Editor of the Bolton Evening News, including over 38 newspaper articles, 32 photos, and other charts & information.

Web page kindly submitted by Linda Pauwels, Gt.niece of Tom Mayor