Return to the UK

It was not until 1960 that ten-pin bowling, in its modern guise, was introduced to the UK. A far cry from the medieval games of skittles and kegel which had once been so popular, the game was now equipped with all the latest technology, including automatic pinsetters and tracks to return balls to the approach once they had been rolled. The first alleys to open were Stamford Hill and Golders Green, both in London. There was immediately a boom in interest and in no time, over 160 alleys had opened around the country. But declining interest in the 1970s and a lack of investment left the industry in a sorry state, with many of the better alleys being converted into Bingo halls. At the sport’s lowest ebb, two-thirds of all alleys had been closed and the industry came close to collapse.

It wasn’t until another technological breakthrough that the sport really took off in the UK. Many regular people complained about the complexity of the scoring system, which was manually recorded at the time. But with the advent of the electronic scoring system, the general populous could enjoy the game by simply entering their name into the computer and leaving it to keep track of their scores. During the late 1980s and early 1990s ten-pin bowling alley chain AMF Bowling equipped all of its lanes with electronic scoreboards and built bright, clean and modern alleys.