picture on front cover/dust jacket
Title Mitchell's Manual of Bowl-playing
Author William W Mitchell
Publisher Thomas Taylor, Glasgow, Scotland
First published 1864
ISBN Pre-ISBN system
Edition reviewed 5th (published 1882)
Hardback/softback Softback
List price 1s 0d (5p)
Cover size (cm)
(height x width)
13.8 x 9.6
Number of pages 86
Number of pages with Coloured photos Black & white photos Line drawings
  None None 1
Synopsis To the best of my knowledge, this is the first book to have been written exclusively on the subject of bowls and this presumption is endorsed by Douglas Lampshire in his book Bowls, published in 1961. The contents of Mitchell's work are arguably the most far-reaching of any book on bowls for its anonymous covers conceal a seminal work - Mitchell's Laws of the Game - that largely shape the game of flat green bowls we play today. The background to their creation makes interesting reading:

An early attempt to form a Scottish bowling association was made in 1848 when representatives of about 200 clubs met in Glasgow. Although the move failed, the meeting realised that there was a pressing need for a common set of rules as at that time clubs tended to play to their own rules. A small committee was formed with William Mitchell, a sporadic member of two Glasgow bowls clubs, Wellcroft and Willowbank, as secretary. Mitchell drew heavily on a set of rules which were already established at Willowbank, but it was not until 1864 that he published his Manual of Bowl Playing, his laws of the game being part of this work. Included within the book's six sections are the following topics:

  • Descriptive Account of Bowling; Bowler's Song
  • Laws of the Game
  • Rules for Bowling Clubs
  • Hints to Drivers [Skips] and Players
  • The Green; Suggestions for Making and Keeping it in Order; Glasgow Clubs' Competition Match
  • Summary Results of Matches - Glasgow v Ayrshire; Single-handed Bowling Tournaments; A List of Bowling Clubs of Scotland, etc