It seems like an eternity ago now but once upon a time, there was a huge bowling centre in the heart of North Harrow.
If you grew up in the Harrow area, you will no doubt remember the Harrow Bowl, Superbowl or Megabowl – name changes that will forever live on in our minds as we look back at the history of this iconic part of our childhood.
The bowling centre had a staggering 28 lanes and was the 13th in the ABC bowling operation at the time of its launch via a grand opening on 26th August 1964. The event was hosted by Bill Cartlidge, Assistant Managing Director of ABC, and attended by various TV and screen personalities such as Roy Kinnear and some sports personalities, quite the big deal in North Harrow at the time indeed. The centre was built on the site of the Embassy cinema, which was built and opened in 1928, and taken over by ABC Cinemas in 1936.
The cinema was closed on 11th May 1963 and demolished to make way for a new building that housed a Safeway supermarket on the ground floor and the bowling centre on the first floor.
The bowling centre, which was simply called Harrow Bowl at this point, became very popular and hosted numerous leagues, local and national tournaments, and even the popular TV show Candid Camera. It operated successfully for many years, surviving the decline in tenpin bowling in the UK in the late 60s and continued to operate into the new millennium.
In the early 1980s, the ownership of the centre was transferred to the First Leisure Corporation, and it became known as the Harrow Superbowl – most of you will remember this upgrade as it also included a huge arcade that was positioned directly opposite the lanes, not to mention a full bar which hosted student nights and special activities throughout the week. It is at this point that the centre truly became a local hub of activity.
The bowling centre survived an application to redevelop the site in July 1994, which included a new supermarket, housing, and a community facility that was refused by Harrow Council at the time. Ownership of the centre changed again, sometime between 1999 and 2001, to Megabowl, and the centre’s name was changed to Harrow Megabowl.
The UK Bowling Centre Directory of 2003 credited Snowpeak Properties Ltd with the ownership of the centre, which was renamed Harrow Bowl. Despite continuing to operate, the centre closed early in 2005.
Do you have any memories of the Harrow Superbowl? let us know what you remember in the comments on our socials.