Nick Peek has been putting together lots of information about the history of the KC4s so that we can publish it on the website.
Below is the initial version covering the early days; any feedback on more facts, interest, etc. would be welcomed.

KC4 History

Tolworth officially opened for business as a brand new bowling centre on Monday 21st June 1965 as a joint venture between Excel and Bass Charrington. Through the efforts of Jean Ferguson in her capacity as Promotions Manager, a series of articles on tenpin bowling were written for the Surrey Comet newspaper. This led to them sponsoring the first league at Tolworth - The Surrey Comet - bowling on Wednesday evenings; today the league still exists as the Manor Glass League.
Other leagues followed on including the fledgling KC4s which was believed to be originally called “The Brightways League” sponsored by Brightways Electrical of Chessington but by September 1974, the league name had changed to the “4U League” sponsored by Pete Seaman of 4U Cleaners, Chessington. Indications are that this was a three man league during this period.
Much of the early information for the league has been obtained initially from Jim Creasy via the Tolworth Tenpin a house magazine that was run by Jim with help from well known bowlers of the time such as John Bacolini and Alan Kiy (the printer). It is hoped to amplify the early history from other sources with the initial information in place.

The Early Days
At the moment we know little about the early days of the fledgling KC4s league. From bowlers recorded as playing for teams and the fact that the team size was enlarged to 4 players in the 1979, it would seem the league had bowled as 3 person teams to that date.
Guttersnipes were one of the early teams - a team which can be traced through to the Rum Bunch of in the 1990's. The name was reputedly developed from their ability to put a number of balls down the gutter. A regular bowler with Guttersnipes was Geoff Clapson who is still bowling with the league in 2010 having switched from Guttersnipes to Rum Bunch when Guttersnipes disbanded.
Another early team with long term associations with the KC4s is Job’s Jags. The name apparently related to milk floats from Job’s Dairy and the way team members were reputed to drive them. The team include Keith Chapman, John Green and Barry Armstrong who all worked in the dairy at the time.
In the early days the destination of the league title was generally a tussle between Guttersnipes and Job’s Jags (with Guttersnipes winning the title on most occasions I am informed).
During this period a number of challenge matches were arranged by the initial secretary, Keith Sears, against sides from other centres including Crawley, Reading, Southampton and Piccadilly (London). These proved most enjoyable for those taking part and proved reasonably successful for the league.
In these early days when bowling was developing at Tolworth, Geoff Clapson from the league took part in the annual House Championships. In 1967 he was the runner up with an average of 179 over five games with the winner averaging 181. Bearing in mind this was on wooden lanes without any of the advantages of modern bowling equipment, this was bowling at a high standard.

4.U League Days
In the early days of the 4.U league, it had a great family tradition, with youngsters growing up with the league, introducing a fiancee to bowling — and even later bringing their children back to the league!!. John High is even quoted as regarding the 4.U League as the family night out with his team of the time - High Rollers.
The league at this time there were a number of bowling families of note including two Taylor families which included Chris, Freda, Gary, Graham, Paul and Tina (the last three as juniors), the Guttersnipe Taylor’s of Brian and Claire with Roland joining the league when his parents moved from the area, the High family with John, Joyce, David (jnr), the Redwood family including Archie, Val and Karen (jnr) and the Gibbons family with Babs, Peter, Gerald, Glen, Paul and David (the last 4 were all juniors with the league at some point 70s through to the 90s).
Whilst scores in the period did not look very high by modern standards, the top bowlers of 4.U appeared in the list of centre high average bowlers. The scores shown are those obtained are from Tolworth Tenpin which gives an incomplete picture of scores through the 70's and 80's as the league did not always send in reports for publication.
It is interesting to note the number of juniors at this time and watch as they developed with the league with increasing averages in successive years. Shown below are some of the high averages mentioned in Tolworth Tenpin in the period for each year.

Adults 1974 1975 1976 1979 1980 1981 1982
Chris Taylor 185 184
John Ledner 188
John Green 179
Geoff Clapson 178
Roland Taylor Jnr Jnr Jnr Jnr Jnr 183
Barbara Gibbons 164
Jan Turell 160 174
Mick Mulvihill 194
Paul Gibbons 200 207
Graham Taylor 159 176
David High 157
Andy Barratt 150
Karen Redwood 141 163
Roland Taylor 174 165 Adult
Gerald Gibbons 163 180
Paul Taylor 158 164 166
Glen Gibbons 170

Towards the end of the period shown, the rise of the junior Gibbons’s is becoming apparent. By all accounts, Mum and Dad (Barbara and Peter) were not far behind. This rise in scores culminated in the leagues first perfect game in May 1982 by Glen Gibbons.

In September 1976 the FIQ World Championships came to Tolworth (for teams representing countries rather than bowling as individuals as in the World Cup) . In advance of the event, new machines were installed as the original machines installed in 1965 were considered beyond further economic repair! The preparations and event had an effect on league schedules. 
In February 1976, Alan Hatchett suddenly resigned as League Secretary (believed to be through ill health). Garry Taylor steps into his shoes and keeps the league running. Schhh team bowler Trevor Jennings sets the League High series for the season at 704 (with a 632 scratch series). Perishers Roy Davis holds the high game with a 256 scratch (259 with h/c).

In December 1977, the AMF Bowling World Cup comes to Tolworth with the inevitable disruption to league schedules again. However, accepted as the price that has to be paid for having a centre which has bowling at its heart.

League Changes to 4 Man Format
For the 1978 / 79 season, the league changes to a 4 man format to accommodate growing numbers wishing to join leagues. Yet another Taylor - Tina Keogh holds high h/c game of 233. Geoff Clapson holds mens high series with 675 (687 with h/c). New team names appearing at this time are US 4 and Slugbuckets. The Christmas dance was held in club bar.

By February 1979, Guinness Galore head league by 7 points but just 5 points covers the next seven teams. Yet in April, it is Guttersnipes that lead the league by 1 point from Jets. At the end of season End of season Guttersnipes win on on 161pts, JETS are on 153, Us4 are on 145 and Guinness Galore are on 140 (close finishes are not reserved for the 1990's).  Geoff Clapson of Guttersnipes wins mens high series with a 687, and high average of 178; mens high game goes to Don Litchfield of Schhh with a 269. For the ladies Jan Turell (JETS) held high average on 160, Freda Taylor (Angels) wins the high game with a 237 and Jan Mills (Lunatics) wins the high series with a 610.
At the league Disco / Dance held in the Club Bar on May 1st, Peter Jackson impersonates Mick Jagger. Contemporary accounts say it was a passably good impression.
It was also reported that Alan Kiy (Dabblers) lost out to Roger Pady (Lunatics) in the weekly series wager between them during the season - by how much is not reported though!
In June 1979, the annual Inter League Tournament 4.U League lost to Brown & Root in semi finals having beaten Sunday Club in the quarter finals and previously beaten Prince Machines, Classic, Friendship and JF Trios at group stage. 

Sponsorship from Keith Chapman and a name change to KC4s
As the last year as 4.U League before the change of name to KC4s, the league is beaten in Inter League semi-finals by Brown & Root. In the Quarter Finals the league won against Sunday Club. At the group stage, they were just 3 pins behind group winners Friday Mixed 3s with Princes Machines, Classic, Friendship and JF Trios placed below KC4s in the group.

For the 1979 / 80 Winter season Chris Taylor takes over as the League Secretary from his son - Gary Taylor. At the same time, the league name changes to KC4s following as a result of a new sponsorship arrangement from Keith Chapman. By 1984, the raffle prize is a basket of fruit organized by Keith from his neighbours at work in Kingston. Arriving home with the box full of delicious fresh fruit was a treat that lasted the whole week.
At the end of April American Pros Dick Ritger, Wayne Zahn, Cheryl Robinson and Jay Robinson visit Tolworth to run instruction classes. Many league bowlers take advantage of the day long sessions to great benefit to their subsequent bowling.

In November 1980, Paul Gibbons bowls a 747 scratch set with games of 246, 246 and 255. The following year in September 1981, his seventeen year old brother Gerald Gibbons rolls at personal best of a 687 with games of 245, 215 and 227.

For 1981/2, Alan Kiy had taken over from Chris Taylor as League Secretary.


KC4s First Perfect Game
May 1982 sees Glen Gibbons bowl a perfect game with a 713 series. Subsequently it falls foul to the ongoing problems between Charrington Bowl and the BTBA who refuse to recognise the achievement. It seems that during this time that the BTBA had to inspect the lanes within 24 hours of a high score but could not get to the bowl in time on a number occasions. When they did get there, technical problems were found with the lanes to the frustration of Doug McNulty (general Manager) who highlighted that the lanes had been previously inspected and certified as part of the centre sanction.
In July 1982, KC4s were runners up to Underpass in the Inter-League by just 2 pins. They defeated Chessington Tyres in the semis and Leisure in the quarters finals. In the group round, they topped Regal, Charrington Club, Rabbit Hutch and Wednesdays Mixed 3 (Classic headed the group).
On 13th July Barbara Gibbons lost her voice and it is reported that six teams went on to win in the ensuing silence whilst Alan Kiy bowled a first ball down the gutter in the silence.
In September 1982, Esther Parks takes over as League Secretary. The League now has sixteeen 4-man teams - highlighted when Esther’s computer blew a fuse on the first week and failed to produce score sheets! However the introduction of computerised league sheets has been a great success since as well as highlighting how bad some teams are at adding up.
October 1982 sees the return of the American Pros. Dick Ritger, Wayne Zahn, Cheryl Robinson and Jay Robinson visit Tolworth to run instruction classes. This was a popular event for league bowlers with a day on the lanes with the Pros offering advice and even a nice lunch thrown into the package.
In December the Strolling Bowler tournament is held - anyone know what this was about? Won by Martin Mellor of JETS with Chris Taylor of US4 second.

The 1983 Husband and Wife tournament held on Good Friday was won by Chris and Freda Taylor.
Saturday 19th April 1983 saw the league dance held in the Main Bar. Bar takings were down as the Perishers team of Ray Fairman and the Jackson brothers - Peter, Eddie and Terry - only managed to down three bottles of Bacardi. Training obviously was need before justifying taking on the name Rum Bunch!
In June 1983, KC4s again KC4s reach semi finals of Inter League tournament.
Freda Taylor, Val Redwood and Gee Huggett form backbone of Social Committee. Christmas dances are arranged at Bourne Hall and Chalk Lane Hotel. At one Christmas Dance at Bourne Hall, the Jackson’s arrive with a blowup figure as a substitute female partner on the dance floor. In the summer several trips to Brighton for a meal and Dogs are arranged.
Chris Taylor takes over as President from Terry Ward.
The dispute with the BTBA over a Perfect Game bowled by Glen Gibbons comes to a head with the Council confirming that they were standing by there decision to deny recognition. At the time the BTBA had some very strict regulations for the recognition of high games which included an inspection of the lanes / pins within 24 hours.

Tolworth Bowl informs BTBA that they will no longer be making a "donation" to the BTBA funds and leagues are also told about the decision. Indications at the time were that Tolworth were expected to make a "donation" to be BTBA funds which was far greater than any other centre - based on it being a profitable centre.
All BTBA 5 Year Memberships were cancelled for anyone bowling at Tolworth by the then BTBA General Secretary - Maurice Glazer. Bowlers were required to pay for new 1 year memberships at £2 to replace their previous 5 year membership (which cost just £4).
KC4s decides to become an unsanctioned league but running to BTBA playing rules.

Denise Town takes over as League Secretary.

For the 1991/92 Mike Hargreaves takes over as League Secretary with Nigel Meears sponsoring the league.

Ray Goodall takes over as League Secretary in September 1993

Jan and Eric Turrell take over league sponsorship.

The Christmas Dinner and Dance was held at Bourne Hall. Jan and Eric Turrell (who had been league sponsors with Eric our President) travelled down from their new home in the Lake District. The star event had to be Rum Bunch with their added lady guest who was cavorted all round the dance floor - a very well dressed blow up doll.
Later in the season, another coach trip was made to the dogs at Hove for a meal and an evening of racing.

The start of the 1999/2000 season and the league has a new League Secretary - Liz Baxter takes over from Ray Goodall as Ray is planning to move to Crawley and change jobs.
The new season starts with software created initially for the Underpass League by Nick Peek which simplifies the weekly data input whilst providing bowlers with more information. From this point on, the league has history of all scores on a week by week basis for all bowlers. As the season progresses, Liz’s computer keeps on creating havoc with the League Sheets by introducing random sorts on the data. Eventually the problem is traced to an errant computer mouse on her machine.
At the end of March, family problems and a back injury at work force and then moving from the district Liz to resign as Secretary in April 2000 and Nick Peek takes over for the rest of the season as Secretary. At the EGM to formalise the change, Clive Strike indicates he would be able to take over for the new season.

In February 2000, the sudden death occurred of Margaret Aldridge from Jokers Wild; it was a sad loss to everyone as she was a great supporter of the league in various ways and always had a smile on her face. In the following month a second Jokers Wild bowler also died suddenly. Julie Meconi was notable for her own distinctive style of bowling but was also part of the distinctive character of Jokers Wild at that time. Len Harwood was another stalwart of the team at the time - always smiling and joking. Yet in August 2002 he also died. It is great credit to the team that despite these blows, they kept going and at the time of writing in 2010 the team is still an important part of the league.
From the start of the summer season, the league agrees to a fixed blind score in place of a bowlers average minus 10%. This single change dramatically reduces the number of errors on score sheets which had previously caused the points won to be changed after a match.
The 1999 / 2000 season saw the first attempt to reduce the volume of trophies purchased but spending more money on the ones awarded. Both Rum Bunch and Saxons agree to combine there Winter and Summer trophies with a single plaque showing the summer / winter results.
The start of the 2000 / 2001 season and the league has a new League Secretary - Clive Strike takes over from Nick Peek. Within weeks however Clive has changed from being a regular bowler to a disappearing Secretary. Maria Holdaway and Nick Peek work together in tracking down missing league data and sorting out the problems caused by the missing Clive early on in the season. Once the problems are sorted out, they agree to jointly run the league until the end of season.
The start of season is made even more difficult by a team not turning up on the first week of the season. After three weeks of bowling with a blind team, Colin Town agrees to reform his Top Hats team to fill in the gap. Over the season, the efforts of Colin and his team see the resurrection of the raffle and an end of season dinner and dance.
For the 2000 / 2001 Season, an award for special services to the league is re-introduced. The Presidents Cup was awarded as a recognition of services in the 1980's and early 90's. The award had an intermittent life and no record now exists of who it was awarded to or when. For the 2000 / 2001 season a new perpetual trophy was purchased with the intention of awarding it annually. The award winners are selected after discussion amongst the League Officers and can be to a team, a bowler or a person who just supports the league. The full history of the winners and a picture of the trophy can be found in the section dedicated to this award.
The League recognised the efforts of Colin Town and his team at the end of the season presentation, by making Top Hats the first winner of the perpetual trophy for The President Cup. It was an occasion where Colin nearly dropped his plate of food when the announcement was made; it then took at least another two minutes for the surprise to subside.

Lynn Canham resigns as treasurer after 18 years in post. The league had great pleasure in presenting her with a cut glass vase as a thank you for her efforts. Colin Town agrees to take over as treasurer.
Also at the AGM, Chris Taylor resigns as President. Declining health means Chris can not take as active part as he would like but over the years he has been a great supporter of the League.
Peter Singfield takes over as League Secretary and Nick Peek takes over as President. With some arm twisting Lynn is persuaded to take on the Vice Presidents role.
Peter quickly adapts to the League software and develops new facilities which lead to the weekly results appearing on the web. The web site is made possible in the early days through an initial set up by Ian Clark and proves popular with bowlers. With both Peter and Nick being able to use the League software and regular exchange of copies of data, up to date league sheets are always available even at holiday time.
Throughout the 2000 /01 season, lane conditions were appalling which resulted in many bowlers going to other centres or just giving up bowling. Efforts were made via the bowl management to get an improvement but eventually the bowl technical people did come clean about what the really problem was - an experimental lacquer from AMF which was not holding the oil in place. In the summer, the centre replaced the lanes with synthetic lanes as this was believed to be the better long term solution than resurfacing the wooden lanes. The subsequent improvement in scores from September 2001 showed this to be a good decision.
The 2001 season sees the league start with an uneven number of teams. The decision is made for all teams to bowl each week with one team bowling against blind scores or spare floating bowlers. The blind match at first seems an easy 8 points but reserve / floating bowlers coupled with the 175 score every game if there is not a "real" bowler available starts creating some shock results. By December, the Blind team as evolved into a regular team with new bowlers (plus the points won when it was a true blind team). The new team decides to call itself "Blind As Bats" in recognition of its origins
Another Dogs night out at Brighton by coach for a meal and racing is organised by Gee Huggett.

Lynn Canham starts the ball rolling by starting to try to put a history of the KC4s together - a role she is highly qualified to do through the family connection to Keith Chapman - the origin of the leagues current name. Unfortunately her computer with all the work gets stolen so we go back to square one for our history.
Another great night out was has by members when a further visit to Brighton was made for a Dogs Night - organised by Gee Hugget. Those that went had a nice meal in pleasant surroundings, good company and a passing distraction of dogs racing by your window!
During the season, Nick Peek bowls a Perfect Game - only the second in the leagues history. At the AGM, the other members of the committee managed to surprise him with a trophy commemorating the event - something which has pride of place at home.
For the 2002 season, the league offered trophies or vouchers to all qualifying bowlers. Bowlrite increased the value we planned to spend on vouchers by 10%. The intention was that winners could buy a trophy of their choice or alternatively something useful for bowling. This change was welcomed by many but issues with some people wishing to transfer vouchers to other people led to a change to a cash only prize league for 2003.
During the year Peter Singfield takes over running the web site and introduces new facilities and weekly result pages.

The year saw Colin Woolley take over as treasurer from Colin Town.
Our Dinner, Dance and Presentation evening was organised by Gee Hugget at Stoneleigh Inn.
Wayne Jones (the General Manager from 2000 and who had a hand in many of the bowling related improvements in the centre) left Hollywood Bowling.

The 2004/5 Winter Season ends again with Rum Bunch and Saxons tied for League Champions. Since the rule requiring a play off for League Champions, there has only been three times where there was not a clear winner and on each of these three occasions it has been Rum Bunch and Saxons that have had to bowl an extra match.
In the playoff, Saxons comfortably win the first two games but Rum Bunch come back with a vengeance nearly forcing a draw in the playoff. This gives our league secretary kittens as he can see the Summer League being turned into total turmoil. It prompts a proposed change to the constitution to ensure the playoff creates a result by awarding 3 points for the series (thus ensuring that a team losing the first two games could still win the league). The change was subsequently approved at the AGM.
Ken Wells rolled his first Perfect Game during the year and the leagues third 300 game. Having rolled his first ever 300 in our league, Ken went on to repeat the feat in another league later in the season. The second is apparently easier than the first according to Ken.
Our Dinner, Dance and Presentation evening was organised by Gee Hugget at Stoneleigh Inn again. Yet another great evening.

At the end of 2005, Lynn Canham finally moves away from Tolworth and resigns as Vice President. Early in 2006, Ian Rogerson agrees to take over as Vice President and is elected unopposed.

The year saw the league joined by a number of bowlers who started bowling as part of the blind team and then morphed into a regular team with a name that showed their true character - Blind Ali. As a team they started giving a number of established teams a hard time but also creating very enjoyable matches - great credit to the new team.
A three week fun tournament in middle of the summer season was enjoyed by everyone - helped no end behind the scenes by Colin Wooley’s Winners and Losers schedule.

The league drops to just 10 teams which results in 4 rotations / a 36 week schedule. This required modifications to our league software by Nick Peek and Peter Singfield to cope with the extra weeks.
A highlight of the year was the social event organised in February at Sorrento's in Tolworth by Colin Woolley. The league were able to take over the whole of the back of the restaurant, have a selection of food from a special KC4s Menu and buy reasonably priced drinks. To cap it all, Colin managed to do this all for League members for the price of the ticket deposit and even non-members got a fantastic meal at a great price.
Due to a fire in a building site adjacent to the Presidents house, we failed to make an entry for the Inter League competition in time. This was the first time in many years that the KC4s have not had a team in the event.
John Bruton joins the committee as Vice President following the resignation of Ian Rogerson. Through John’s input, we find a new venue for the AGM - Tolworth Recreation Centre - which is far quieter than the bowl and can provide food and drink at reasonable prices as part of the package.

This year saw our return to the Inter-League. Having beaten the Pee Wees (always one of the hardest matches with youngsters up to 10 years old!) The team started encountering teams who bowled their highest score against the KC4s. One match was lost by just 7 pins but the bonus for a win made it a 57 pin loss. However, everyone seemed to have an enjoyable day.
During 2008, Peter Singfield had indicated that he wanted to hand over as Secretary to someone else due to various changes at home and work. Karl Elliott indicated an interest and started working with Peter to effect a smooth handover. Whilst the software used for the league is very quick and easy to use, the end of season involves a lot of work. Couple this with learning to load information to the web site and there is a steep learning curve.

The demise of the Garden Care league which bowled at the same time as the KC4s resulted in two new teams joining us - Calleys Heros and Monaco.
With the workload of being Secretary removed, Peter Singfield started making some enhancements to our already good web site. Initially this was just layout improvements but then came facilities to highlight and colour parts of the text in reports. How Karl Elliott loved that!
The discussion of the last part of the year is how Karl explored the features on the web site provided and how he survived intact. Initial cryptic comments developed into comments about a certain team mate being very good at gutter clearing following a trip of the edge of the lane.

A new award is introduced for the 2010/11 season - The Gutter Trophy - for the highest number of first balls which end up in the gutter rather than hitting pins. In the early days there were a number of bowlers trying hard to win the award.
With the demise of the Friendship League, the constant pressure to finish our games in a shorter time than allowed for any other 4 person team at Tolworth was removed. It still did not remove the need for teams to finish in the normal time of 2 ½ hours but did allow the league officers to enjoy their bowling without the need to chase people of the lanes by 9:15.

At the end of the 2013-14 season, Karl Elliott retires as Secretary as he was changing jobs and moving abroad. Phil Reed volunteers to take over at the AGM.

During the season, Phil Reed’s computer encounters a number of problems meaning that league sheets are completed on other peoples computers in order to keep the league functioning. The problems encountered by Phil highlight that that the league software whilst creating great looking result sheets, is very dated in the input facilities. Since the software had been developed, aspects of the league had changed (such as the introduction of floating reserves) which required manual over-rides. A start was thus made on a new program to run the league sheets.
In May 2015, Andrew Peek died which meant the support that Nick Peek was giving to Phil was no longer available. Peter Singfield took over the support and did an audit of results to give members confidence that scores were valid.
During the year a major update of our Constitution was made to cover aspects not considered when it was created or had developed in the intervening years. The revised document was circulated during season and comments incorporated with it being finally approved at the AGM.

Due to his computer problems, Phil resigned as Secretary at the 2015 AGM. It was agreed that Peter Burns and Peter Singfield would run the League as Joint Secretary; in practice as the season has developed Peter Burns has taken on most of the work with odd referrals to Peter Singfield for out of norm situations.
In September, a Memorial Tournament for Andrew Peek was held at Tolworth in aid of Help For Heroes (over £1600 was raised) with a number of KC4s bowlers joining others who had known Andrew at various times in bowling.

Our 4th recorded KC4s Perfect Game was bowled in December by Graham Cox in Callys Heroes match against Spare Set.