Tag Archives: archery club

Mysterious archery clubs of the world pt. 1

9 July, 2015


Source: http://www.tomorrowstarted.com/


I came across the BDDW Club Of Archers And Handmade Bowyers when searching for archery clubs in city centres for something else, and was intrigued by pictures of custom painted targets and archery competitions indoors and out.


Source: www.indesignlive.com

BDDW CAHB appears to be a child of the BDDW furniture company based in New York, founded by a renaissance man called Tyler Hays, a woodworker, ceramicist and beekeeper, who also branches out into high-end hifi. The resonant imagery of arrows and targets, the deep satisfaction of bowyery and the sheer joy of being part of  an archery club are just some of his interests. An interview with the WSJ last year yielded this:

“Every other Tuesday, BDDW hosts an evening of archery in the showroom. It’s a sort of hipster riff on the corporate softball league: Nearly 20 teams show up for each match, from institutions as varied as HBO, Helmut Lang, Thom Filicia and the Moth. The bows are hand-carved, of course, and the smoked meats are driven in from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. “It often ends with us singing karaoke until the small hours,” says the fashion designer and sometime-archer Phillip Lim. Once in a while, an arrow lands in the neck of a tripod lamp, and within a week someone will have asked to buy it that way. At the end of the year, the top 30 teams get seeded for a final tournament, accompanied by a huge, semiformal outdoor weenie roast upstate for hundreds of competitors, friends and family. “It’s like Burning Man meets The Great Gatsby,” Hays says.”


Source: camronpr

There’s some photos of one of these tournaments online, but that’s about it, and most of BDDW CAHB’s great looking website is locked off. Even more intrigued, I emailed them and asked for an interview. They were very polite, but said “sorry, no press”. I don’t really count as press, but hey. I can understand why. It would spoil the magic.



170 years ago…

14 July, 2014


1823arch (1)

Picture via http://austenettegallery.files.wordpress.com/

Just been reading the Rules & Regulations of Thirsk Bowmen*, an archery club in Yorkshire, England, published in 1845. Thirsk Bowmen exists today, but the current club apparently has no direct connection with the 19th century club. The committee structure, voting in, and roles and responsibilities are entirely familiar to any member of a sports or social club today. But there were some interesting sections:

1) The official ‘season’ was outdoor only and ran from the first Tuesday in May to the last Tuesday in September. Only gentlemen were allowed, and the cost per year was ten shillings and sixpence – approximate cost relative to wages in 2014: around £400. No word about indoor shooting.

2) Shooting was permitted on Tuesdays and Fridays starting at 5 o’clock. All arrows had to be marked with their owners initials or they did not score – a rule that persists in the UK and worldwide.

3) Every Tuesday archers shot nine dozen arrows – four dozen at 100 yards, three dozen at 80 yards, and two dozen at 60 yards. (A similar imperial round called a St. George, which has three dozen at each distance, is still shot in the UK). Maximum score using five zone scoring would be 972. Archers shot three arrow ends. Given that sunset in May in Yorkshire is around 8pm, they would have to get moving pretty quickly to get the round in before dusk.

4) The highest score each week would be made ‘captain of the target’, and get to hold a silver medal for the week. To encourage all archers, a handicap system existed – if you had won once in a season, you got four points removed from your score for the next and all subsequent weeks – twice in a season, eight points removed; three times, sixteen points and so on.

5) These Tuesday shoots were compulsory – unless you could prove you were at least ten miles outside of Thirsk, you were fined sixpence (relatively, about £20) for every shoot you missed! Swearing incurred a similar penalty. Turning up without all your equipment incurred a stiffer fine of a shilling (about £40).

6) Every year in September there was a ‘Grand Annual Meeting’. The highest score of the day would receive a silver bugle and the title ‘Captain Of The Year’, the best gold (nearest the centre) would receive a silver arrow and the title ‘Lieutenant Of The Year’ – and the last place finisher would receive a ‘Wooden Spoon’ and the title ‘Master Of The Green’. Yes, that’s right – archery puns haven’t improved much in the past 170 years.

7) Gambling on results was clearly a problem – the rules go into some detail about not letting betting corrupt the ‘manly amusement’, and a rule existed that any wagers discovered would have to be forfeited to club funds – although sweepstakes of up to five shillings (about £200) were allowed with prior permission of the Secretary.

*A copy of these rules sold at Bonhams in Harrogate for £192 in 2007.