The first tennis club in Winthorpe was formed between the two wars, in 1931-2 and played on two grass courts, which were laid out on part of the field occupied by the cricket club. It had an enthusiastic membership and matches were played again at local teams under the captaincy of the late Mr. R. H. Bradley, who was also for some year's captain of the cricket club. As can be seen from the snapshot, which accompanies this account, the pavilion was unusual in that it had been a tram in a former existence. On the outbreak of World War II the club languished and the tram-pavilion be came so derelict that when war ended it was burnt, Mr. Bradley setting the first match to it.
The club was reformed after the war but played on a new site, the bowls' club ground at the foot of the old glebe, the paddock now owned by Mr. A. Hickman. (The bowls' club itself, which had been formed at the time of King George V's Silver Jubilee, had flourished for only a few years before it fell into disuse after some village dispute.) This tennis club played only friendly matches and did not last vary long before it gradually failed through lack of support.
Preliminary moves to revive a tennis club in Winthorpe were made during the summer of 1967, after discussions had for some time centred on the lack of recreational facilities for young people in the village. A survey was held among householders of the village to discover what support might be available for the venture, in the form of donations to a fighting fund. This was so successful that in July 1967 the club was formed under the chairmanship of Mr. R. D. Woods.
At first it was hoped that two hard courts should be constructed at a cost of £1,500, but when this scheme was found to be too ambitious, it was amended in favour of one court costing £800. The Parish Council was approached and finally it agreed to lease for 21 years part of the field occupied by the cricket club; so the tennis club returned to its former home.
Many fund-raising efforts were held to supplement donations from the village and the grant of £375 that had been awarded by the Ministry of Housing & Local Government (Physical Training and Recreation Act 1937). Construction was delayed by bad weather, but the work was finally completed in March 1970. An official opening and an American Tournament were planned for March 21st 1970, but unfortunately bad weather again intervened and the opening ceremony had to be performed by Mr. G. P. Bennett in the somewhat unusual setting of the Village Hall.
From the outset the court proved a great attraction to its members, particularly to the teenagers of the village, and so the original purpose of the founding committee has been fully justified. It is now hoped to provide a pavilion.
Has anyone a tram they could spare?
Mrs. C. Morgan and Mr. T.A. Layne. 1971.