Club history

History of Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club until 1952

History of Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club until 1952

The Club celebrated its centenary season in 2016. The oldest surviving minutes of the Bridlington Tennis Club Committee record a meeting held at 47 Tennyson Avenue on 18th April 1916, during the 1st World War, when the club was known as St John’s Avenue Tennis Club and the annual subscription was one pound eleven shillings and six pence (£1.11.6). The fact that there appeared to be no surviving records of the Club before this date provided an opportunity for the Club to celebrate our 100 year anniversary in April 2016.

Research undertaken by former President, Mr. Chris Jinks, revealed that Tennis was played in Victorian times when Bridlington was a premier seaside resort and probably staged annual Tennis competitions. There are national newspaper records of tournaments in 1882 and 1894, involving players from around the country. These tournaments occurred just a few years after the world famous Wimbledon tournament was founded in 1876 and Mr. Jinks believes that Tennis would have competed with Cricket as the most popular sport in Bridlington at that time.

Dr. Anthony Clarke, Club President since October 2015, has since uncovered a reference within the copious and mostly handwritten 100 years of Club records, to a “50th Annual General Meeting of the Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club” which was held on 18th April 1952 at the Lounge Cafe. According to this reference the Club actually celebrated 114 years of Club tennis and over 134 years of Tennis playing in Bridlington on 18th April 2016, which is well in excess of a century!
Dr. Clarke’s examination of the Tennis Club’s past records has uncovered a number of other interesting facts.

Club minutes indicate a change in name from St John’s Avenue Tennis Club to Bessingby Road Lawn Tennis Club shortly after the World War 1, on 12th April 1919. Complaints about the condition of the grounds were first recorded at an Annual General Meeting in November 1928 and the challenge of maintaining grass courts to a high standard has been a recurring theme within the Club records. An Extra-Ordinary General Meeting was called on 19th April 1930 to allow Sunday play “provided no labour be employed”. The first reference to the purchase of a motor mower, from Dales and for £40, is recorded in 1934. This machine appears to have lasted until 1950.

Following the outbreak of World War 2, the Club Secretary wrote to the Bessingby Estate in March 1940 to request a reduction in rent for the period of the war. The Club Pavilion was damaged through enemy action later in 1940 and required repairs. Officers of the RAF and Military, including W.A.A.F Officers, were invited to join the club for the 1942-44 seasons.
The first reference to a Club American Tournament, held on the first Sunday of the month, appears in 1949. During 1950 the Club applied to be part of the Yorkshire Tennis League and the name of the Club was changed to “The Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club”. Dr. Clarke is interested to learn that a First Aid Kit was first kept at the Club in 1951.

The history of the Club since 1952 will be added at a later date.

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