Tennis club prepares to celebrate its centenary

Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club members who gathered to play at Dukes Park last Sunday.
Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club members who gathered to play at Dukes Park last Sunday.

Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club is celebrating its centenary season and kicks of a series of events with an open afternoon later this month.

The Dukes Park courts will be open to the public on Sunday, April 24, from 1pm, to try to encourage more people to pick up a racket.

Club president and local GP Dr Anthony Clarke said: “Why not come and try out tennis, make some new friends and have fun in the process?

“If you then wish to join the club, there is a special offer of £35 for the first season of membership.

“It is important that as a society we become more physically active and tennis is a healthy and social sport for both sexes to play either separately or together.”

As well as looking to the future, the club has been looking at its past. It is 100 years since the oldest surviving minutes of a Bridlington Tennis Club committee meeting were recorded.

The meeting was held at 47 Tennyson Avenue on April 18, 1916, during the First World War, when the club was known as St John’s Avenue Tennis Club and the annual subscription was one pound 11 shillings and six pence.

The fact that there appear to be no surviving records of the club before this date has prompted it to celebrate 100 years of tennis this month.

Previous research undertaken by former president, Chris Jinks, revealed that tennis was played in Victorian times when Bridlington was a premier seaside resort and probably staged annual competitions.

There are national newspaper records of tournaments staged in 1882 and 1894, involving players from around the country, and Mr Jinks believes that tennis would have competed with cricket as the most popular sport in Bridlington at that time.

Dr Clarke has recently uncovered a reference, within the copious handwritten 100 years of club records, to a ‘50th AGM of the Bridlington Lawn Tennis Club’ in April 1952 which suggesst the club has been in existence for more than 130 years.

His research has also shown that the club changed its name from St John’s Avenue Tennis Club to Bessingby Road Lawn Tennis Club, shortly after World War One.

Complaints about the condition of the grounds were first recorded at an AGM in November 1928 and the challenge of maintaining grass courts to a high standard has been a recurring theme within the records.

Dr Clarke also uncovered that the first motor mower was bought for £40 in 1934, the club pavilion was damaged through enemy action in 1940, and a first aid kit was first kept at the club in 1951.

For queries about joining the club for the 2016 season, email bridtennis@live.co.uk or call Penny on 07754 587973.