Chorleywood was a late starter when it came to tennis –our local Lawn Tennis Club was established in 1966, forty years later than most tennis clubs in the country.
The club was the brainwave of a group of public spirited local residents. One of the first potential sites that caught their eye was Chorleywood House Grounds, specifically the kitchen garden at the back that thrived when Lady Ela Russell had been running the Estate but had become neglected after her death in 1936. By the mid 60s, when the Estate had been under ownership of Chorleywood Urban District Council for 25 years, the ground had become overgrown with weeds and the greenhouses littered with panes of shattered glass.
A meeting was called at the British Legion Hall to discuss the idea and 100 people contributed £5 to show support.
When it was agreed that it would be a good idea to lease the kitchen garden land for the site, the group persuaded Chorleywood UDC to lease the land, plans were drawn up and a club constitution drafted. Funding came from subscriptions and loans and local authority grants.
Courts were laid in 1966 and Chorleywood Lawn Tennis Club was born. Play started immediately and initially men and women changed in an unlit, unheated potting shed which was replaced a year later by a prefabricated clubhouse.
The Chairman of the steering group was Marjorie Richardson, famed for her showstopping hats. Archie Willett (Chairman of Cable and Wireless at the time) became the first Club Chairman. Neither of the pair were active tennis players. Two founding members still play
A new brick clubhouse was built in 1992, mostly by volunteer members with the help of a bulldozer. Fifty years on two original features still stand – a solitary fig tree and the original back wall of the kitchen garden which is used as a practice wall by the juniors
“The Club has grown over the years and now has six floodlit courts and over 350 members including more than 140 juniors from the age of three.” says Tom Loh, current Chairman,” It is still run on a voluntary basis. There is a lovely atmosphere where you can play friendly games or take part in competitive leagues. It is a great tribute to that original group of local people”
Chorleywood Lawn Tennis Club, The Walled Garden, Lady Ela Drive, Chorleywood, WD3 5SL (behind Chorleywood House) www.chorleywoodtennis.co.uk 01923 284199