At Purton Tennis Club we believe that Tennis is for everyone; all ages, all abilities, all learning styles – from those who’ve never picked up a racket before, to those who want to win – we welcome you!
Tennis is a fun, active game with a focus on improving agility, strength and fitness. So alongside our vibrant social tennis, we also partake in the Swindon & District League, competitions and tournaments to put your skills to the test!
Tennis in Purton has been well established for many years, but with our four open air courts, new floodlighting, annual events and much more, we like to think we’re evolving too!
Purton is renowned for its’ vibrant junior section which since the 1970’s has encouraged children to take up the game of tennis in the hope that they will first and foremost enjoy it and then perhaps want to play for a lifetime. Norene Richardson started these free sessions (for members only) on a Monday after school and then when the numbers became too big Margaret Belt added another session on a Wednesday. Over the years many club members have assisted and one of these, Nicola Gardner, took over in 1993 when because of work commitments the sessions changed to a Saturday morning.
The sessions are still going strong today and over the years it has been fulfilling for us to see so many children turn into adult playing members!
The Saturday morning Junior Club Sessions run from April through to the end of August.
A brief history of the club..
A meeting was held at St Mary’s School on Tuesday, 20 th February 1912, attended by the following people:- Miss Wilkins, Miss Clarke, Miss Woodward, Miss Kempster, The Misses Hapgood, Miss Haskins, Mr Whitlock, Mr A Woolford, Miss Smith, Miss Hale, Miss Evans, The Misses Corp, Miss Gardner, Rev J E Pugh, Mr S Back, Mr F W Drew, Mrs Drew, Mrs Woodward, Miss Simpkins, Miss Newman, Miss Hewer, Mr W J Morse, Mr R Woodward Mr Drew presided. The Rev J Pugh moved and Mr Whitlock seconded that a Tennis Club be formed. The motion was carried. The Cricket Club offered to provide and maintain two tennis courts on part of the cricket field. The groundsman would erect the nets, roll the courts and the pavilion could be used by the tennis club. The subscription, after long discussion, was set at three shillings, and the first match was played against Cricklade Tennis Club. The rent for the season from 1 st May to 31 st August – later extended to the end of September – was set at £5.
During the First World War the Tennis Club lapsed and was restarted in 1919 when another meeting was held at the school to reform it. It was felt necessary to increase the subscriptions to five shillings and to limit the membership to 40 but to admit any returned soldiers who wished to join. This rule, however, does not seem to have been enforced as in 1920 there were 65 members, which rose to 71 in 1921. Tony Neate’s auntie, Violet May, recalls that she went to the courts at the cricket field in about 1932 when she was in the Comptons’ tennis team. She rode her bike to the ground with other members of her team and said they had to lift their bikes over a fence somewhere by the pond. There was a lady there called Freda helping to organise the match. Freda was the wife of Roger Wise who she thinks was a speedway rider in the area. There were deck chairs put out and tables with food. The courts were open with no wire netting around them and the ball would run away down the slope. The arrangement with the Cricket Club continued until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, when Purton found itself in the centre of a line of defences intended to stop the expected invasion of the German army. This consisted of a series of concrete pill boxes and a deep anti-tank trench which, when it reached the cricket field, avoided the cricket pitch, but was dug right across the middle of the tennis courts.
After the war was over three grass courts were established at the Red House and were tended with great dedication and authority by the groundsman, Edgar Ovens, who alone decided when the courts were fit to play on. At this time the leading figures in the club were John Scott as Chairman, Henry Stump as Secretary and Flossie Canter as Treasurer. In 1965 as part of Purton Parish Council’s plan for development three hard tennis courts were laid on the present site. It was agreed by the council that two courts should always be available for the general public. Later that same year the County Council declared that they had a road widening scheme for Church Street and Church Lane which would destroy the three grass courts.
In the late 1970’s, early 1980’s the tennis club experienced booming membership numbers as West Swindon was developed. This explosion led to Chairman, Derek Ward heading a plan to build two new courts ‘over the road’ by the cemetery. The Parish Council agreed to lease the land to the tennis club and this project was successfully completed in 1981 when the President of Wiltshire L.T.A. Basil Hutchins officially opened the courts.
In 1985 the two courts by the pavilion were resurfaced with the all-weather surface we have today. The courts ‘over the road’ followed suit in 1991.
In November 2003 a practice wall was installed on the court nearest the bowls green much to the delight of Honorary member, Margaret Belt, who had always wanted this facility to help the junior membership. Margaret was invited to officially open the wall. And in 2012 Purton Tennis Club saw the light with the installation of floodlights on the courts by the pavilion!