Baxter Park Tennis Club history

The history of Baxter Park Tennis Club is a fascinating tale.

Baxter Park Tennis Club is situated in Gatley just inside the North East Cheshire border and approximately nine miles south of the City of Manchester.

The area known as Baxter Park takes its name from the Baxter family, who owned the land, and in the mid nineteen thirties, decided to build some houses on it. The Baxter family also built three tennis courts and a bowling green to help them sell the houses which means that the club is in the centre of the estate.

The facilities were leased to the tennis club and the bowling club –  two separate organisations. So it was in the mid nineteen thirties that the Baxter Park Tennis club was created.

In 1982 land occupied by the tennis club and the bowling club was made available for sale. A grant of £2,000 was obtained from the Sports Council. The remaining funds were contributed from the tennis club and the bowling club. The Baxter Park Sports Club was created as a vehicle to purchase and hold the land.

Ever since the club was formed in the mid thirties, there has been a bond between the Club and the local community. The club admits local residents as “social” members for a nominal annual membership fee to allow members of the local community, not playing tennis, to express their interest and support for the Club. The Club, in return, hosts a small number of activities involving the local community.

In 2008, the Club invited the local community to take afternoon tea and watch a game of tennis. In the past, the club house has also been used for other local activities.

In 2013, Baxter Park Tennis Club was seventy years old and the courts were showing their age. To continue to offer safe playing facilities, it became necessary to resurface the three tennis courts and replace the surrounding netting. As one out of the three courts was already out of use for safety reasons it was imperative that work was started a soon as possible. The estimated cost of this was in the region of £60,000 to £80,000.

The Club’s capital fund had risen year-on-year for the past ten years through various fund-raising exercises like barbecues, but at just over £7,000 that was nowhere near enough to meet the cost of resurfacing the courts. The existing surface was deteriorating and the consequence of not replacing the surface would be the closure of the facilities. This would be a great loss to the local area and to the junior and senior members of the club.

Brookside Tennis Club history

Brookside Tennis Club was previously situated in Brookside Close, Cheadle, just inside the north east Cheshire border and, for approximately eighty years, members enjoyed excellent facilities.

More recently, however, time took it’s toll on the facilities to the extent that play began to be compromised (the club entered a team in the North East Cheshire league up to the season 2007/2008). During that season, the League Authorities ruled that the courts were unfit for league matches and the Club used alternative courts, on a temporary basis, to complete the remaining home match fixtures of the season.

The Club had neither the financial facilities nor the manpower to bring the three courts up to the standard required and therefore a decision was made to withdraw the team from the league.

Although the Club has a relatively small membership, these are local people who enjoy meeting for a social game of tennis and have worked hard in an attempt to keep the club functioning and they were very determined to continue that activity. For three years, Brookside Tennis Club had been co-operating with another local club, Baxter Park Tennis Club, in Gatley. This was a great success and a plan was formed to merge the two clubs and share the assets. Brookside Tennis Club signed an agreement with a developer for an option to purchase the land  belonging to the Club and used the proceeds from the sale of the land to renew the courts at the Baxter Park Club.

The committee of Brookside Tennis Club was determined to move forward and saw this as an opportunity to enhance the facilities for playing social tennis in the local community.  This move would secure the future for the members of the two clubs, including the junior section of Baxter Park.

The merging of two clubs

Baxter Park Tennis Club had recently been co-operating with another local club; Brookside Tennis Club. It was a successful arrangement that had extended organised playing events to four times a week and increased activity in the sport.

We decided to merge the two clubs.

Brookside Tennis Club signed an agreement with a developer for an option to purchase the land belonging to the club. Our two clubs then amalgamated and used the proceeds from the sale of the land to renew the courts at the Baxter Park Club to provide an outstanding playing facility and ensuring the security of both clubs for the future.