History of Charnwood Club

This is reflection by the President of the Club who is also our oldest member. We hope you enjoy reading it.

The Club was originally a Tennis Section of the Brush Sports & Social Organisation which was funded in part by contributions of six pence per week (2.5p) by employees of the Brush Electrical Engineering Company situated in Loughborough. It was usual for large firms after World War 1 to invest in sports facilities to attract employees to the area and especially apprentices for future growth. 

The sports ground was sited off Forest Rd Loughborough and had Tennis, Bowls, Cricket, Football and Hockey facilities.  It is not sure when the Tennis Club was formed, but I joined the Brush Sports Tennis Club in late 1966 after taking up employment with Brush.  By then the Tennis Club had been going for many years and had the following: 

3 Grass courts, 3 Tarmac hard courts, 1 Small wooden pavilion (There was a central pavilion open to all sports)

3 Men’s teams, 2 Ladies teams, 2 mixed teams

The Ladies first team was in Division I and had several county players, but the men’s first team and Mixed team hovered between Divisions 1 and 2.

The main officers were:

Chairman/Treasurer --  Keith Herbert (now deceased)

Secretary/Organiser --  Derek Cutter (now deceased)

Head Coach               -- Jill Lloyd – very much alive (and here today)

The Annual Men’s Open Tournament which Derek Cutter ran for over 30 years and attracted players from all the surrounding counties. On one occasion the winners were a young pair from the Leicestershire Club namely: Sandy Small and Steve Cloake.  Mark Cox may have known them or even have played with or against them during those earlier years.

The Sports Ground was sold to Charnwood Borough Council as the site was needed for development both for Loughborough College and private housing, the entrance is now re named 'King Fisher Way’.  A new Sports ground was constructed off Nanpantan Rd at Watermead Lane, which also encompassed most of the original sports played at the old ground.  The Tennis Section moved to this site in the early 1970’s and soon after, changed its name to Charnwood LTC.

With new equipment, larger pavilion and 8 courts (3 grass, plus 5 all weather concrete) together with a new owner, further progress was anticipated and also a convivial working partnership with Charnwood BC.

A few reflections of playing Tennis over 50 years ago:

Racquets:  Mostly of wooden construction, with small diameter heads, very heavy and not as easy to play with as modern composite ones. Stringing was mostly gut which chafed when wet and often needed replacing.

Catering:  The ladies often catered for both ladies and men’s teams – How outrageous !!!!!!!

Matches:  Midweek, Mens and ladies.  3 pairs, best of 3 sets of up to 6 were played against your opposite pair.

Weekend Mixed matches: 3 pairs, best of 3 sets to 6 were played against each opposing pair. Start time was at 2pm but matches could last well into the evening.

Floodlights:  Many clubs did not have them.  During April and May midweek evening play often only ended when the ball was not visible. Those who went to SpecSavers had an advantage.

Sunday Play:  At least once a month, a Family afternoon was arranged with tea and sandwiches.

Courts and Balls: Many away courts were of black Tarmacadam or grey shale. With white tennis balls, the balls soon turned the same colour, very difficult to see, with grey shale courts, the lines were often loose and bad bounces were common.

Pavilion/Accommodation:  Have you ever had to change in any of the following:  A converted Hen Coup, a semi derelict train carriage, a Large garden shed with hanging onions for compan, a communal toilet block with no hot water?

If you have not, then you haven’t experienced the joys of rural league tennis!


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