A brief history of Goudhurst Tennis Club at Brandfold
The original courts were built in 1922 for Brandfold House. When the house was demolished in 1927 the estate was sold off in lots and part of the property including the courts was bought by a Doctor Waterfield. The old chalet at the entrance to the drive was converted into Tea Rooms and the courts were used by visitors.
During the Second World War the courts were not used and the whole area became overgrown.
It was then that Nurse Stack (who our annual mixed doubles tournament is named after) organised a team of helpers and with Doctor Waterfield's approval cleared the pathway and the jungle which had over-run the courts. In 1946 the private club of Brandfold Tennis Club was formed and ten years later the courts and the path were purchased from Doctor Waterfield.
Over the next period the club's fortunes ebbed and flowed but a determined group of members kept it in existence, inspired by Nurse Stack who was the president of the club until her death aged 97.
Throughout its life the club has managed to raise money for improvements and maintenance when these were needed, and most of the work was undertaken by the members themselves.
However, in the early '80's the courts were in a very poor state of repair and if the club was to survive the only hope was to raise the necessary funds (some £12,000) to completely renovate both courts. With membership at a very low level the future looked bleak. However, thanks largely to a wonderfully successful Coaching Scheme for children and adults, interest in the club grew rapidly and with it grew the determination to raise the necessary finance.
When the courts eventually became unplayable the Coaching moved for a season to Bethany School, but the membership kept on rising and we were never short of volunteers to guarantee the loans which were provided by the LTA, the Kent County Playing Field Association and the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
Th club had no water or electricity on site, but in 1990 a unique opportunity arose. The local residents decided to install a new sewerage-procesing plant; the club sought to join this scheme, which would provide electricity, water and access to the sewerage system. The problem - the £10,000 needed! However, at an Extraordnary General Meeting in January 1991 the members voted - virtually unanimously - to push ahead. This involved raising loans from the LTA and KCPFA - accomplished by the tireless efforts of club secretary Una Heyn - and £2,000 in interest- free loans from members. Tom Crookhall's sound Chairmanship provided direction and stability through this exciting period.
During the same period we discovered an enormous septic tank directly underneath one of our courts - which turned out to be the existing sewerage system for the local residents! This was sealed and by the summer of 1992 we had electricity, water and sewerage facilities operational. There's never been a dull moment!
In 2005 the Committee decided it was time to reflect that the Club was indeed a "village" club and one the whole community could enjoy. A resolution was duly passed to change the name to Goudhurst Tennis Club at Brandfold.
The club now has over 100 membership units (families and individuals) who are fortunate in being part of one of the most attractively sited tennis clubs in Southern England. The Coaching Scheme continues to flourish and expand and we are involved in competitive tennis with other clubs.
The Committee, which is elected annually at the AGM, hopes all members will continue to take an active part in all our activities and will not hesitate to suggest improvements or plans for the future.