100 Years of Tennis

100 Years of Tennis at Rectory Field

Imperial Paper Mills (IPM) was founded in 1911 next to the Thames at Gravesend and created thousands of tons of newsprint per week. In common with other large employers, sports facilities were created for the workers. IPM had a football team, bowls club, athletics facilities and, in 1919, IPM Tennis Club was registered with the Kent LTA - one of about a dozen tennis clubs in Gravesend at the time.

The sports ground for IPM workers was initially based at Rosherville, close to the site of the paper mill itself. But in 1923, it was reported in the local press that IPM was considering moving its sports clubs to Milton in the east of Gravesend. Land Registry records show the deal was inked in November that year when IPM acquired a parcel of land which bordered Milton Road, adjacent to the rectory of Milton Church.

By the time the tennis season started in the spring of 1924, grass courts had been put in place at the new home of IPM Tennis and the first results of inter-club matches played at the new Milton ground were reported in local newspapers.

With the closure and dismantling of the paper mills in the early 1980s, IPM Tennis Club transitioned into the new Gravesham Lawn Tennis Club - a sporting section of Gravesend Rugby Football Club which took over the Rectory Field sportsground after moving from Northfleet.

2024 represents one hundred years of tennis at the club's current home where it thrives as the biggest tennis club in the borough.

GLTC is planning a number of events and activities to mark this important milestone. Details will be sent to members and shared here.

A newspaper cutting from spring 1924, one of the first matches reported on from the new ground. Matches prior to this were played at Rosherville.

This poster has been placed in the club house to mark the centenary. The background colours represent the proportion of time we have played on grass vs the time played on hard courts.