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Club History

If you go down to Chipstead Village today, you will find the tennis club in the middle of various housing developments’ gardens, accessed via a narrow lane off The Old Garden.  Most first time visitors marvelled at the tranquil and idyllic setting of the club, surrounded by mature trees and large grassy verges which opened up at the end of the The Four HardcourtsThe four hardcourtslane. There are 4 all weather tennis courts with floodlights and a modern club house built 10 years ago.      

Chipstead PlaceChipstead PlaceThere were 3 original courts, 2 grass and l red brick dust with a pavilion which formed part of the Chipstead Place Estate. This was an impressive Palladian-style mansion set in 23 acres which stood for over 200 years. It was originally owned by the Polhill family (1711-1829) with 26 bed and dressing rooms and 6 reception rooms. It passed through various local wealthy tenants. During the First World War, the mansion was a hospital for the wounded. The photo was taken in 1930 just before the auction of the Estate’s contents in 1931 and the demolition of the House in 1932. The kitchen garden and greenhouse became Nursery Place but the tennis courts remained since access was difficult due to the sandy nature of the surrounding land.

A retired member of the club, Mrs. Mardi Roffey, remembered her parents (Mr. & Mrs. Clarke) being founding members of the CPLTC in the mid 1930s. It had about 20 members and paid £40 per annum rent to two White brothers. Her nanny would take her down to the club where the adult members would break for tea and cucumber sandwiches.

In the 60s, more houses were built around the tennis courts, completely enclosing it which made it not viable for house building with no vehicle access. The remaining White brother died in the mid 60s and the club purchased the freehold in 1968 for £1,500 with loans from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and grants from the Sevenoaks Council.    

Various committee members became trustees and negotiated with the LTA for various loans over the years to improve club facilities. This enabled the club to expand and laid down the current 4 hard courts to attract more members and broaden its appeal, not only to adult players but juniors as well.    

Development of Club activities and facilities

  • In the 1970s, further loans were obtained from the LTA to lay out the 4 tennis courts and surrounding areas
  • Membership in 1979 included 185 full members/35 intermediate and 143 juniors
  • CpltcclubhouseThe Old ClubhouseMen/ Ladies/ Mixed and Veteran teams competed in the Kent League as well as friendly matches with local clubs.
  • Social activities such as BBQ/New Members Day/Annual Dinner Dance were well attended. New ones such as Quiz Night/Open Day/Family Fun Day and Pre Wimbledon Fun Day were added.
  • In the 1976, Ted Hooker volunteered free junior coaching on Saturday mornings which went on for over 20 years.
  • In 1994, floodlights installed on Court 3 & 4 (loans from LTA)
  • In 1997, a questionnaire was sent to members regarding their views on club facilities/activities and future plans.
  • The Millenium brought new technology and we have a website with electronic court bookings (2007)
  • In 2006, the club received the Tennis Club Mark Accreditations from the LTA for 4 years and it has been successfully renewed ever since.
  • Over the past 15 years, part time club coaches carried on providing training from 4 year olds to teenages.
  • The New ClubhouseThe New ClubhouseIn 2009, a new club house was built to replace the wooden pavilion which served its usefulness for over 60 years with a substantial 10 year loan again from the LTA. It has a well equipped kitchen/TV/ping pong table/changing room.
  • Adam Reavely, our current coach has red/orange/green & yellow groups training 3/7 after school as well as Saturday morning.
  • The local junior Amherst School offers tennis lessons as part of the curriculum 3 times a week at the club for its pupils.
  • This collaboration between the club and the local junior school proved very profitable. In 2012 Amherst School received Kent Tennis School of the year award. They won the Kent Primary Schools’ boys under 8 and were Runners up in the boys under 10 team competition. In the Kent Schools’ Doubles, Amherst won both the Boys and Girls under 8 competitions.
  • The club was runner up in 2016 and won the Kent Club of the Year (1-4 courts) in 2017.
  • The Club also hosted charity days (for MIND) organised by Adam Revealy who was named Superstar fundraiser (£1,140) in February 2018.
  • All the achievements of the club over the years would not have been possible without the dedication, loyalty and commitment of the voluntary work from different generations of committee members. From keeping the club house stocked with supplies to regular spring and winter garden work parties. The club has also benefited from various legacies which were put to good use (purchase of ping pong table/benches for spectators).     
  • The ages of tennis playing members ranged from 4 to 80+ and the club always welcome new members and family groups. All the committee members throughout the history of the club have worked tirelessly to improve facilities/keep the courts in excellent playing condition and maintain the surrounding areas in their attractive setting.
  • The club has a current thriving membership of 236 and hope to continue to attract new members in the years to come.

Source materials :

 ‘A history of the parish of Chevening’ published by the Chevening Parish History Group 1999.                          

 ‘Sevenoaks – an historical dictionary’ ed. By D. Killingray and E. Purves 2012 

Compiled by Magdalen Fry (social secretary)

Jan. 2019

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