Theydon Bois Lawn Tennis Club History

The Club was established in 1926.

The instigator was Mrs Audrey Morgan of Thrifts Farm.   She and other interested parties put forward the idea of a tennis club on the cricket field and permission was given by the Buxton family.

Two grass courts were laid where courts 1 and 2 now stand but at ninety degrees to the existing courts.   The Vicar at the time was a member and Sunday play was not encouraged!   If the weather was inclement then play on grass was not possible but the grass still needed mowing and lines had to be re-done.   It seemed that it was all work and very little play!

The first President of the Club was Mrs Gerald Buxton OBE.

A small wooden shed was erected where the old cricket scoreboard used to stand, just next to court 2, and this housed the mower, white liner and deck chairs.   There were no other facilities at this time!

In about 1933/4 the courts were improved.   An EGM was called in October 1934 at which it was agreed to raise the annual subs to £1-5-0 (£1.25).   Also it was agreed a loan should be raised from the members to provide equipment for the improved courts.

As there was no clubhouse, the AGM and social events were held at Gray's Retreat in Coppice Row, Mr Doug Gray being one of the founder members of the Club.

In 1938 a wooden pavilion was purchased and erected by the members on the site of our present pavilion. The shed on the cricket field then housed a toilet and the mower.   The toilet was of the chemical variety and required emptying.   A hole had to be dug in the comer of the field and the Elsan bucket emptied - not a much sought after job! Cyril Drewey, one of our current Vice Presidents, often seem to draw the short straw.
 

Water and a water meter were installed for the courts and a hose sprinkler purchased.

Miss Blanch Buxton became President after Mrs Gerald Buxton and she never missed an AGM.

Mr Stan Horsted followed Miss Buxton and he was followed by Mr Theo Jones.

Throughout the war and post war years the Club flourished.   As people did not travel far out from the village, members spent every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays at the tennis club.   Picnics were common and very few went home until dark.

During this time a third court was added.

Then came the great debate! HARD COURTS.   Members were fed up with having the courts closed because of the weather and wanted hard courts.   The old school said that there couldn't be hard courts because it was a "Lawn Tennis Club "!

After much debate two hard courts were put down (grey, all weather) in May 1955.   And we did play in ALL weathers.

The third court was converted to a hard court in 1958.

 

At about this time it was decided to extend the clubhouse.  A rear section was added to incorporate a small kitchen and two changing rooms.   In addition, an outside flush toilet was installed behind the pavilion.

A wooden veranda was added at a slightly later date.



The Club's golden jubilee was celebrated in 1976 with a Dinner Dance at the Blacksmiths Arms, Thornwood, on the 6th February.

The fourth court was added in 1973 and the fifth in 1977.  

It was hoped that the gales of 1987 would blow the old Clubhouse down.   But no such luck and so the present Clubhouse was built in 1992 by obtaining a ten year loan from the Essex Lawn Tennis Association which was guaranteed by members of the Club.

By the early 1990's the Club boasted five mens and three ladies teams and a large juniors section and it was realised that to further its aims of coaching more and more juniors a sixth court would be required.   To meet the requirement of extending the playing facilities and updating the surface of the other five courts, it was decided to apply for a Lottery grant.   After much work and preparation together with massive local support the Grant was applied for but rejected.

Efforts to raise the monies by other means were successful, mainly due to the magnificent generosity of one member and another 10 year loan from the Lawn Tennis Association.

The sixth court was constructed and courts 1 to 5 were resurfaced with synthetic grass in the Spring of 2000 and were officially opened on the 2nd July 2000 by Mrs Eleanor Laing, the Member of Parliament for the Epping Forest Constituency.

     

The opening was also attended by Mr Burgess, Chief Executive of Epping Forest District Council, representatives of Epping Sports and Leisure Services, representatives of The Buxton Trust, local Councillors, the Essex L T A, Doe Sports (court contractors), Club Presidents and Honorary Life members of the Club, together with Club Members.

In 2007 a new kitchen was installed.

In 2010 the toilets and showers were stripped out and re-built.

And there we have the courts and clubhouse we see today.