In order to appreciate what we have today, we sometimes have to look back and remember the past along with everyone who has been a part of the journey in making Croxley Tennis club what it is today.
Without any of the contributions made by our absent friends all the way through to our members today, our club would not be standing today. This page has therefore been created and is dedicated in honour and respect to everyone who has contributed and been part of making Croxley Tennis club what it is today.
Please find below a journey based on the information available that tells the history of our Tennis Club, and provides you with a look back at some of the memories and times at Croxley Tennis Club.
The History of Croxley Tennis Club Origins
The Croxley Guild of Sport was founded in 1911, on 6 acres of land acquired by the John Dickinson Paper Group, for the use of its employees. It provided a football pitch, a cricket pitch, a bowling green, and 5 tennis courts. There was also a clubhouse with a bar and facilities for indoor games. This is still located on the original site. Dickinson’s retained overall ownership, providing staff for both the bar and maintenance of the grounds.
The Guild had a large degree of independence with a management committee elected by members. Also, each of the four sporting sections had their own management structure to control activities. Members of these sections paid an annual subscription to the Guild as well as their own club.
The tennis club originally consisted of three grass courts and two red clay courts. It appears likely that, in common with many works sports clubs, it was poorly supported by employees and at some stage, admittance of outsiders was allowed. Dickinson's retained an interest in the club and required that it was necessary to have at least one Dickinson employee on the clubs committee.
Despite this numbers still declined and it was notable that none of the committee members were from Dickinson’s, which was a requirement of the firm. It passed muster, as one of the players was the son of an employee. Little is known about the early records of the tennis section, but it was active and likely to have entered teams in the Watford and District Tennis League competitions.
One of the earliest memories is that there was a successful run in the early 1960’s with a team doing well in the Hertfordshire Tennis League, as well as local League. This period did not last. In the mid 1970’s the Dickinson Company was in decline. A major reorganization was undertaken.
The old factory was demolished in favour of new modern facilities at Apsley, Hemel Hempstead. The company became part of the Dickinson Robertson Group. It had no further interest in the Croxley Guild of Sport and the field became the property of the Three Rivers District Council. A mandate was drawn up to provide recreational facilities for residents with a lease from the council and was expected to be financially self-supporting.
This was a difficult time for the Guild. There were problems in finding suitable management staff from volunteers. There was a large cash deficit. The Guild house itself was in poor condition and the courts and equipment needed much refurbishment Times were hard and tennis balls were not discarded until the nap had worn through, showing the canvas underneath!
The cricket section collapsed! and the pitch was allocated to the football section. The tennis courts had deteriorated and were not suitable for match play. Membership fell below 20. There was difficulty in finding teams that could hold their own in the local league. The Subscription at the time was £3 per annum. Even that proved difficult to collect from certain members (some things never change!)
CTC Historical Minutes
The History Continues
However, in 1990 a local businessman, called Mr. D. N. May, made an approach to the Club offering to make major improvements to the equipment at his own expense. In return he wanted an underlease on the tennis premises and financial control.
The offer was accepted. This enabled much-needed refurbishment, since by this time all original courts were in almost unusable condition.
The old clubhouse was bodily transported by crane to the east side of the ground backing on the football pitch. A practice wall was provided and there were improvements to fencing and gates. The section became known as the Croxley Tennis Club. Membership numbers improved in response to the better facilities.
CTC Historical Member Photographs
After four years, club members decided that they wanted to regain control of the club. By agreement, Mr. May relinquished his interest in the club in return for reimbursement of his expenses. Members raised the required sum of £23.000 from private loans from individual members.
This money was repaid in 4 years by increasing the membership subscription. In 1995 the under lease from the District Council was signed to members. Club member Pat Allen worked hard to obtain a grant from the Lottery and other organizations. This totalled £59,000 and enabled the reconstruction of the three remaining courts and upgrading to the existing floodlighting.
In 1998 the two shale courts and the last remaining grass court were converted to all-weather courts with flood lighting.
When the work was completed, an opening day was held on at Croxley Tennis Club on the 7th June 1998 and a ribbon was cut by Mrs. Barbara Lamb, Chairman of Three Rivers Council.
The History from 2002
In August 2002 the existing Croxley Tennis Clubhouse was demolished and a replacement portacabin was installed by crane. Finally in 2008, the club-negotiated grants in excess of £200,000 from the Lottery and Lawn Tennis Association. This, together with loans from members, enabled a complete refurbishment of the entire club premises. Two of the older courts where replaced and relocated on the north side of the ground, along with a new court, now comprising 6 full size courts making maximum use of land. Space was found for two children's 'mini tennis' courts and floodlighting was improved all round. In addition to this, the old portacabin was replaced with a new spacious clubhouse, purchased for £10,000, which was originally a site office on a housing development. Club Members completed all the work of assembly and re-fitting of interior rooms. A modern kitchen was installed plus a ramp facility for disabled members access. So far, this is still not used, but necessary in deference to the law.
CTC Refurbishment Galleries
CTC Early Development of Club
Croxley Tennis Club Today
The club now is a large, modern undertaking and widely supported. It has about 270 members, including a contingent of juniors. It fields 2 Mens, 2 Ladies and one mixed team in the Watford League, plus teams in veterans and junior Leagues.
The age of players starts with a training facility for toddlers from age 3 years. Members range from about 8 years old to over 80 years with one honorary member aged 96!
Opening of CTC Courts 2000
The Spirit of Croxley Today
CTC Construction of Courts 2008
Our Absent Friends
Our club would like to remember the past members who have died. They brought their own unique contribution to our club and we remember them.