Club history

Extracts from A History of Colston Lawn Tennis Club by David Oakey

Early Days 1896 – 1921

The Colston Club had its first meeting on Monday, May 4th 1896 on the Filkins Hall grounds – no doubt tennis had been played there for some time before, but for all intents and purposes May 4th is the Official Club’s Birthday! The Christening followed a week later when the momentous words appeared in the minutes on May 9th…”It was decided that the Club be called the Colston Lawn Tennis Club … To find out why it was given the name of Colston we have to go back in the history of Filkins Hall, and even then we can only guess why that owner of the Hall was selected rather than any other … There was certainly Colstons at Filkins Hall from the mid-eighteenth century until 1828: the family were descended from the famous Bristol philanthropist, Edward Colston (d.1721), so perhaps the club thought that by adopting his name, they might come in for some of his legacy … Filkins Hall burnt down in 1876 and one or two other clubs used the grounds after this, among them the Tennis Club who hired the stables as well, to have somewhere to put their horses while they were playing tennis … There may well have been a break in activity during the 1914-18 war years, but apart from this we can assume that the Club carried on in much the same way as it began.

1921-1951

By 1921 the minutes … portray a smooth running existence during which the Club obviously prospered and membership remained high. An old and very defaced Club Card for 1927 shows over 60 members … Perhaps the most important event during this period occurred in 1922, when the Club succeeded in purchasing its ground for £100 from the executors of Squire Fox … there were 5 grass courts and, in 1922, it was agreed to make 2 more tennis courts from the 2nd croquet ground – that would have given 7 grass courts and 1 croquets lawn … in September 1935 the Secretary was asked to “convey the appreciation of the Club to the Tea maid for her services” … However the arrival of the war meant that many of these events were not seen again … Although the minutes of the club were not resumed until 1951 the club did continue in name if not in practice during the War.

1951-1980

The fifties were a great period of fund raising and social activity. Fetes were held annually , during the winter months whist drives were held in neighbouring villages and by 1959 Bingo had taken hold with 16 sessions that year and 8 in the first half of 1960 … The Club’s affairs in the fifties were not only social. One major event was the construction of a hard court in 1954 at a total cost of £460.9s.2d … With continued fundraising improvements to the pavilion and grounds continued and there was coaching available for all members … The 60’s and 70’s saw dinner dances, more social events and the club continued to thrive.

1980 to present day

As the Club approached its centenary grass courts began to be replaced by hard courts but the wooden pavilion survived … By the 1990’s the club had 6 hard courts only as the regular maintenance of the grass courts was finally thought to be too much of a challenge.