Club history

History of Colston LTC

(largely drawn from A History of Colston Lawn Tennis Club by David Oakey)

1896-1921

While the club’s official history begins in 1896, the connections between the club and the local area date back to the mid 18th century when Alexander Ready and his wife Sophia Edwards took possession of Filkins Hall, the original site of the club. The couple had taken her family name (Colston) and they established that name in the Filkins area. Filkins Hall passed to their grandson who lived there until 1828, before it was leased to others for 20 years and then sold. It burned down in 1876 but the grounds were made available for use as a tennis club although not formally constituted at one. “The Colston Club had its first meeting on Monday, May 4th 1896 on the grounds of Filkins Hall. 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!” On May 9th… “it was decided that the Club be called the Colston Lawn Tennis Club”, although the reason for choosing this name is obscure. The Colston family had left nearly 70 years before and were not members. Ownership of the hall had passed to others as well and there was no financial contribution from the Colston family.  Possibly, Colston was just a well known name in the area and preferred to the name of the current owner or indeed Filkins itself. Whatever the reason, at over 120 years old Colston Tennis is one of the oldest clubs in Oxfordshire and indeed the UK. Some members today remember their grandparents playing at Colston!

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.