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By John Smith posted July 20, 2016

Welcome to the History of Stourbridge Lawn Tennis & Squash Club

The formation of the club was made possible by the amalgamation of two very old and established clubs in Stourbridge, the Old Edwardian Tennis Club, and the North Worcestershire Lawn Tennis Club.

A brief history of the Stourbridge Old Edwardian Lawn Tennis Club is as follows:-

 The club was formed by members of the parent club the Stourbridge Old Edwardian Club, in approximately the year 1926. The Feoffes of Oldswinford Hospital School in Hagley Road gave permission for the club to the grounds; the major portion of the land being let to a Landscape Gardener by the name of Godfrey. The two main members behind the scheme were the late Alf Bomber (who was the treasurer) and the late Cyril Weaver (who was the secretary). The first President was Mr Hugh Perks of J T Perks & Co Ltd of Lye. In the 1930’s a further hard court was laid. The club flourished and during the war years the ladies of the club and many male members who were not called up for military service successfully carried on. After the War the club was most successful both from the membership and playing point of view, but in approximately 1953 the Feoffees very reluctantly had to give notice that they required the land for building purposes. The club had to vacate by the end of that season and it was necessary that the club should be in a position to start afresh by the commencement of the next season. The then committee viewed many sites and eventually decided on the land at Lobs Lane, off Red Hill and purchased it for £500. By begging and scraping and interest free loans from members, enough money was raised to commence developing the site under the Presidency of Mr Frank Edwards, who at that time was a partner in the Firm of Berliners, T W Edwards & Sons. By having great help from that firm and the members themselves a pavilion and four hard courts were available by the start of the 1954 season. An exhibition match was played and one of the players was Barry Ordish. A few years on and the club purchased from British Rail a further piece of land for £100 and two further hard courts were laid making six in all.  


As time went on it was apparent that for some reason Tennis was in decline and on the initiative of Barry Ordish (North Worcestershire) a joint meeting of a few members from each club met at the Stourbridge Old Edwardian Club in Victoria Street and despite opposition in certain quarters it was decided that an effort should be made to form a completely new club (with additional facilities such as squash), by selling first of all the North Worcestershire Club, and the members of both clubs play at the Old Edwardian Tennis Club until the new club was available. After a lot of searching the present site, which was an old sand mine, was bought and developed and was officially opened by Sir Michael Higgs on the 10th May 1969.

 It is difficult to mention individuals who over the years have given much support to the Old Edwardian Tennis Club, but having mentioned all the work done by Frank Edwards, a mention should also be made of Mr T CV Edwards of John Hall & Co (no relation to Frank) who was President for some 16 years. Alf Bomber also was a Tower of Strength for many years.

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THE NORTH WORCESTERSHIRE LAWN TENNIS CLUB

 Immediately after the first World War, Tennis and Cricket being the main summer sports there was felt to be a need for a good standard tennis club in the Stourbridge district. Accordingly a number of families interested in the sport which was then strictly amateur, together established The North Worcestershire Lawn Tennis Club on a piece of land opposite the Golf Club in Worcester Lane. There were six beautiful grass courts and three not so perfect hard courts which were want to leave large puddles after rain and play was prohibited after a frost. The pavilion was a converted large army hut with kitchen and ladies changing room on one side of a large hall complete with notice board and large table and a mens dressing room with a cold shower in a corner of which a toad resided for some time on the other side of the hall. 

 In the early days applications for membership were strictly screened by a self perpetuating oligarchy and a good standard of play and good general behaviour both at and surprisingly away from the club were demanded. Although the oligarchal committee exercised a firm discipline over the members nevertheless many will remember with gratitude marvellous times at “the Tennis Club” between the Wars; indeed the club gained a lofty reputation as a marriage bureau because of the many successful marriages between members. But tennis was the prime object and for many years the North Worcestershire Club members provided most of the County Team (Men and Ladies) and of course there was Don Butler who was Captain of England. During the war the club continued in existence due to the generous efforts of the then Honorary Secretary the late Eric Penn. After the war came the automatic change of attitudes, change of committee and change of membership but fortunately such changes were for the benefit of the club. Again the main object namely tennis was maintained but he so called facilities were unacceptable to the new membership in spite of the installation of a coin operated geyser in the means room and banishment of the toad. Ultimately it was decided to sell the club ground for house building and establish a club with modern facilities elsewhere. To the chagrin of the then Chairman who persistently advised caution the younger members of the committee under the leadership of John Wooldridge set up a cordial liaison with the Old Edwardian Tennis Club and successfully founded the Stourbridge Lawn Tennis Club with first class modern facilities and due credit should be paid to them for their skilful imitative.