Established in 1906, The Royal Ascot Tennis Club has a long rich history as one of the oldest Tennis Clubs in Berkshire, with special thanks to the efforts of members and committees past and present.
Royal Ascot Tennis Club was established in 1906, with grass courts on the Heath inside Ascot Racecourse. The club shared a pavilion with Royal Ascot Cricket Club, and both clubs were tenants of the Royal Ascot Authority. A new pavilion was opened by H.R.H The Duke of Connaught on 8th Sept 1934 for the clubs.
The Heath was occupied by the Air Force for the majority of WW1, but the liveliness of the 1920s re-excited the club. During 1939-45 (WW2) British and American Forces used both the Cricket and Tennis clubs. Following WW2 use by the Army ceased, causing membership to dwindle. A groundsmen required for grass courts couldn't be afforded, the public location gave access to children who damaged nets, and rabbits damaged the turf..
Thanks to the then chairman, Mr. Frank Hobbs, the owner of Ascot Wood was persuaded to clear an area of his land, lay 2 hard courts, and lease to the club.
The club kept its affiliation with the Racecourse. Captain Sir Nicholas Beaumont, Clerk to the Racecourse remained the president of Royal Ascot Tennis Club up until the 1990's.
The bar licence was obtained in the 1950's, and the club's non-tennis social calendar evolved. An annual dinner dance, and weekly winter social evenings with dancing, table tennis and snooker, as alternatives to Tennis.
In the 1950's Harold Naylor, the club captain, began our tennis coaching sessions for Juniors. Coaching has continued at the club ever since.
The Clubs annual Club Championships date back to the mid 1930's, although with gaps in the Mens during WW2, but by the 1950's could fully recommence. A round of applause please for Chris Brickell being awarded the Mens Singles Cup, from Harold Naylor (Coach) and Buzz Sincock (Secretary) in 1957.
The tennis clubs lease on the land expired, and the club was made an offer to buy the land for £6,500. With loans from the LTA and Sports Council, along with 50% raised through the clubs own fundraising events, the Club now owned the land. The Club immediately then built a third court and grew it's membership.
The first water supply to the club was laid by members digging a trench from Ascot Wood house to the original pavilion. The clubs members have always been the clubs biggest asset, and still today are proactive at volunteering in organising, managing, and doing so many essential tasks.
The clubhouse, a second hand army barrack building collapsed after a New Years Eve function the previous evening. There was heavy snow that day and heat in the building during the party caused it to melt. It then re-froze and the weight pushed the roof in and the walls out. Insurance paid for the next building which has subsequently been extended to as it is today.
The club laid it's 4th court. "We have the space for a fifth court too" said Mr Ratcliffe (Secretary) in interview to the Press. We've been saying the same statement for the next 45 years.
The club began running regular Summer Camps and the membership soared to full with waiting list over the next 6 years.
The club installed Floodlighting above the Top Tennis Courts. One of the members worked for the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) and was able to manage the installation of the high power sodium lights. Again, the club was blessed with a member volunteering a "Do it Ourselves" Job.
The clubhouse was renovated and extended to include Toilets, Changing Rooms, a Kitchen and Bar. A £25,000 project, with funds raised internally through Fireworks Parties, Barbeques, and Christmas parties, a £6,000 Grant from Maidenhead & Windsor Borough Council, £2,000 from Sunninghill Fuel Allotment Trust and a donation from the Prince Philip Trust.
The Club celebrated it's 100th Birthday with a Centenary Dinner in Oct 2006 at the Brockenhurst Hotel, for all it's Members. The biggest party the club has ever held.
In 2005, lights were installed on court 4. We now had 4 Floodlit courts.
The club launched our first website in 2005 on freespace. Version two launched in 2009, and moved on to our own dedicated server.
New courts were laid in 2010.
35 years after the Clubhouse's first renovation, it was definitely due another. The courtside wall was replaced by modern bi-folding doors. The Bar room opened up into the main building, and a large sundeck built out the front of the building. Again, this years renovations were funded through the efforts of members raising money in fundraising events, the sale of car parking for Royal Ascot, and other activities.
New artificial clay courts were laid in Spring of 2022, and replacement LED floodlights were installed in the Autumn.
New courts attracted new members. The clubs Adult membership reached full with a waiting list again.
Website relaunched - version 4.