A HISTORY OF WETHERBY CASTLEGARTH TENNIS CLUB, WETHERBY 1904 – 2014
In 1893 an agreement was signed between Mr Montague of Inmangthorpe Hall and the Wetherby District Council in which the land was called “Low Field” or “Mill Field”. The council then agreed to pay one pound on the sixth of April each year in consideration of a sewer laid by them through this field. In 1898, this meadow or pastureland consisting of approx 1½ acres was let to a Mr Coates for £6 a year.
In 1904, the field was purchased for £140 at an Auction Sale held in The Brunswick Hotel at Wetherby by; Mr Coates, Mr F Hoole, Mr J Hoole, Dr Hargreaves, Mr Heap and Mr Wilson. These six men formed themselves as trustees for a certain club called “The Castle Garth Lawn Tennis Club” and framed rules and regulations for the management of the club laying down that in the event of the premises being no longer required, or for want of adequate support, it shall be lawful for the Trustees to sell the land or alter or extend the objects or nature of the said club or may change the title. These arrangements were contained in a Trust Deed dated 1st October 1904 which set out the legal framework for the club and which still applies today. Originally, four grass courts and a pavilion were situated along a charming length of the banks of the River Wharfe above the Mill Weir and Wetherby Bridge. The courts were laid over an acre of level sand loam, which allowed them to drain quickly after rain. Town‟s water was available at the pavilion and there was easy access to the sewer for internal sanitation. Additional Land was available for a „hard court‟ or for other purposes without disturbing the existing grass courts. In 1904 there is a record that Mr Noble of Paradise Nursery, Boston Spa, tendered an estimate to make a new croquet ground for the sum of £28, as at the time, Croquet was very popular.
In 1940 further Trustees were appointed and in 1946, copies of the rules were amended and reprinted. In 1975 Castlegarth Lawn Tennis Club (as it was then known), reached an agreement with two members who constructed the present clubhouse in return for the land on which to build squash courts. Unfortunately, by 1995, the squash courts were not doing very well and subsequently ceased operating and lay in a state of dis-repair for many years and became an eyesore on the riverside.
The Tennis Club, however, has continued going from strength to strength and in 1998 with the aid of a lottery grant for £11363, were able to erect floodlighting to enable members to play tennis into the evening. Since 1995, there was speculation of the squash courts re-opening, then being converted to office premises and even the building of apartments and houses on the present site. The changing environmental climate has seen the courts flooded several times in recent years, both in Summer and in Winter, the last time covering the courts to the height of the net posts.
The present Committee have withstood all the approaches for development and agreed only to allow the squash courts to be finally converted to offices in 2002. In 2002 the lease for the squash courts was purchased by Paul Caddick of Caddick Construction, father of Andy Caddick the England International Cricketer. As part of the reconstruction programme of the Squash Courts into the main offices for Caddick Construction, the clubhouse was re-built with an upper story and a new viewing balcony. The interior was fully modernised and a brand new member‟s function room was created. Work commenced on October 4th 2002, 100 years, almost to the day, since the original Club was formed.
During early 2010 the floodlighting was extended to all 5 courts and in 2012 the downstairs area of the clubhouse was refurbished together with a low, see through fence being erected outside the clubhouse to improve court viewing. Junior tennis continues to thrive and membership is growing. Now known as Wetherby Castlegarth Tennis Club, playing tennis is available 365 days a year and up to 9-30pm under floodlights. Currently we have 179 Senior and 114 Junior and Intermediate Members.
All in all, the future looks exceptionally healthy at Wetherby Castlegarth Tennis Club and with the Committee committed to the improvement of the facilities and the support we can give to our members, will we be able to produce a Wimbledon Champion? We can but dream.