History of Duffield LTC

Key moments in Duffield LTC history as recorded in minute books, articles and other sources

1. 1882 -1957

It was one of the first tennis clubs in the country.  The original site was at the Derby end of the village, near Yates' farm.  Only courts were provided - there was no pavilion or dressing rooms. Subscription was 5 shillings (25p) per year. Racquets were provided by the club and cost 28 shillings for 4, an average 7 shillings (35p) per racquet. Only 4 were needed as there was only 1 court. No lady members were allowed on the Committee. A new net cost 15 shillings (75p).

The new ground was on Derby side of Ecclesbourne Avenue. Balls were 75p for two dozen & lasted a season. Two new rules were introduced:
(a) Any member losing a ball was to pay for half its cost,
(b) It became 'desirable that players should wear tennis shoes'.

The British Lawn Tennis Association formed in 1888, eleven years after the first Wimbledon championship. It was tasked with maintaining the new rules and standards of the emerging sport of tennis in the United Kingdom.
In the same year Duffield LTC adopted club colours - navy blue & white was the order of the day..

No matches were to be played until Peace was declared. Many Duffield players were in the Armed Forces. In 1916, soldiers from the Duffield Hospital were allowed to play on the courts.Duffield LTC was heavily involved with the formation of Derby & District Lawn Tennis Association. All future county matches were played at Duffield, which became 'The County Ground'.  

In August 1914, war was declared.  While members played on the first Saturday of the war, long trains laden with heavy guns moved slowly past the courts.

As many Duffield players were in the Armed Forces play at Duffield was suspended.

In 1916, soldiers from the Duffield Hospital were allowed to play on the courts.

A letter to members in 1924 proposed that everyone should lend the club £2, without interest, to fund the new pavilion, which would 'comprise a tea room and dressing rooms with lavatory accommodation, water being laid on'.  Two new courts would also be laid. The loans were to be repaid within five years. No shower was built in the ladies' dressing room as this was deemed 'unseemly'.

Duffield becomes headquarters of Derby and County Lawn Tennis Club and base for county matches. 

The Court is built to SRA standards at a cost of £1000. There is a boileroom downstairs and a large balcony overlooking the court. Most of the monyey was raised from members 'by way of an issue of £5 interest-free promissary notes'. An 'elaborate garden party' was also held at The Hermitage on Hazelwood Road. The original officers of the Squash Club were those of the tennis club: L. Loolley (President), W. Brooks (Chairman), K. Thomson (Secretary) and P. Opie (Tresurer).

A  group of local business men buy the present site. Work is completed in 1945 and the club moves to its new site.

J. I. Tattersall, Duffield 1st team player, wins both Wimbledon Junior Singles and Mixed Doubles titles. In the Singles final he beats I. Ribero of Brazil 6-2 6-1. In the Mixed Doubles final he partnered Honor Durose, also from Duffield LTC. They beat Ann Haydon and Roger Faulkener, Roger was from Duffield LTC. Therefore in the Junior Mixed Doubles final in 1957, 3 out of the 4 players were from Duffield LTC.

The membership reached 200 and the balance in hand was over £200. Funds had also been raised to build a practice wall. The Ladies 1st team won Division 1 and the mixed team had reached the Lawson-Wood Cup final, being beaten by Ripley.

2. 1960 - 2000

Squash and tennis sections combine to purchase the freehold of the property from Paragon Investment Ltd. for £3,500. Some members loan the club £100 in return for free membership until the loans were repaid.

The River Ecclesbourne had regularly flooded the courts leaving thick layers of black sludge which had to be cleared. Derek Povah, Bruce Sephton & others built the present wall on the river bank which involved 3 ft long steel pipes being driven through Stanley blocks, then cemented. Since then (touch wood) there have been no more flooding problems from the river.

Ladies' teams went through the season unbeaten. Ladies' 1st team won Div. 1 and Ladies' 2nd. team were 2nd (also) in Div. 1, Ladies' 3rd team won Div. 4

During the building phase, the old pavilion burned down. Fireman from Belper and Derby attended the 'ferocious blaze'.

Duffield share the Men's Division 1 title with Littleover, the last time they will win Div.1 in the 20 century.

Club centenery celebrations saw Duffield players dressed up in attire remeniscent of that worn 100 years previously. The event was shown by the BBC on Midlands Today.

New floodlights switched on with Nick Fullwood, Nick Brown, Jeremy Bates and Steven Shaw playing an exhibition match. Umpire was Ray Bailey.

Regular aeration problems eventually led to three lawn tennis courts being dug up and replaced by carpet. A working party had visited a number of other clubs which had different surfaces, including one club in North London which had recently laid artificial grass courts. This experience, together with Wimbledon's recommendation, led to the present courts being laid.

Further improvements made to the playing facilities with the top two courts being resurfaced with the latest artifical grass and new floodlights installed on courts 1, 2 & 7.  The design of the new lights imported from Miami  was intended to prevent overspill of light thereby reducing the glare into neighbouring houses

3. 2000 - Present

The team of Mark Elks & Caroline Wood, Shona & Mark McAnulty, James Russell & Carol Winfield beat Ockbrook in the Lawson-Wood Cup final.

Men's 1st team wins the Division 1 title for the first time since 1979. The Men's 2nd team wins Division 2 and the Men's 3rd team wins Division 3.

More success for the Men's 1st team and a new pavilion is built near the bottom courts for storage and to provide shelter in inclement weather.

A bonanza year for the ladies’ summer league teams, with the 1st team winning Division 1 for the first time in 18 years.The Ladies’ 3rd team won Div. 2 and the 4th team won Div. 3, with the second team maintaining their place in the 1st Division and the fifth team coming a close second in Div. 4.

As well as winning Club of the Year, Courts 1 and 2 are resurfaced, with courts 3,4 and 5 following in 2017.

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Duffield Tennis Club had a triumphant night at the Derbyshire Tennis Association awards evening. The Club received the Club of the Year accolade for the third time in four years, after a fantastic summer season for its ladies’ teams, as well as winning the county knock out mixed competition for the Lawson Wood Cup. Ladies’ team members collected a host of trophies at the event at Pride Park, with Ladies’ 1 topping Division 1, Ladies’ 3 winning Division 2, and Ladies’ 4 winning Division 3. Ladies’ 2 finished mid table in Division 1 and Ladies’ 5 were runners up in Division 4. In the Mixed league, Duffield 2 also won Division 2. The Men’s 1st team were 3rd in Division 1 with most other men’s teams finishing mid table. Along with the adult success the junior teams also won 4 summer League divisions and 2 winter divisions plus the club has 20 juniors accessing County training and 8 juniors representing Derbyshire in County Cup competitions. But it wasn’t just about the success of the teams. Oli Storr was voted Coaching Assistant of the Year, while 14-year-old Issy Knighton was Young Volunteer of the Year.  (Extract from Duffield Scene, April 2019)

Bowls Club 1954
Bowls Club 1954
Men's Team 1955
Men's Team 1955
Pavilion 1925
Pavilion 1925