Moments In Time 2
Chiswick Poly Tennis celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2007. We date back all the way to 1882.
The tennis club began life on a site in Barnes, moved to Wimbledon and then – possibly via Paddington – transferred to our current Chiswick site in May 1906, the month it opened.
The photo on the left shows the Chiswick Poly Ladies' Tennis Club circa 1930.
Like most tennis clubs in the late 1800s / early 1900s, the Poly Tennis Club was divided into a Ladies' club and a Gentlemen's club.
The ladies' in the above photo are posing outside their clubhouse, which can also be seen in the photo below right. Although long gone, this clubhouse appears in the distance towards the top right of that photo, roughly where three of our hard courts stand now.
The grass courts in the foreground are our old "country courts" which were in line with the site of today's international hockey pitches, near to the A316.
And the photo below left shows workmen clearing our Chiswick site for the sports ground - it was taken around 1903-04.
University of Westminster archivist Elaine Penn has the full story:
“The founder of The Polytechnic was Quintin Hogg. Quintin Hogg (1845-1903) was a Victorian philanthropist and educationist. In the 1860s he set up a home and a school for boys in Castle Street, off Hanover Street in Soho (now Shelton Street and Endell Street respectively).
In 1873 the Young Men's Christian Institute was formed, to cater for older boys who had outgrown the school. It was in this period that Hogg developed his vision for providing for the athletic, intellectual, social and religious needs of the young which later characterised the Polytechnic movement. Membership fees paid for free use of a library, social rooms, gymnasium and entertainments for members.
A more ambitious programme of classes was introduced in 1878 and soon there were 500 members and a year-long waiting list. During the 1870s informal sports teams were created and matches took place, particularly in cricket and football.
In 1874 the Hanover United Athletics Club was officially formed, taking its name from the original location of the Institute in Hanover Street and comprising rowing, swimming, football and cricket. The teams played on Primrose Hill.
In 1881 Quintin Hogg purchased the clubs their first private grounds called The Limes at Barnes.
A year later the Men's Lawn Tennis Club was formed, with A. Beaven as Honorary Secretary and E. Ravini as Captain. By July that year there were 75 members and the tournament held at the end of the 1882 season was won by H. Leonard and J. Sullivan. Regular reports from the Tennis Section of the H.U.A.C appear from this date in Home Tidings, which becomes The Polytechnic Magazine from 1888.
In 1884 the clubs moved to a new, larger sports ground of 27 acres near Merton Hall in Wimbledon.
On 20 December 1887 the AGM of the H.U.A.C. passed a resolution to change its name to The Polytechnic Athletics Club. Many of the clubs had already begun to use the name Polytechnic informally, as Quintin Hogg had moved into 309 Regent Street,(previously homeof the Royal Polytechnic Institution), although the Institute's new title, Regent Street Polytechnic, wasn't officially constituted until 1891.
In June 1890 the Ladies' Tennis Club was formed, with Miss J. Clark as Honorary Secretary. Two years later, the Poly sports clubs held their first mixed social.
The Merton sports ground was sold for redevelopment in 1900, although some clubs appear to have still been using parts of the grounds until 1906. Paddington recreation ground is also mentioned as a temporary home to some of the clubs during this period.
Following Quintin Hogg's death in 1903, money was raised by public appeal for a suitable memorial. Part was spent on the Hogg statue, now in Portland Place, and part on buying a 40 acre permanent sports ground adjacent to the boathouse on the Thames at Chiswick previously purchased by Quintin Hogg in 1888 for use by the Polytechnic Rowing Club.
The Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground was officially opened on 19 May 1906. The Polytechnic Magazine reports that the tennis courts were ready for use from the first Saturday in May of that year.
So, although the Tennis Club isn't the oldest Poly sports club, as you can see, its development was very much part of the development of the Polytechnic itself and it is nice that the connection between what is now the University of Westminster and the Club still exists today.”
See also Moments In Time 1
Black and white photos reproduced with permission of University of Westminster Archive Services