A Brief History of the Club
Just over 100 hundred years ago Ryde Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club was wound up and gave six months’ notice of intention to give up possession of the Terrace Garden in a ‘mead’ in central Ryde. The Club had only two tennis courts and one small croquet lawn, the committee wanted to lease a larger area in Ryde so that croquet players could have a full-sized lawn and tennis players could have courts running north/south to avoid sun in their eyes.
- 1906 – A site of “three acres two roods and thirty five perches” was found in Pell lane, next to Play Street Farm, and, on 21st October 1906, the Lord of the Manor of Ashey and Ryde, William Player Brigstocke, granted the Club a lease on the land for twenty one years at a yearly rent of £21 1s 5d.
- 1907 – There must have been a lot of work done quite swiftly, because there was a grand opening of the new Ryde Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in July 1907. A photograph of this event is in the Clubhouse, which itself can be clearly seen, looking much as it does today
- 1960s – The Club managed to purchase the land that it had leased since 1906, mainly by issuing debentures. In March 1961, work was completed to convert grass court 1& 2 to all-weather courts of asphalt and clinker, at a cost of £1,100.
- 1970s – Courts 1 & 2 temporarily resurfaced in 1972 and professionally redone in 1977.
- 1980s – In 1986 Tennis court 3 was converted from grass to porous macadam with brick surround. The following year courts 1 & 2 were again resurfaced for £6,302. Times were hard for the Club and membership decreased towards the end of the decade.
- 1990s – In 1992/93 there was extensive refurbishment of the Clubhouse, financed by a Debenture issue and a Council grant. This helped the Club retain its bar licence and host the tennis events of the Island Games in 1993 – played on the croquet lawns as the grass tennis courts were not good enough!Work began in August 1997, to resurface the existing 3 hard courts and create 3 more, add a new toilet/shower block for the disabled and enlarge the car-park, and was complete by May 1998. Estimated cost had been £100,000 but inevitable hidden costs, including subsidence on court 3, previously the site of a farm duck pond, raised the final cost to over £150,000, met by various grants, Lottery money and a substantial sum raised by the Club itself.
- 2004 – A tennis practice-wall was installed and a new sprinkler system purchased for the croquet lawns.
- 2005 – Flood-lights were installed on three courts to give members extended playing time all winter.
- 2006 – Courts 4, 5 & 6 were resurfaced with Astroturf.
- 2007 – The RLTCC CENTENARY was celebrated.
- 2008 – The club was awarded the LTA’s Clubmark, the first on the Island.
- 2009 – Courts 1, 2 & 3 were resurfaced with Astroturf and courts 2 & 3 were floodlit.
- 2010 – The kitchen was completely re-decorated and re-fitted to a high standard. The Treasurer’s Tankard and the Ascot Cup Croquet Association tournaments were hosted by the Club in September.
- 2011 – Men’s and Ladies’ changing facilities were completely refurbished and the exterior of the club-house repainted. The Club looked splendid inside and out for the Island Games held in the summer and for the Royal visit by HRH Prince Edward on June 30th. The Spencer Ell, one of the Croquet Association “Eights” events was hosted by the Club in September.
- 2012 – New wrought iron gates were installed for the club with the letters RLTCC incorporated into the design.
- 2013 – Courts 4, 5 & 6 were completely rejuvenated. The RLTCC were victorious against the Over45 Club of Great Britain in the inaugural Ray Mason Rose Bowl competition, and the Croquet Members were very pleased with their new Summer House designed as a shelter for players and spectators on lawn 4. The Musk Cup, Croquet Association Golf Croquet tournament was held at Ryde in July and the highest of the Croquet Association “Eights” tournaments, The President’s Cup, was hosted in September.
Over 100 years old and the Club continues to improve facilities for all its members.