Monday, 14 September 2009

The Gentleman's Club

And so we raced south from Manchester for a 1 o'clock appointment deep in The Bard's county at Leamington, which reputes to be the oldest existing tennis club in Britain, built in 1846.
Nestled in the heart of the town, the club is a bastion of the old school - women have only been permitted in this Gentleman's club since September last year...
Kevin Sheldon, the club professional, greets us warmly at the front door and we embark upon a tour of this the grandest of courts we have seen so far. To the right lies the bridge room; ahead, the dining room with its equestrian prints adorning the walls... But the centrepiece lies to the left, the bar, resplendent with its small armoury of awards and ephemera. Amongst them there's the world champion Rob Fahey's racket, an over 65s trophy in the form of two silver zimmerframes mounted with real tennis rackets, and another trophy that tells the story of a 100 yard race between a sprinter and a Porsche - the latter apparently came in a close second!
Elsewhere, a long narrow box with holes in it affords members the opportunity to 'blackball' potential new members - an ancient vetting process to ensure harmony within the club! On one of the walls hangs a vast picture called 'The Dinner Match' depicting the club's major players either on court or watching the game from the galleries. The bar itself offers the club's very own Claret and 'Slaughterhouse' ale!
The court itself offers us new challenges with a steeper incline on the tambour and a smaller dedans than we have experienced so far. Our thanks to Kevin for his warm reception and to the club for their generosity towards the cause.


No comments:

Post a Comment