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History

Heraldic Blazon of the Marquess of Abergavenny The Club is one of the oldest in the country. It was founded in 1899 after the Marquess of Avergavenny opened the Nevill Ground — comprising a cricket pitch, athletic track, football ground, six tennis courts and some croquet pitches.

Tennis courts were rented for the summer and footballers played on the grass in the winter – but by 1906 the footballers were kicked out and a “tremendous jump in membership” took place, according to club documents.

In 1906 the first groundsman was engaged: “Man, horse and harness hired for 1 shilling an hour and pony-drawn mower purchased”. At the turn of the century the subscription for a single gentlemen was set at one guinea with different rates for ladies.

The first Open Tournament held was held in 1908 —in the following years it was so successful that extra courts had to be made at the cricket ground.

Tunbridge Wells Lawn Tennis Club (TWLTC) was known for its grass courts and it wasn’t until 1931 that the first four hard courts were laid where the croquet lawn had been. Obviously the two major disruptions to play occurred during the two world wars where members on active service were excused their subscriptions. Between 1939-45, the club secretary had the job of deciding when play was to stop when air raid alert was sounded.

Post-war, the club increased in success with both the ladies and men’s teams winning top divisions of the Kent Cup. In 1962-64 the winner of the Club Closed ladies’ title was a local grammar school girl, Virginia Wade, who went on to take the US Open in 1968 and who won the ladies’ singles title at centenary year in Wimbledon in 1977.

In the Seventies, a new wooden pavilion finally replaced the construct built for footballers in the 1890s. It was replaced by the current clubhouse, opened by Mark Cox, in 1992.