A Hartlepool sports club has celebrated 130 years for serving up good times.
Hartlepool Lawn Tennis Club held a special dinner for members to mark the end of its 13th decade.
Secretary Paul Asensio said: “The earliest reference to the club was in a ‘wanted ad’ in The Northern Daily Mail in September, 1886.
“A new tennis club was to be opened and they required ‘turf to sod’ for the development of several grass tennis courts.”
The club opened the following year on a plot of land between Alma Street and Sheriff Street , with 110 gentlemen members, and 60 ladies.
In 1882, the club moved to a new home on the corner of Grange Road and Granville Avenue, where it remains to this day.
I feel quite sure that my great-great-grandfather would be very pleased to know that the tennis club he founded so long ago is still thriving and is now one of the oldest tennis clubs in the country.Sir William Gray
In the early 1970s the club amalgamated with Linden Grove Tennis Club when the Linden Grove courts were sold for housing, and in 1974 the sale of the land on which the original wooden pavilion was sited allowed the club to build the present clubhouse, providing new changing rooms, showers and toilet facilities.
“Today the club has nearly 150 members,” said Paul.
“We have a large number of juniors and the club places a strong emphasis on junior and new member development.
“We have men’s and ladies’ teams in the Cleveland League and they always place well.
“Although the club faces a number of challenges, it has a strong tradition.
“With this amazing heritage, the club continues to show the same grit, passion and love for tennis it always has.
Shipbuilder Sir William Gray was one of the founders of the club and it was traditional that he would address members at club events.
The tradition was revived this year, when a letter from his great-great-grandson, the current Sir William Gray, was read to the audience.
“I remember cycling past the courts many years ago, when I lived in Hartlepool –probably on the way to the sweet shop,” he wrote.
“I feel quite sure that my great-great-grandfather would be very pleased to know that the tennis club he founded so long ago is still thriving and is now one of the oldest tennis clubs in the country.
“On a personal note, I’m very pleased that the sporting legacy established in Hartlepool so long ago has been continued through the support of the club’s members for so many years.
“I do hope that it will continue to do so.”