West Bridgford Tennis Club is believed to have been founded in 1885. It’s first home was on Millicent Road, at the junction with Bridgford Road. A move to Wilford Lane, close to the river, followed in 1902. The club then relocated to it’s existing site in 1906.
In 1920 the club became a Company Limited by guarantee (West Bridgford Lawn Tennis Club Limited). One of the clubs most important steps in the clubs history followed in the same year, when the freehold of the ground was purchased with the aid of loans from members. At that time the club had seven grass courts and four red shale courts. However, the shale courts were let to another club known as The Hard Court Club until after the second world war.
There were occasions during the 1950’s when the club seemed near to closure but the had work of the committee members enabled the club to survive. The annual senior subscription which had been three pounds three shillings in 1938, had risen only to three pounds ten shillings by 1960. Despite a shortage of members, the men’s first team was consistently successful, often finishing top of the first division of the Nottinghamshire League. In the 1960’s the club was more prosperous and in 1965 floodlights were installed on two of the hard courts.
In the 1970’s with the annual senior subscription still in the region of £5.00 the club was in a weak position as other clubs began to invest in all-weather courts. Eventually enough money was raised to re-surface two of the dilapidated shale courts with grey-green grit but it was not until the early 1980’s that an enthusiastic committee embarked on a series of major steps forward. First, three new tarmacadam courts were constructed (where the indoor courts are now) followed by the construction in 1985 of a new brick-built pavilion which was paid for by selling the land which is now the site of the two bungalows separating the club from Little Bounds. In 1988 the two grey-green grit courts were resurfaced with tarmacadam and their floodlights were renewed. In 1990 the five remaining grass courts were re-surfaced (three acrylic and two tarmacadam ) and floodlit for the first time.
The improved facilities had justified substantial increases in the subscription so that for the first time the Club was able to pay its way from tennis income whereas previously jumble sales and other fund raising events had been necessary. With the appointment of a Club Coach in 1990 an expansion of the coaching programme began. The number of members (of all ages) increased steadily. Greater strength in depth ensured that the Club’s teams continued to prosper in an ever widening range of competitions.
In 1995 the Committee submitted an application to the new National Lottery for a grant towards the cost of new indoor courts. The application was successful. Various problems were surmounted and eventually (thanks to the Lottery grant an LTA loan and a grant from Rushcliffe Borough Council) the new pavilion, gymnasium and indoor courts were opened in September 1999. Three of the outdoor courts had been resurfaced with artificial grass as part of the project. The pavilion which had been built in 1985 had to be demolished to create a larger car parking area. The new facilities (staffed for 13 hours every day) provided the opportunity for even more tennis and coaching activity at all levels.
In some respects the Club has changed. It now reaches out to the wider community, not just its members. It now has a professional management team, other paid staff and more coaches than before. However, it is still (as has been the case ever since 1885) run by an elected committee of volunteers on a not-for-profit basis with the object of providing the best possible value for all who use it.