The first tennis courts

Two grass courts and six hard courts were made for the park’s opening in 1931. 

Photograph in the opening ceremony programme of the newly made tennis courts

They were situated between Pellow’s Field, where the Life Centre stands today, and Britannia Way.

The tennis courts can be seen in the bottom left of this 1967 aerial photo (The Box accession reference 3488/6929)

Four of the hard tennis courts had new land drains installed between 1953 and 1955, which suggests that they had become unplayable or nearly so.  It is not known why the work took so long to complete although much appears to have been done by hand. 

Western Evening Herald 11th March 1953 (The Box accession reference 2732/8)
Photo of the tennis courts being re-surfaced in 1955 – the Independent 6th March 1955. (The Box accession reference 2732/9)

In 1970, the two grass courts were removed for the Mayflower Centre and in 1973 two of the hard courts were removed for the indoor bowls annex.  The remaining courts were removed by 1978 to make way for a five-a-side football hall and squash courts.  It is intriguing why tennis courts that had been refurbished less than 20 years previously should have been lost in this way.  It suggests that tennis playing had lost popularity and was not expected to come back.