Lightcliffe in 1939

The Brighouse and Elland Echo of 24 March 1939 contained this photograph of the Grove Table Tennis Team which, in its first season, won Division 3 of the Halifax Red Triangle League.  The players are (left to right) Brian Webb (also a Lightcliffe cricketer), Eric Evans, A. Halford and J. Walton.  There was also a ladies’ team, members of which were Mrs. Tregenza, Mrs. Walton and Miss Marjorie Gelder.  They played their home games in the pavilion of the Grove Tennis Club, situated in what is now wasteland bordered by The Grove on its northern and western sides, the gardens of Bramley Lane houses to the south and Boggart Lane to the east.

The Grove was built between 1924 and 1926 by Algernon Denham’s company.  At the same time they built a stone tennis pavilion, with a kitchen, separate changing rooms, each with its own toilet facilities (at a time when many houses still had outside toilets) and created one grass and two hard courts.  The club became a focus for the families who lived in the new houses, and they held shows, whist and bridge drives and bazaars, as well as organising children’s parties at Christmas and flower shows in the summer.  There was a full-time caretaker, one of them a Mr. Storey, until the war.

At the onset of the Second World War the government commandeered the pavilion and courts and it became a base for the local cadets, who used the area for their exercises.  The Home Guard also drilled there from time to time.  However, the local children still played tennis when the courts were free, tying string between the net-posts, although the surface soon began to deteriorate beneath the onslaught of heavy boots.

By the end of the war the facilities had suffered to such an extent that their renovation would have been a costly undertaking.  Many of the young people who had been members during the 1930s were now men and women with other interests.  Those who were still keen to play tennis could join one of the local clubs at Lightcliffe Cricket Club.

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