Had someone written about the history of the Liverpool and District Tennis Group 20 years ago it is quite probable that a lot more information would have been readily available. Starting such a project in 2014, it’s become quite clear how little of our history is known.
We know that the Group was founded in 1948 and may have involved the amalgamation of two existing tennis leagues. Beyond that little is known.
Some of our member clubs have taken the trouble to record their history in some detail and this page on the Bohemians website caught the eye as it mentioned Harold Glover one of Group’s past Presidents. The Blundellsands history page gives an excellent account of local tennis including the heroic attempts to keep the club going during the war years. These help us understand how Liverpool tennis flourished in post war Britain and how the need for a local league would have developed.
We hoped to find an early copy of the Group Handbook as this would no doubt help fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge. After much searching the earliest we could find however was a copy of the 1987 handbook with its familiar buff coloured cover. This of course contained the result tables for the 1986 season . It is very interesting to see what the league looked like 27 years ago and who was winning the various divisions. Sadly, many of the clubs mentioned are no longer in existence.
If clubs have any Group memorabilia, documents or photographs which would help us develop this History page then please contact us. Hopefully this page can be updated at regular intervals as more becomes known.
Well done to Rainford Tennis Club who have found a 1978 Handbook. Can anyone better this?
Rainford’s fine achievement was finally bettered at the Group dance when Arthur Roskell of Cressington produced an elderly 1972 Handbook. It’s a fascinating read. In those days our Group consisted of 43 clubs including many bygone names such as Knotty Ash, Walton Parish Church, Odyssey and one of the Group’s founder members, Old Xaverians.
Many thanks to Arthur for not only going to the trouble of finding this but also for donating it to the Group to assist with the ongoing history project. Arthur has certainly raised the bar in our quest to find the oldest surviving Handbook. Is it possible for anyone to better this?
HISTORY UPDATED 25/09/2016
We thought that Arthur Roskell had set a difficult target on our quest to find the oldest Handbook but once again the record has been beaten. A combined effort from Campion members has found no less than 9 Handbooks from the 50s and 60s including one from 1956!
Included in this historical treasure trove were two Dunlop fixture cards which listed all official Tournaments throughout the UK.
Bearing in mind that the Group only started competitive play in 1947/8 and the first proper Handbook was probably only produced in 1950, it must surely be very difficult for Campion’s efforts to be beaten.
So what was happening in 1956? The Group consisted of 47 Clubs with names such as British Sidac, Bradstones, Deysbrook, Napier and St Clares all participating in the League that year. The annual Group Dance was held at Reece’s Red and White Ballroom in Parker Street with tickets priced at 12 shillings and sixpence – about 63 pence in today’s money. On the competitive side we see that Palmerston won Mens A in 1955 with Ladies A being won by Fairlawn.
Finding old Handbooks is proving to be invaluable to the ongoing History project as they quite often fill in gaps which would otherwise be difficult to research. Sometimes however they throw up interesting puzzles. It was generally understood that the Group was formed in 1947 with the first year of competitive play being in 1948. The 1956 handbook however suggests that the League also ran in 1947 with Fairlawn winning both Mens and Ladies A divisions.
What we now know for sure is that 2017 will be the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Liverpool Group.