A bit of info on the club and how we got started
Where did we get our name?
Bristol Central was originally a parliamentary constituency in the city of Bristol. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The constituency was created for the 1918 general election and abolished for the February 1974 general election. Instead, it was absorbed into Bristol North East and Bristol South East. The offices of the Bristol County Conservative Club were in Nevil Road – nearby.
When was the club established?
Mr John Mycroft Boucher, of Clifton, presented three hard tennis courts (shale), pavilions, practice grounds etc to the Bristol Central Conservative Association. The presentation features in the 1st Edition of the Bristol Evening Post – 18th April 1932. The courts had formerly belonged to his company, Ferris & Co., and had been used by his employees.
Members were expected to have conservative views and pay a subscription to party funds. Most of the club members had been members of the Junior Imperial League – the Young Conservative and Unionist organisation. Mycroft Boucher became Club President.
John Mycroft Boucher was a successful tennis player winning many Championships in Northumberland, the Midlands, Leamington, Gloucestershire and Wales between 1896 and 1908. He played and lost in the first round and Plate at Wimbledon in 1898. John’s sister Edith (who became Edith Hannam) reached two Wimbledon tennis finals in 1911 (singles) and 1914 (doubles), she lost both events. However, she won two gold medals at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, the women’s singles indoors and the mixed doubles indoors.
When did the club move from 3 courts to 4 courts?
In 1976 the adjoining land and 16 garages were purchased by the club. The land was originally the site of the coach house that stationed American officers during the war years – they played on the courts during this time. It took 13 years of raising funds from renting out the garages and gaining loans from members for the club to be able to build the 4th court – it opened in 1989.
When was the clubhouse rebuilt?
In 1997 the club sought £150k to replace the ageing clubhouse from the National Lottery Sports Fund, supported by the LTA. The application had to be backed up by a series of fund-raising events and to coincide with the Golden Jubilee of the Bristol Evening Post. In July 1997 a team of 10 club members cycled 140 miles from Wimbledon to Bristol. It took 11 hours 8 minutes and £500 was raised. Three of our members cycled all the way. The club now had four all-weather floodlit tennis courts and the present-day modern clubhouse and facilities. In 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, we took the opportunity to upgrade our floodlights to state-of-the-art eco-friendly LED lighting.
How many members do you have?
222 Adults and 70 juniors, although we also open our doors to pay-and-play juniors after school on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. New members are always welcome, our membership fee is £170 for a full club member, with other categories available. Excellent value for money, equating to less than £3.50 a week, if you only play once a week, but most play more than that. AND balls and floodlight costs are included.
What has the club achieved?
Our mantra is that we are the ‘friendly community based club down Happy Lane’. We are run by a wonderful committee of volunteers, our finances are in good shape and we have a fantastic team of coaches. We have five ladies and four men’s teams in the Avon Summer League and enter teams in the Avon Late Summer and Winter Leagues.
The club has provided National and County players over the years and continues to maintain a high standard of tennis.
To introduce as many people to the game as we possibly can, we run Adult Beginner and Improvers courses in the spring and autumn. This is also an opportunity for those who played tennis at school to get back to the game. The club has a Practice Wall which allows people to warm up before matches and to just come up and practice on their own in their spare time.