Collingtree Tennis Club has been in existence since the 1920s, originally using a grass court on land which is now to the far side of the M1.
The court was moved to its present site on land donated by the Phipps family in the 1960s, originally as a single grass court.
The grass was soon replaced by a hard surface, and a second court added later, following a major fund-raising event – the famous ‘Donkey Derby’ – in the 1980s.
The courts were fully resurfaced in 2009, and repainted in 2015. The club was awarded a maximum grant by The National Lottery – Awards for All to assist with replacing the playing surface.
Lighting was added in 2010, and Collingtree now has one of the best lighting systems in the county.
Resurfacing allowed Collingtree to enter the Northampton Lawn Tennis League in 2009, and many awards have been won against strong competition.bbbb
The following account of the early history of the club was found in an undated report. It is thought to have been written in the 1960’s.
The Tennis Club
Collingtree has the distinction of possessing one of the oldest village tennis clubs in the county. In 1922 a meeting was called and a club proposed although they had no court.
In 1923 there were thirtysix members each paying 2/6d and by 1924 the club was flourishing with the Rev. J.P.Frend as Chairman and Miss Robins as Secretary.
The first court was made in Mr Douglas’s orchard and from then until the war it was a means of providing many happy hours play for the young folk of Collingtree.
A feature of the club was the open tournaments that were held two or three times a year, these were so popular that players from Northampton would come to take part in them. Partners were drawn for and Mrs Sears would very kindly lend her tennis court so that the tournament could be played in two sections. Tea was usually provided in the Church Room and a Dance was held at night.
In 1935 juniors were admitted to the club at a reduced fee.
After the outbreak of war in 1939 so many of the members were called up that in 1943 play was discontinued.
After the war the men returning from the Forces got together and under the leadership of Mr Stanley Newman the club was restarted. Some land in the Slade was kindly lent by Mr John Sears and a court was made for the re-formed club. This was never very successful and by 1949 the club was again without a court.
During this time efforts were made under the leadership of Mr S. Newman and over £100 was raised. This together with a donation from Mrs Sears resulted in a beautiful new hard court being made in Grass-Lets. This court was opened by the Rev. L.H. Lethbridge in 1950. Later in the year a grass court was commenced and today Collingtree has one hard court and one grass court.
In 1953 the president of the club was the Rev. J.H. Timberlake, and the secretary Mrs John Warwick. There were twentyone members each paying a subscription of fifteen shillings for the whole year, ten shillings for juniors.
It is interesting to note that in 1927 tennis balls were 19/6d a dozen and in 1953 the price had risen to 37/- a dozen.
(19/6d is 97.5 pence in decimal currency, 37/- is £1.85)