The Club was first formed in the 1930’s. Shale courts were constructed on land owned (and still owned) by the local Church. Hence the original name ‘Denby Dale Holy Trinity Church Tennis Club’ – a bit of a mouthful! The Club is now called simply ‘Denby Dale Tennis Club’.
The present clubhouse was originally a pre-fab, used as short-term housing during the Second World War. It was acquired by Roger Beastall in the 1960’s. Roger oversaw it’s construction on it’s present site. Toilets were added in the 1970’s.
The shale courts required a considerable amount of maintenance, especially prior to the start of the tennis season in April. The winter frosts lifted the court surface and lines, and weeds grew around the court margins. Rain caused the courts to became wet with large puddles forming along the baselines. An old-fashioned mangle was used to squeeze the water out of large sponges. Not very hi-tech! The courts were very dry in hot weather and a sprinkler system was installed in the 1970’s to dampen down the surface.
A major event in the Club’s history came in 2012. The Club, through Roland Sansom as Project Manager, applied to Kirklees Council for a grant to replace the shale courts. After a lengthy procedure, we were awarded £50,000. At the same time we applied to Sport England for an Olympic Legacy grant. Again, a long and involved process but we were successful and were awarded a further £50,000. This was a lot of money, but still not enough for new courts. Further monies were applied for and received from Denby Dale Parish Council and The Huddersfield Common Good Trust. Together with several thousand pounds put in from the Club itself meant that there was enough to commission new courts.
This was not straight-forward: there is no vehicular access to the courts – difficult to remove the shale and hardcore and bring in tarmac. Further, we could not raise the surface of the courts because the courts are in a meander of the River Dearne and the site acts as a storage ‘reservoir’ in times of flood. For the same reason we could not have an impermeable surface such as tarmac or concrete.
The problems were solved by Thorntons Contracts. They proposed using a new system, untried on tennis courts in this country. The court surface was lowered slightly and levelled. Then a thin layer of limestone gravel was laid down and covered with a porous membrane. On top of this rigid, but hollow, plastic box sections were laid down (the Permavoid System). These box sections were, in fact, second-hand – they had been used under the Olympic Equestrian Arena at Greenwich – a true ‘Olympic Legacy’!
A further membrane was laid on top of the plastic box sections and a carpet covered the court surface. Artificial clay was spread over and worked into the carpet to give a surface akin to a clay court. The courts were rather ‘dead’ to begin with – we had been advised that by playing on the courts they would ‘firm-up’ and improve.
New fencing and floodlights completed the contractor’s work. The progress can be viewed by looking at a photobook elsewhere on this website.
The exterior of the new courts needed a great deal of work to tidy up the surrounding land. The biggest project was to build a concrete path and this was overseen by Paul Whitehead. A good turn-out of members on one of the few dry, non-snowy days ensured that the job was completed in a day. Landscaping with flower beds, grassy areas and areas covered with pebbles completed the work.
The clubhouse was redecorated and the Club celebrated a Grand Opening on a sunny day in early June. However, the floor of the clubhouse was becoming soft and spongy under the vinyl flooring. Investigation showed that dry rot was present – the result of a burst pipe a couple of winters previous. We had not been able to turn off the stop-cock on Bank Lane because of pavement works. A severe frost had caused the burst but it was not immediately apparent that water damage had been done.
The main part of the clubhouse had to be completely stripped out – down to the bare walls – and the infected timber burnt on site. This work was carried out by Roland and Alan Daniel. Quotes were obtained for restitution work and a claim put into the insurance company. Part of the works were approved by the insurance company but the rest has to be paid for by the Club – expenditure which we had not expected and which has come so soon after the expenditure on the courts.
The clubhouse refurbishment was completed in the summer of 2014.
So now we have new courts and a refurbished clubhouse – all very smart!