THE WALKDEN AND DISTRICT LEAGUE IN THE THIRTIES 1930 – 1939 ……….THE OPEN TOURNAMENT IN WALKDEN…….NEW CLUBS………PERSONAL MEMORIES ….
WALKDEN TENNIS WEEK
The Farnworth and Worsley Journal dated May 1st 1931 reported on a meeting of local tennis enthusiasts as follows :-
” A WALKDEN TENNIS WEEK
A meeting of those interested in the promotion of a tennis week in Walkden in aid of local charities was held last night week in the Town Hall, Walkden. After much discussion, it was decided that a tennis week should be organised on the lines of the one at Farnworth and that it should be held from
July 13th. to July 18th. The tournament will be open to people from any district and application is to be made to the Worsley Council for the loan of the tennis courts in Parr Fold Park.
Councillor J. Pennington (Chairman Parks Committee) was appointed chairman of the committee, Mr. Emrys Morgan, the general organising secretary, Mr F Collinge, financial secretary, and Miss C. Porter, the Press secretary. The following were also appointed to the committee:- Messrs. A Roberts, A.E. Holmes, F Potter, L Bradbury, Misses H. Seddon, E.M.Eastham together with one representative from each Club in Walkden and Little Hulton District. ”
The Open Tournament was held and the proceeds given to local charities. In 1935 Mr L DENNIS presented a SILVER CUP (the “DENNIS” Trophy ) for men’s singles and a ROSE BOWL for the Women’s singles. Mr. F MULLINEUX was the referee, a post he held over a number of years. The Tournament continued until war broke out.
KNOWN WINNERS OF THE WALKDEN OPEN TOURNAMENT
(M/S – Men’s Singles M/DS – Men’s Doubles)
1931 M/S not known M/DS E.T.Morgan & C.Butterfield
1932 M/S Emrys T. Morgan M/DS W.Dootson & J.Atherton
1933 M/S R.Thornley M/DS S.H.Shaw & F.Hague
1934 not known……………………………………….
1935 not known……………………………………….
1936 M/S Emrys T.Morgan M/DS E.T Morgan & H Leather
1937 not known……………………………………….
1938 M/S K.Aspinall…………………………………..
1939 M/S K Aspinall M/DS E.B.Lobb & J.R.Lobb
The dotted lines indicate the winner’s names, which are to date missing. If anyone has any information to add it will be very welcome.
NEW THIRTIES CLUBS
During the 1930s the clubs which came into the Walkden League were mainly from works or mills in the area. Tennis was one of the sports catered for by these establishments in the social clubs set up for the benefit and enjoyment of the workers.
1930 NUTTALL’S TENNIS CLUB :- had 1 (?) court
1930 entered 1 team in the League (Played 1930 – 1931)
1930 HOUNDSWORTH AND GILL :- had 1 (?) court
1930 entered 1 team in the League ( Played 1930)
1930 KEARSLEY VALE TENNIS CLUB:- had 2 courts, 1 grass, 1 shale at Stoneclough Probably linked to Kearsley Paper Works
1930 entered 1st team in the League ( Played 1930 – 1935)
1930 entered 2nd team in the League ( Played 1930 )
1ST TEAM WERE DIVISION 1 CHAMPIONS IN 1933/1934/1935
Somewhere during these successful years, the Club became known as VALE HOUSE TENNIS CLUB because of the name of the building which housed the Social Club.
1933 OAKWOOD TENNIS CLUB :- had (?) courts
1933 entered 1team in the League ( Played 1933 – ? )
1934 CLIFTON TENNIS CLUB had (?) courts
1934 entered 1 team in the League. ( Played 1934 – 1937 )
1935 CHLORIDE TENNIS CLUB:- had (?) courts
1935 entered 1 team in the League. ( Played 1935 – 1941 )
1st DIVISION CHAMPIONS IN 1941
It is not known how many teams were in the Division at the time. But World War 2 (1939 – 1945) must have depleted the numbers.
1935 KEARSLEY TENNIS CLUB:- had (?) courts
1935 entered 1st team in the League ( Played 1935 – 1938)
1937 entered 2nd team in the League. (Played 1937)
During 1930 – 1935 new teams came into the League but unfortunately, others dropped out. The number of teams taking part in 1932 was the lowest it had been since the formation of the League. Whether the Depression felt by the country at the time was the cause is not clear. However, the numbers increased from 1933 onwards nearly matching those of the formation years. Alas, the start of World War 2 sounded the death knell for League tennis for some years.
The following report dated 27th April 1935
NUMBER OF CLUBS AND TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE FROM 1930 – 1939
YEAR CLUBS DIV.1 TEAMS DIV.2 TEAMS
1930 7 7 4
1931 6 6 4
1932 5 5 4
1933 7 8 X
1934 8 5 7
1935 9 7 5
1936 8 10 x
1937 10 8 6
1938 8 7 4
1939 6 5 4
TENNIS MEMOIRS AND AN INTERVIEW !!
ALBERTA ROWSON (nee RAMSDEN) wrote her memories of playing tennis before the first World War. Luckily her memoirs came into the possession of the present Chairman of the League, Bernard Pennington, who kept it, so making it possible for us to add it to the history of the League.
1934 ” I began playing tennis on Parr Fold Park in 1934 with Norman Hunt, Norah Lythgoe and Donald Pennington ( elder brother of Bernard) who was the League secretary at that time.
The courts were part of the Worsley Urban District Council and maintained by them. There was a full-time attendant, Harry Stones, who kept them and the bowling green in pristine condition. Harry seemed to live there for he was around from morning to dusk each day. He was a jovial person and well interested in sport – he had been a footballer but had met with an accident and had a bad injury to his foot which had made him a cripple for life.
The tennis courts, six in number, with shale foundations, were regularly marked out and they were opened in the Spring and closed during the winter months. The charge was 3d
(3 old pennies) for half an hour and 6d per hour.
An event held yearly was the Walkden and District Tennis Tournament Championships when competitors from all the surrounding districts took part in an almost professional competition and during that week Parr Fold Tennis Courts were surrounded by enthusiastic crowds watching extremely good tennis matches. It as one of the yearly sporting events of the district. ( Walkden’s Wimbledon !!??)
1935 – 1939 More enthusiasts too an interest in forming a Club and a first and second team were formed (1938) to take part in the Farnworth and Worsley Tennis Association activities. (The Walkden and District Tennis League)
During these years facilities were needed to provide changing accommodation for visiting teams, also to provide tea and biscuits after the match. ( What a pity this has not been kept up in recent years )
There was an old cottage next to the tennis courts which had originally been occupied by the park’s keeper, but it had been vacated and was, at that time of the formation of the club, empty. So the members of the team sought permission to use the cottage for changing rooms. Permission had to be given by the Parks Committee of the Council and the Chairman of the Council had to visit the premises to see if the permission could be granted, as part of the cottage was scheduled to be used as a storeroom for parks equipment. However permission was granted but, needless to say, facilities were rather primitive and as ever the faithful Harry Stones “brewed up” for the teams after the matches.
NEWSPAPER REPORT 27TH APRIL 1935
The following report dated 27th April 1935 appeared in “THE BUFF,” the Saturday Sports Paper of the Bolton Evening News.
” THE WALKDEN lEAGUE.
The Clubs in the Walkden League open their season on May 9th. It had been intended that the matches should commence on May 6th. but owing to the Jubilee Celebrations they would be played on the Thursday.
There had been a much better response to the appeal for entries to the League than was at first expected. There had been some doubt as to whether it would be possible to form two Divisions as had been the case in former years but this doubt had been dispelled. Two new Clubs, Kearsley and Clifton Chloride had joined and League members were looking forward to another season.