item published in the “Wynberg Times & Advertiser”
No.87 Vol. II dated 25th March 1882, reads as follows:
“A Lawn Tennis Club has been formed at Wynberg, so we may
soon hear of some spirited tournaments taking place against the
other Suburban Clubs.”
is popularly accepted that the game of tennis as we know it today
had its beginnings sometime in the early 1870’s, apparently
in Wales, while it was only incorporated into the Wimbledon Club
is therefore interesting to realise that the beginnings of the game
in South Africa was not far behind these early days, and that the
original tennis clubs here can claim to have really been in at the
“grass roots” stage of tennis.
are proud that the Wynberg Lawn Tennis Club is one of these “grass
roots” clubs and that not only is it still in existence but
also still in the forefront of tennis in the Western Province.
Richmond Tennis Club in Natal (1876) claims to be the oldest in
South Africa, with Port Elizabeth Tennis Club (1879) the next. Wynberg
is one of the four oldest tennis clubs, if not the oldest, still
in existence in the Western Province. The other three are Sea Point,
Claremont and Gardens, all of which it is definitely known existed
in 1883; but no records are available of the dates of their establishment.
Percy Fitzpatrick – famous both as author of “Jock of
the Bushveld” and a South African politician – was instrumental
in the forming of the WLTC. He leased a piece of ground from Mortimer
Maynard Farmer sometime between 1880 and 1882 (forming part of Maynardville
Estate). Sir Percy and friends laid out two tennis court on the
site, doing all the work themselves, including the removal of trees!
A plan in the possession of the Club dated 1893 shows that the site
was situated on the mountainside of the Main Road, Wynberg (the
Barclays Bank building now stands on the club’s original site).
1903 on the death of Mr Farmer the courts at the original site had
to be vacated, and the Club moved to a site at the corner of Oak
Avenue and Rowan Avenue (formerly Upper Stellenberg Avenue) Kenilworth,
opposite the historic Homestead “Stellenberg”. Sufficient
ground for two courts was made available by the owner, Mr W. Buissinne,
a member of the club, at a nominal rental of One Shilling per annum,
subject to the condition “that no Sunday play would be allowed”.
the end of February 1920, the club was again forced to seek new
grounds, as the property had been sold. A site was purchased by
the club in the Main Road, Kenilworth, between Summerley Road and
Cumnor Avenue for the sum of £750. Today this land is used
as public off-street parking and the “Uxbury” block
of flats. Three courts were laid out and a small wooden clubhouse
was erected. To meet development costs funds were raised by means
of donations and the holding of tournaments and dances. A fourth
court was added in 1933.
September 1955, under the provisions of the Town Planning Scheme
for the widening of the Main Road, Kenilworth, the club was under
threat of losing important sections of it’s grounds. Faced
with the need to move again, and after thorough investigations of
properties in the area, the club sold its property for £14,000
and purchased the present premises “Lidcote” in Harfield
Road, Kenilworth (7,908 sq.m) for £11,000.
property first belonged to Sir John Charles Molteno, first Prime
Minister of the Cape Colony, who sold in 1896 to Mr. Richard Stuttaford
during the time he was a member of General Smuts’ Cabinet.
In 1937 it was sold to Mr. G.R. Starck.
clubhouse, as shown on the home page, was altered to make it suitable
for use as a Clubhouse, and six gravel courts were laid down, subsequently
converted into all-weather courts. The new courts and clubhouse
were officially opened in September 1956.
is one of the few Tennis Clubs in the Western Province which owns
its property. The Clubhouse with its two Cape-Dutch gables, set
in sylvan surroundings, forms one of the most attractive (and wind-sheltered)
Tennis Club properties in the Western Province, an opinion which
has been endorsed by many visitors.
Club’s Badge is of a simple design and comprises two oak leaves
and an acorn in silver on a navy-blue background with the letters
“W.L.T.C.” underneath. The “motif” is appropriate
due to the abundance of oak trees on the club’s premises.