A Community Tennis Club Since 1923
The current site of Moseley Tennis Club was originally owned by the King’s Norton Diocese as at that time Moseley was a chapelry in the parish of Kings Norton. In 1923 the land was sold to a Mr William Thomas Tucker. The completion of this sale was registered with the land registry in January 1924. The name of Reverend Hugh Price is mentioned amongst the sellers. The Reverend Hugh Price was the Vicar of Kings Norton from 1909 to 1923.
In early 1946 the owner Mr Tucker died and the land went for auction on 30th May 1946 with a reserve price of £2,000. The highest bid was £1,850 and therefore the sale did not go through. Meetings took place to discuss the purchase of the land by the club through loans and issuing shares. Members felt that the land was overvalued and no bid by the club was made, members voting 30-1 against. In fact, at one point approaches were made to the Wake Green Tennis Club (now gone) in order to ascertain court availability should the club lose the use of the Billesley Lane site. In early 1947 the land was sold but the club were informed by the agents the purchaser wished to remain anonymous for at least six months. On the 2nd of August 1947 according to the club’s minutes, it was revealed by the President of Warwickshire Lawn Tennis Association that the ground had actually been purchased by the Warwickshire Lawn Tennis Association. It is likely that it was purchased by someone connected to Warwickshire Lawn Tennis Club who wished tennis to be continued on the site. Records to ascertain the identity of the purchaser have been destroyed and the benevolent purchaser remains unknown.
From the 1950’s through to the 31st March 1977 the site was shared with the Central Electricity Generating Board (C.E.G.B) with Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club leasing what are now the artificial clay courts (courts 1-4) and the C.E.G.B leasing what are now the courts 5&6 plus two further grass courts where the grass area is now located. The two clubs also shared the pavilion (today’s clubhouse) which according to the minutes did not always go well! Access to the club was by two separate entrances one from Billesley Lane and one from Cotton Lane. The latter ceased to exist when a small piece of land on the Cotton Road side of the club was sold in 1986.
In 1975 the freehold of the land was offered to the club by the wife of the late landlord at a sum of £9,000. After negotiation, the actual purchase agreed was £4,500 plus legal costs. A grant of £1,200 was received with the rest being raised from club funds, loans and members. The sale was completed in January 1976. The C.E.G.B vacated the site in March 1977 following the purchase of the land by Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club.
On the 1st December 1980 at the annual general meeting of Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club, a motion to change the club’s name was raised. The motion was to change the name to Moseley Lawn Tennis Club which was subsequently carried. The name had previously been used for a club in School Road, Moseley now the site of the Moseley Church of England School’s playing fields. This club had, together with the Newton Lawn Tennis Club in Belle Walk sold up in 1968 and merged with the Olton Lawn Tennis Club, now the West Warwickshire Club. The name change was implemented in early 1981 and registered with the Warwickshire Lawn Tennis Association.
In 1996 Moseley Lawn Tennis Club were awarded a lottery grant and the four shale courts (courts 1-4) were removed and four new artificial all weather grass courts were constructed with floodlighting. These were officially opened on the 1st September 1996. In 2009 the four artificial grass courts were replaced with four artificial clay courts and the lighting was upgraded. In early 2013 construction began on upgrading courts and adding floodlights to courts 5 & 6 and on the 8th June 2013 the courts were officially opened by the 2012 WTA Edgbaston International champion Melanie Oudin.
The modern Moseley Tennis Club is of course limited by the size of its site but continues to look at new ways of increasing the user experience. The club prides itself on maintaining its eight courts to the highest standard in order to gain the maximum playing life and protect members from unnecessary capital repairs.
We of course look forward to our Centenary Year of 2023 when the club will celebrate its 100th birthday.
If anyone reading this has any further information or old photographs that will add to the history then please let us know so as we can add these to this page.
History Compiled By Tim Linton
Moseley Baptist Church Lawn Tennis Club Minute Book 1923-31
Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club Minute Books 1931-66
Moseley Society Facebook Page
Michelle Challens "The Development of Club Tennis, Within The Broader Aspect of the Promotion of Tennis, With Specific Reference to Funding" May 2000
Moseley Tennis Club by Diane Hirst and Heather Frazier
Notes: Some dates may seem out of chronological order but this is due to the historical record giving conflicting information. I have therefore kept to what has been written.
According to the original minutes on the 23rd July 1923 the inaugural meeting of the Moseley Baptist Church Lawn Tennis Club took place at the Oxford Road School Room. At that meeting it was agreed to form a lawn tennis club in conjunction with the Baptist Church in Oxford Road (now the Calvary Church). Three grass courts and two hard courts had been laid out in Billesley Lane by the land owner Mr Tucker and a rental agreed. Subscription fees were set £2.21/- for summer play. Several other clubs also leased courts at the Billesley Lane site.
By 1930 due to falling membership, defaulting members and a financial deficit of £95 meant that the Moseley Baptist Church Lawn Tennis Club would struggle to survive in its present form. The club had already sub-let two courts to the Kings Heath Cambridge Road Wesleyan Church Tennis Club (now the Methodist Church). In July of 1930 an amalgamation of the two clubs was raised with a positive response received. On the 21st August 1930 a vote was carried to amalgamate with 85 for and 4 against. On the 17th October 1930 a meeting was informed that the lease by the Baptist Church Lawn Tennis Club had been terminated with effect 31st April 1931.
On the 22nd January 1931 the inaugural meeting of the newly formed and named Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club (formally the Baptist Church Lawn Tennis Club and the Cambridge Road Wesleyan Tennis Club) took place at the Lecture Hall of the Baptist Church. It was agreed to rent six courts at the Billesley Lane site owned by Mr Tucker with joint use of the pavilion. Many members of the Prespertarian and Congregational also join the newly formed club.
In 1987 the club had built two new hard courts (7&8) on the Cotton Lane side of the club grounds replacing allotments which had be rented out by the club. The club took an interest-free loan from the LTA of about £2,500-£3,000 which had to be guaranteed by members of which about 20 signed the guarantee to the LTA. A few hundred pounds from members was also raised as well as cash from the club’s bank account.
During the Second World War the club barely survived with both membership and income from subscriptions low. The club survived by reducing the number of courts it leased and with a reduction in the rates charged. Due to the “Dig for Victory” campaign much of the club’s grounds became allotments. Being reduced to 20 playing members and two hard courts at half the previous rent of the grass courts the club continued, the membership being dominated by women. Apart from these continuing membership and financial concerns the other main problem was the shortage of tennis balls. “The need for economy with balls was stressed…. A visit should be made to all the houses in Oxford Road with gardens backing onto the club, and that the householders should be asked to keep indoors all balls found in the gardens…” Club Minutes 2nd May 1942.
Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club - Bar 1984
Moseley Baptist Church Lawn Tennis Club
Minute Book Opening Page 23 July 1923
Billesley Lane Lawn Tennis Club
Minute Book 22 January 1931