The Story of Thongsbridge Tennis and Fitness

Chapter Six – Onwards and upwards

1970s – the club thrives under the chairmanships of Edward Wagstaff, Tony Batty, Brian Smith and Graham Cooksey, with, as secretaries, in the early part of the decade, Dorothy Thornton and Liz Colquhoun, and as Treasurers, for three years each, John Rosenberg, Heather Hobson and Malcolm Wade.

Social and fund-raising events continue.  A new idea to raise money is the collection and sale of waste paper.  This is stored at Wagstaff’s and initially raises £14-50.  Things do not go quite as expected, however;

the mounting pile of newspaper becomes a menace.  Eventually it is donated to the Scouts.

Unfortunately though, the following day the collectors turn up!

A Dance and Draw raises £120 and, of course, there are other fundraising activities.  The secretary comments at the AGM:

‘We are still flushed with the triumph of our annual Good-as-New stall on Holmfirth  market.  The amount raised was £90, only slightly less than last year. For this we are indebted to, if you will forgive the phrase, a hard core of half a dozen ladies who collected, organised and sold, and to all members of the club who every autumn shed their clothes in an apparent end of season ritual, to satisfy the insatiable demand of the Holmfirth consumer market.  N.B a demand has been expressed for larger clothes.  Start cultivating your outsize neighbours now, and help us embark on an expansion programme aimed at co-opting weightier members’!


At the club a problem with disappearing balls seems to have lessened; a note in the minutes is revealing:

‘It was suggested that suitable storage, e.g. shelves for balls, would encourage members to return them after play.  Mr Bathgate suggested, with characteristic and practical inspiration, that plastic guttering would accommodate tennis balls very efficiently, and he promised to seek assistance from Dr Hobson, the well-known guttering expert.’!

1972 – the surface of the hard courts is in very poor condition and an estimate of over £300 is obtained for resurfacing.  With the repayments on the LTA loan as well as construction of new toilets, it is thought wise to leave this for another season.

As mentioned in chapter 5, the Elsan in the small hut has been a problem for many years.  A visit from a representative of the Ministry of Housing has resulted in the likelihood of a grant of £300, with a possibility of a small additional grant from HUDC of £40.  Michael Lindley draws up plans for a new toilet block.  It becomes clear that the drainage from the toilets into a septic tank, itself costing £500-600, is going to be an expensive extra.  In view of this it is considered better to site the toilet building at a higher level and arrange for drainage into the bowling Club’s drains.  The cost of the toilets is estimated at around £600, necessitating the club to find at least £260.  By Easter the toilets are under construction.


The club newsletter notes that perhaps for the first time in the club’s history three courts are playable at the beginning of the season.  It goes on to announce a Beginning-of-Season Dance at the Holmfirth Civic Hall:

‘Despite budget day, decimalisation and other inflammatory factors the cost of this magnificent function is guaranteed stable at £1.25€¦..We hope to see you there with friends and hope too that you will have recovered in time for the Opening Day Tea on the Sunday!’


Fund raising continues with a Fashion Show run By Selma Pick with a net profit of over £60.  On the playing side large numbers of members are playing on Thursday evenings, as well as of course match nights on Mondays (Ladies) and Tuesdays (Men).

Juniors are thought to be getting a raw deal and volunteers are sought to help supervise on Saturday mornings.

Several members have complained to the committee that the membership card indicates that Sunday morning is for men only.  The secretary says that she will put up a notice in the pavilion apologising for this misunderstanding and stating that ladies are certainly welcome on Sunday mornings.

Alan Pratt, the club captain, reports that the uprights for the netting are in a parlous condition, with only two of the twenty-six standing firm.  Some in fact are missing.

Although the building of the toilets has proceeded well a complaint has been received from the Bowling Club that there is no air vent at their end of the sewer!  The builder, Gordon Berry, assures the committee that the air vent will be replaced and also an inspection grating for ‘an extra charge of £10’!  The water works inspector has also required that draw-off taps be fitted above the stop-tap in the toilets and that the previous one in the clubhouse be replaced.  A new need for soap and toilet rolls has arisen. To provide for this the committee appoints Miss Gill Olley as toilet attendant.  There is indeed little relief for the committee at this time!

Gill is still a member of the club.  Do you know her married name?

Despite a midsummer party at the George Hotel in Huddersfield making a loss, the club still has £300 in its account ensuring that the loan repayment will be covered but more fund raising is required.

Club numbers now stand at 85 adult and 39 junior members and, for the first time, club income exceeds £1000 with another Good-as-New sale bringing in £125.


The teams have done very well despite one of the wettest summers in memory, the Ladies First being runners-up in Div 1 and the Ladies Second winning every match to be promoted to Div 3.  The men’s First have also been promoted from Div 3 to 2, winning eight out of ten matches.  Unfortunately, the men’s Second team only wins two matches and is relegated.


1973 – a letter informs all members that the surface of the hard court is changing to asphalt.  Amongst other points, there is a message of congratulation to Gill Olley and Tony Batty on their engagement.  Nearly 45 years later they are still both stalwart members of the club.

The profit from a Fork luncheon is £164, the most ever.


In May, Graham Cooksey approaches Sally Holdsworth for Saturday morning coaching, and she is booked for six sessions through mid July to early September.


The Committee is still looking to expand the club, either the pavilion premises or the playing area or both and 240 yards of 7foot netting is  purchased from ICI.


1974 – for the first time, the committee decides to present a budget.  Income is estimated at approximately £800, including receipts from Fork luncheon and Good-as New, with expenditure being nearly £1100.  The difference is partially offset with a Cheese and Wine evening, raising £34, the waste paper collection, now £12 per ton, but raising only a disappointing £8.50.


Colin J Graham is appointed coach for two x one hour sessions each Saturday from 1st June to 6th July inc.  As a result the first junior team is formed.

There is a very dry spell and members spend all day watering courts!

More income is made from a Coffee morning making £20, a Fork Luncheon £130, a Good-as-new £109, a Jumble sale £15  and a Coffee evening £55.


The total membership is now 183.  New members include Pauline Taylor, Doug Rigby and Laurence Myers from Holmbridge Methodist Chapel club which has closed down.


Do you recognise anyone in this photo?