The History of Westside Lawn Tennis Club

Westside Lawn Tennis Club came into existence on the 15th of September 1924, when Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax donated the land to the west of Wimbledon Common (hence the name “Westside”), and at the corner of Ridgeway and Woodhayes Road, Wimbledon to the founding members of Westside Limited. Prior to this, the site had been used by the Wimbledon High School as a girl’s hockey field and sportsground, but when the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (the “AELTC”) decided to move locations in 1922 from Worple Road to its current site off Church Road, the Wimbledon High School moved their sportsground to the Worple Road site, leaving the Woodhayes Road grounds available for occupation by Westside.

Westside is situated close to the heart of Wimbledon Village, SW19 and was once described by Andrew Castle (Great Britain’s number 1 in singles tennis in 1986 and occasional visitor to Westside) as commentator for the BBC as “Wimbledon’s other club”.

The first “open” tennis tournament hosted by the AELTC was held in Wimbledon in 1877 at the old Worple Road site.

Of the world’s 4 Grand Slam tennis events, nothing captures the imagination like Wimbledon, regarded as the home of tennis, and transforming Wimbledon Village into somewhere magical for a fortnight each year with a sense of history and occasion that is second to none. As a Centenary Tennis Club member visiting Westside, why not also experience the atmosphere of Wimbledon’s Centre Court by booking yourself onto the Wimbledon Tennis Museum & Tour. In addition, if you want to explore the roots of the game even further, you can visit the Royal Courts at nearby, Hampton Court Palace, and discover all about a game played by King Henry VIII called “Real Tennis”’, way back in the 15th century.

Westside was originally home to 7 grass courts and 4 hardcourts and became affiliated to the Lawn Tennis Association in 1926, when at the time the club had only 160 members. Today, Westside has 1004 members and state-of-the-art floodlit 8 artificial red clay courts and 4 porous acrylic hard courts.

Over the years, Westside has built a reputation for the performance of its teams in competition, winning many trophies and division titles. In recent years the club has also attracted the sponsorship of leading international sporting goods brand Wilson and in November last year, our Men’s O45 Doubles Team represented Westside at the European Senior Club Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

Westside is probably best known, however for its training and coaching facilities, particularly regarding the junior coaching programme, which until recently was home to the Alison Taylor Tennis Academy, but is now run in-house by our head coach, Mark Magrath, an experienced world class LTA Level 5 Master Coach.

Recent junior programme successes have been Arthur Fery, aged 21, currently on tour with an ATP ranking of 264 in the world and Hannah Klugman, aged 14, recently becoming the first British player to win the prestigious U18 Orange Bowl girls’ singles title in Florida.

In June 2023, Westside hosted the “Wimbledon Clay Court Championships”, its first ITF Masters Tournament with entrants from as far as Australia. The 2024 event will be held 11th – 15th June, entries via the ITF portal.

For over 15 years, we have hosted the Westside Easter Classic, a LTA Grade 3 weeklong tournament predominantly geared towards junior players with over 350 entrants.

Amongst its membership and occasional team player, Westside is proud to have Colin Beecher, who has just been named as Captain of the Great Britain team for the mixed-team event at the United Cup in 2024.

Other past and present members of note include Roger Taylor MBE, former British No.1, Wimbledon Semi-finalist and US Open twice doubles champion and John Doran, former Irish No.1, and representing Ireland in the Davis Cup 12 times.

Finally, and most importantly, Westside is a proper members tennis club that is at the heart of the local community and puts the enjoyment of all its members as it’s foremost objective. Consequently, other members of the CTC, will find Westside a warm and friendly club to visit, and whose tennis community very much welcomes their newfound family within the CTC.