Mt Pleasant Tennis Club Inc

About The Club

Early Beginnings

The first meeting of residents interested in establishing what was originally called Mt Pleasant Tennis and Croquet Club was held at Stoneycroft, the home of Arthur Morten on 4th April 1925.

The first patron, George Humphreys and Col H S E Hobday each donated 25 pounds, Mrs P H Cannon and Arthur Morten 10 pounds each and lesser amounts from other ratepayers enabled a tender of 130 pounds to be accepted for the construction of one asphalt tennis court. This court was laid on land in the old quarry adjoining Scott Park and leased from Heathcote County Council for 5 shillings per annum.

Walter de Thier cleared and levelled the land and on Saturday 6th February 1926 Humphreys and Hobday declared the court open. A tent, buntings, a portable boiler, a large teapot and a washing-up tub was hired for the occasion.

The annual subscription was set at 0ne pound for adults and 10 shillings for scholars and remained substantially the same through the Depression and until 1939.

Raising Funds

Up to World War 2 funds for the club were largely raised by throwing garden parties, the first being held in February 1927 at Stoneycroft. Here there were stalls for sweets, cakes, produce, flowers, ice-cream and soft drinks as well as a balloon and bran tub luck dip (lucky dip) chocolate throw, a putting competition, an art gallery and of course afternoon tea.

In October another garden party was held in the newly erected pavilion which raised 79 pounds for the club coffers. Apart from the above stalls others were added. These include hoopla, a nail-driving competition, a coconut shy and a lady fortune teller who was paid a pound for the afternoon.

The next year the Committee suggested a baby Show should be run to raise funds but settled for an even more ambitious garden party. The YMCA Orchestra was engaged for 3 guineas, the party featured a Punch and Judy Show and a ‘Peeps into the Future’ stall was also added.

In 1927 a second court was proposed, Walter de Thier arranged for another section to be donated. In 1929 a move was made to establish a croquet lawn. The croquet green was opened in 1931 on land leased to the club by George and Fred Scott, rent free for 14 years.

The first AGM was held in September 1926 and the following officers were elected. Patron: George Humphreys, Sub-Patrons: Col Hobday, R M Morten, A Morten, J S Middleton and Nat Woods. President: B Riley: Secretary: P E Scott Treasurer; C Edmonds Captain: S Thomas.

Committees and Membership

A club is only as good as its committee and the Mt Pleasant tennis Club was fortunate to have such good founding members. Most of who remained active committee members for many years. The club has always been a small and friendly and thus has not often fitted comfortably with the structure of the Canterbury Lawn tennis Association (now Canterbury Tennis). It has been an on-&-off affair with that organisation. The club was affiliated between 1927 and 1937, out till re-affiliation in 1951, out again between 1968 and 1984 and re-affiliation until 2009. In support of the Junior members the Club reaffilliated for the 2016-17 season.

In 1926 there were 13 adults and 7 junior members, but numbers built up as the facilities improved. In 1927 a pavilion was erected, made from a large advertising hoarding of black pine (Matai) that used to stand opposite the cob cottage near the Heathcote Bridge. In 1942 during WW2 men and women in the Armed Forces were allowed to play tennis at selected times, becoming honorary members.

Relocation

In January 1939 first mention was made of a possible relocation of the club to the ‘quarry domain’ but it took 11 years and a war in the meantime to complete that move. By 1944, because of increasing numbers of residents on the hill it was necessary for the Christchurch City Council to plan a new sports area, to which tennis would relocate.  On 1 December 1948 the tennis and croquet sections parted company with the hope that the two clubs would “always remain friends”.

The quarry site was reinvestigated in May 1948 as a joint venture with the CCC, the club being represented at these negotiations by E England, E Chirnside, S Browne, J Roche and Miss Marion Edgar. Initially two asphalt courts were to be built with provision for two further courts. But by opening day on 23 September 1950 four new courts were ready and the pavilion had been moved to its present site.

Finance had to be arranged for these new facilities. Dances were held, in particular a ball at the Waldorf in July 1949, 8pm to 1am and such fund-raising activities as raffles enabled the subscription rate for adults to be kept at two pounds in 1952. Even 28 years later in 1980 the rate was a modest $16, but then inflation bit in and members seemed to prefer to raise club funds through increased subscriptions rather than voluntary work, a reflection of busier lifestyles. Certainly subscriptions increased to $30 in 1984, $115 by 1988 and in 1993 to $175. Along with disaffiliation in 2009 the subscription was reduced to $150.

The new courts attracted increased membership, by 1951 there were 66 adults and 42 juniors and by 1985 100 adults and 94 juniors (probably a record) were members and in 1999 the club had 54 adults and 51 juniors which has been the average figure up to the present season.

In 1980 the courts were resurfaced and more netting erected. In 1990 two courts were resurfaced in Plexipaving and from 2006 the club’s has four courts have been surfaced in Synpaved which are well used throughout the week.

The February 2011 earthquake damaged courts 1 & 2 with a 3cm crack across the width of the courts, also the vollywall was damaged and had to be demolished. After a temporary repairs to the courts they were fully restored in early 2013. Fortunately, courts 3 and 4 were not damaged by the earth tremors and the club members continued playing without hardly missing a club-day of tennis. The volleywall was rebuild in 2017.

Text mainly compiled by Gerald Ward and Rob Brown for the club’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

Life Members

Since the club’s inception 16 life members have been elected;

W. de Their, Mrs M Edmonds (1936), F A Roche (1939), Mrs M Morten (1948), E W England (1950), G F Roche (1951), L W Gazzard, Mrs N Stanton (1965), Mrs H Chirnside (1966), Noleen Beatty (1989), Chris Evans, Dorothy O’Connor (1990), Shirley White (1994), Ekke Coberger (1995), Don Baker (200?), Faith Thomas & Rob Brown (2013).

Doubles Champs 1947-2010

Singles Champs 1990-2010