HLTC Club History by F.McLeish
1884 - FORMATION OF CLUB
In the minute book of Hamilton Lawn Tennis Club dated 26th March 1884, is recorded in best copper plate handwriting the following: - "In accordance with an advertisement in the "Hamilton Advertiser" of 22nd March, a meeting of Gentlemen favourable to the formation of a Lawn Tennis Club in Hamilton was held in the Commercial Hotel on 26th March."
THIRD TENNIS CLUB IN SCOTLAND
Hamilton Lawn Tennis Club was the third club to be formed in Scotland, the distinction of the first club going to Perth in 1882. Hamilton Lawn Tennis Club was formed a year before the Scottish Lawn Tennis Association and seven years after the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon.
After the sub-committee had been duly elected, premises had then to be obtained. The sub-committee were instructed to inspect various fields, resulting in the first grass courts being rented from a Mr D Naismith at a field at Auchincampbell.
The rent for the whole field was £12 per annum or £5 for three quarters of an acre, of which the latter was chosen. In the first year of existence the joining fee was £1-1/- for gentlemen and 10/6 for ladies. In 1885 the rent was increased to £10, which was considered too much and the Club decided to move.
The Club moved to Hutton Bank, Hamilton, where two red ash Courts were constructed and a five-year lease was obtained on the ground. The Lanarkshire weather was also rumoured to have influenced the decision to change to ash!
1885 - WEST OF SCOTLAND MEMBERSHIP
At the Annual General Meeting of 30th March 1885, a circular regarding "the proposed West of Scotland Tennis Association" was laid on the table and it was resolved to join the Association as a club.
1886 - CLUBHOUSE
In 1886 the club acquired a Clubhouse or Pavilion as it was known as in those days. Around the same time two further courts were laid, making a grand total of four by 1888.
1898 - DUKE OF HAMILTON
The minutes of March 1898 show the president of the tennis club to be his grace the Duke of Hamilton.
1902 - WOUND UP AND RESURRECTED
The Club wound up in 1902 when the Ground was lost due to the construction of a new road, but thankfully resurrection was almost immediate on a new site. There is an entry in the minutes of 20th May 1902 stating that Ballantyne & Jackson's offer to put the new courts in order for £2 prior to the start of the season, and to keep them in order throughout the season at 4/- per day was accepted. Nets were purchased from the Argyll Rubber Co at 5/6 each.
1922 - OWNERSHIP
The title deeds show that these existing courts were purchased in 1922 from the Duke of Hamilton.
1942 - WAR STOPS PLAY!
The club closed for the first time in its history between 1942 and 1946 when the courts were covered over to provide a dance floor to entertain the troops during World War II (1939-1945.)
1980's - ASH COURTS TO HARD COURTS
The club moves from red ash courts to hard surface courts from Chevron. Very large brushes with rubber rollers were used to sweep the water off the courts and make them playable after rain. With no red ash your socks and shoes remained pristine, much to the delight of everyone. The days of using liquid whitener on your shoes were gone forever!
1990's - HARD COURTS TO ALL WEATHER COURTS
The club moves from hard courts to all weather grass courts and playing time is increased. Sand is used to maintain the courts and sliding becomes a viable option once again. Only snow stops play generally, although members have been know to come and sweep the snow away to have a game!
2000 - WEB SITE LAUNCHED
With the internet taking off and home computers with dial-up modem access becoming more popular Fraser McLeish builds and launches the clubs first web site. HLTC has its first club presence.
2010/11 - CLUBMARK STATUS
HLTC embarks on gaining Clubmark Status in 2010. John Jellema dealt with the administration, Ian Allingham dealt with the Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Builders, Fraser McLeish dealt with Web/Social Media and Anne Clarke dealt with Child Protection Policies and sponsor liaison. In September 2011 the Club received Clubmark status. Clubmark provides you with the tools and resources you need to ensure your place to play is delivering a quality tennis development programme and operating in line with best practice.
2012 - SOCIAL MEDIA
With smart phones and apps becoming popular Fraser McLeish sets up and launches Facebook and Twitter to give the club a social media presence.
2012 - CLUB HOUSE DEMOLISHED
The old clubhouse was demolished to make way for a brand new Clubhouse, due in early 2013. After upgrades over the years, a substantial internal upgrade by Alistair Burnett and many paint jobs by club members the clubhouse is buldozed away.
2013 - NEW CLUBHOUSE
The club became pround owners of a brand new clubhouse after receiving financial support from our Honorary president Lorna Hamilton, Sportscotland, Viridor and Mccarthy & Stone.
2013 - NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHED
In line with gaining our Clubmark status Fraser McLeish redesigns the entire web site and re-launches it in April 2013. It is packed with new features and packed with information.
Many thanks goes out to Mrs Lorna Hamilton for providing many pieces of research material, without which this in depth insight into the history of the club would not have been possible. Mrs Hamilton is also unique in that she has the distinction of being the first lady to hold the office of President of the West of Scotland Lawn Tennis Association. She is also a past president and current Honorary President of Hamilton Lawn Tennis Club.