The early years:
The history of Chesham Bois Lawn Tennis and Squash Club can be traced back as far as 1909. Starting with a tennis court in the garden of the Old Rectory, North Road, Chesham Bois, it is believed to have moved to a single grass court, leased from Captain Trwhitt-Drake, located at the back of Dr Challoners Grammar School, Hervines Road the same year. In 1920, proposals for new grass courts were made to bring the total to three and the club became known as the Chesham Bois Lawn Tennis Club.
The club flourished in the 1920’s and 1930’s, with rent for the courts set by the landlord at £5 per year, a lease was granted for 21 years in 1925. A basic wooden Pavilion was built with dances organised on a regular basis, raffle tickets were popular and a tennis coach was employed in 1931. There were 63 full members and 19 midweek members. In 1933, three hard courts were built (red shale) with an additional three grass courts following. A full-time grounds man was employed in 1935, just a year earlier the Tennis Junior section only operated during school holidays.
The 1940’s and 50’s:
In 1942 the club lease was extended for a further 21 years and it seemed to remain stable during the war years although the court maintenance suffered a bit! By 1948, there were 112 full members, 70 summer members, 10 Junior and 10 Honorary Members. In fact, membership had grown to such an extent it was closed to all except people with exceptional and unusual qualifications! In 1956, the club started to look for a new site before the lease expired in 1963. A suitable site was located in 1958, a field located at the rear of Culvermead, Copperkins Lane purchased for the pricely sum of £750 from the estate of a Mr White. The existing location lease was surrendered to Bucks County Council.
The club today:
Firmly established in its current location, it was agreed in 1967 that a new sport should be developed to attract more members. The driving force behind this decision was the late Ken Nunn and the chosen sport was squash. Two years later, Founder members of the squash club paid 12 guineas to help finance the construction of 2 courts, 3 years’ full membership was included in return. At the same time, the Club House and Bar (upstairs) were built. In 1971, the squash club officially opened. It proved immensely popular as membership closed at 150 full members and a further 150 midweek members. A third court was promptly proposed. The original courts are courts 2 and 3, the third is known as court 1 today. The club’s name changed to Chesham Bois Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.
At this point the club had 2 squash courts, four grass tennis courts, two red shale courts and two En Tout Cas courts (crushed brick and burned shale). Planning permission for the third squash court was obtained in 1972. In 1977 it was decided the four grass courts would be replaced with Laycold courts. In 1987 the club was extended and a full time club manager employed, the tennis club shop opened in 1988.
In 1989 disaster struck the club when a series of break-ins, starting in February, and culminating in a fire in October gutted the club house and squash courts. Both were unusable for nearly a year. The culprits were eventually caught thanks to the diligence of one member, Mary Crowshaw. She also became instrumental in the re-building of the club and was made Honorary Member in 1990. Floodlighting on three of the tennis courts was introduced in 1992 and in 2001 the tennis shop was relocated to a single storey extension adjacent to the dining room. The joint website was launched and proposals for a fourth squash court were made but rejected. The late Ken Goss was the driving force behind the addition of a glass backed county class tournament court to increase the club’s profile. In 2003 permission for the 4th squash court, tennis court number 11 and additional tennis floodlighting was granted. The fourth squash court came into play in November that same year.
The UK’s first web based squash booking system was installed at the club in 2004. Members could now book online or use a touch screen booking kiosk at the club. Keyless door entry was installed at the same time, linking to the online booking system with secure key fobs which could also be used in the bar. The club had its centenary in 2008 with many events marking the celebration. Merchandise could also be purchased and a booklet was produced detailing the history of the club. Today CBLTSC continues to grow and develop. The success of the club would not have been possible if it weren’t for the dedication and enthusiasm of key members, both past and present, whose efforts are highly appreciated.