Anyone for Tennis?
1895 saw the opening of Elland’s new Tennis Club on Cross Lane. There were four grass courts and a pavilion (dressing rooms for both ladies and gentlemen) designed by Mr. F. Beaumont, a member of the club. The ‘great and the good’ of the district assembled for the opening ceremony. Councillor James Mackrell said what a great honour it was to open the club and its splendid courts. The game could compare to any other given the exercise in the fresh air. The members ought to consider playing for a cup. Cllr Mackrell said that he would gladly help them fill it or empty it! Councillor Lumb presented Cllr Mackrell with a dessert stand for his kindness. The Rev. Scott Coates then spoke of the history of lawn tennis. He said that the game was good for developing every muscle in our body but sadly some were of the opinion that tennis was a child’s game, a ladies’ game. He ventured that such criticisms were ignorant. No other game required so much skill or calculation as lawn tennis. All agreed. A friendly match then took place between the Rev. Coates & Mr Fairclough and Mr Riley & Mr Hollings although Cllr Mackrell served the first ball. Riley & Hollings won by two sets to love 15-13, 6-3. The club had fixtures arranged with Brighouse, Outlane and Savile Hall in the coming weeks. It’s a pity that no photographs or sketches of this ceremony and club have surfaced. A map from the 1930s indicates that the club was sited at the top of what is now Crestfield Drive.
Many years ago the Halifax Guardian ran a limerick competition with a cash prize for the winner. The paper provided the first four lines so the entrant submitted the final line. One week during the summer of 1907 the following unfinished verse was set for contest:-
‘A man who was hearty and hale
Was going by car to West Vale
When near Salterhebble
A boy threw a pebble’
Batches of entries were received, some as far as Bournemouth and Ramsgate. (Competitors had been warned in previous weeks that anything defamatory and/or suggestive would not be allowed. As always the judges’ decision was final). The winner (£1) was L. Bagnall of Halifax with ‘Caught the post, strange to say, missed the male (mail)’. You could post a letter on the tram (boxes attached to the rear). The runner-up (10 shillings) was Edith Booth from Carlton Street, Halifax – ‘He jumped, and the car jumped – the rail’. The rejected included - ‘It finished both man, boy and tale’, ‘A yell; a policeman – then gaol’, ‘And now he’s obliged to learn Braille’, ‘It struck him, stitches just now prevail’, ‘Struck his head, language red, draw the veil’, ‘Said the man: Fancy summer and hail!’, ‘Now in bed at St. Luke’s, he looks quite pale’ (St Luke’s Hospital, now Calderdale Royal) and finally ‘These Limericks are getting quite stale’!!!
David J. Glanfield
Greater Elland Historical Society