Ladywell Fields Tennis Courts Refurbishment - The Death of Grass

The tennis courts in the north field will be refurbished as part of the Parklands project. Works will take place during March and last 3-4 weeks. Due to the high cost of maintenance, the grass courts will not be retained, but two of them will be turned into new hard courts. The existing courts will be re-fenced and re-lined and are likely to have a new top surface too, if budget provision allows.


Brockley Dogging Society said...

New balls, please!

Peter Tooke said...

Grass courts are only worth having if they're well maintained all year round - something which Glendale (even with the best will in the world) are not able to do. Add to this the fact that grass courts are only playable for a few months of the year anyway and, all in all, Ladywell Fields is lucky to be getting this upgrade.

Anonymous said...

Yep,Glendale are not the best by a long chalk.It was ok when there was a full crew of full time park keepers.

Bookworm said...

Let's see how many people get your reference when all the libraries are closed!:-)

Anonymous said...

I cycled through Ladywell Fields on my way back from Wickes this afternoon and the Parklands project really seems to be taking shape now, with a new bridge and several viewing platforms where the river has been opened up. An encouraging number of quite big new trees have been planted along the paths, plus a dozen or so fruit tree saplings have gone in to the southern corner of the Southern field - the one I looked at closest to the path was Victoria plum - looking forward to picking the odd plum/apple in addition to the usual blackberries from there in a few years time :)

Brockley Nick said...

@bookworm, I'd be amazed if Crofton Park Library has a copy ;)

Brockley Dogging Society said...


Would you be interesting in picking ripe fruit on Hilly Fields?


Simon@Geddes said...

I'm always disappointed to see grass courts disappear as there are so few around anyway these days. It is especially rare to find grass courts which are available to the general public. I played on grass at a club in my home town when I was younger and it was a real treat.
I guess it does make sense to replace with grass with hard courts which can be used all year round but I always liked the idea of grass courts on Ladywell Fields.
Tennis is a great game and more young people should be encouraged to play. We have always lacked decent tennis facillities in this country and there has been a real failure on the part of the L.T.A to provide the right backing and infrastructure needed to encourage more youngsters from a variety of backgrounds to take up the sport. To progress to a decent level usually requires expensive coaching and willing parents to ferry children from tournament to tournament. I hope the council does provide a more suitable surface for the courts on Ladywell Fields and I hope the local youngsters are encouraged to take advantage of the improved facility.

Andy Murrey said...

I'm thinking of a career change, any vacancies?

Simon@Geddes said...

@ Andy Murray
Although we at Geddes are always on the lookout for young under developed talent, we also need to ensure our team members are able to perform under pressure.
Unfortunately you seem to have been found wanting in this department when it has mattered most.
In my experience, eastern Europeans seem to cope far better when the pressure's on and I'm afraid I'll have to pass on this occasion.
Please feel free to contact Mr Capello at the Football Association-my understanding is he is always on the lookout for under achieving sportsmen-that's if you haven't already been capped for Scotland of course!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the LTA should have been approached to fund and maintain the grass courts in Ladywell Fields?

Or maybe a financial institution that's 'sponsoring' the Olympics could provide a 'peoples' bonus that goes to spoerting projects in deprived areas?

Anonymous said...

Tennis is still mainly an elitist sport in this Country.

Brockley Nick said...

No it isn't.

Bored and tired said...

Yes it is, for the reasons that Simon has already explained.

Brockley Nick said...

No it isn't. Simon's not arguing that the sport is elitist, but that there aren't as many decent community facilities in the UK as there ought to be (and certainly not compared to much of Europe). True enough. But you could say much the same of thing of many sports in the UK, including football.

It's a relatively cheap sport to play (two rackets and a couple of balls) and there are lots of courts that are free to use (either all year or at off-peak times).

Polo is elitist. Tennis is not elitist.

You can argue that the elite level, the talent pool is too narrow and I'd agree with you. But as a sport to play at grassroots level, it's among the most accessible in the country. Just because it's popular at country clubs and is associated with pimms at Wimbledon, doesn't mean that the sport itself is elitist.

Go to the courts in Hilly Fields, you'll see a wide range of people playing it.

Simon@Geddes said...

I don't think tennis is an elitist sport-when I was young there were plenty of parks in my hometown where people could play tennis. I remember paying a small fee for the use of the courts and playing for hours against my friends-all working class kids I hasten to add.
There were also working mens sports clubs in the town sponsored by the local steelworks. I was a member of Appelby-Frodingham steelworks tennis club as my Dad worked on the works. I used to often play against the shift workers in the daytime during the school holidays.
I still play to this day and I would advise anyone interested in playing and finding opponents of a similar standard to check out It is an excellent site and it helps you to find players in your locality and across London.
Where tennis in this country could be accused of being elitist is in it's development of young players.
I am a member of the Riverside club in Chiswick which has excellent indoor and outdoor facillities. There are many young kids down there who've had access to expensive one on one coaching and I suspect it will be children with early exposure to such coaching who will probably be contesting junior tournaments up and down the country.
Kids who just pick up a racket and go and hit balls down at the local municipal courts are unlikely to get similar opportunities regardless of their natural athleticism or raw talent. It is extremely difficult to bridge that gap and in my opinion one of the reasons we have been so poorly represented on the world stage.
That said, when I was a kid-my friends and I contested many a faux Wimbledon singles title over five sets in the same way we all played in the F.A Cup Final and batted and fielded all day in our Ashes series.
That's what's great about sport, you can compete fiercely against people of a similar standard and just enjoy the competition.
Elitist or not-you can still have your own cup final.

Robert Sheppard (LFUG) said...

I'm afraid last week's announcement about the Ladywell Fields tennis court refurbishment may have been premature. It now transpires that there may not be sufficient 'spare' funds in the Parklands budget so unless money can be found from elsewhere this WILL NOT now be going ahead in the immediate future. My apologies for raising hopes.

Robert Sheppard
Ladywell Fields User Group

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