History of the previous club

This information is subject to current research, so will be updated from time to time.

This research was inspired by Mike Bottomley from Reigate Priory Croquet Club finding this medal from 1923 on sale on eBay. Unfortunately he didn’t win the auction … the medal went for £31.

As you can see this medal is from the first year that the Croquet Association ran the All England Handicap event (1923), but E.H. Cartwright was not the winner, so it’s assumed he was just one of the finalists at Roehampton. P Newton from Tunbridge Wells was the runner-up.

According to the archives of the Tunbridge Wells Lawn Tennis Club (unfortunately not available online anymore) this club started as the Tunbridge Wells Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1899 at the Nevill Ground, following the opening of the Nevill Ground in 1898 (football was played in winter at this point).

By 1906 the whole area had been taken over by tennis and croquet and an immediate consequence was “a tremendous jump in membership” according to the 1908 edition of the Kent and Sussex Courier.

There is also a reference to the club in Pelton’s Illustrated Guide to Royal Tunbridge Wells in 1912.

In 1922 onwards the the Courier reported that an annual open Croquet Tournament was held in the Nevill Ground for 5 days. In its 22nd and 29th June issues in1923: “Croquet is gaining in popularity, as evidenced by the increased entries and the fact that more Class A players have entered”. About 40 players entered, being divided into 4 classes – Class A was for the Latimer Cup (Dr H.A. Latimer was President of the tournament), had 13 players and was won by C.S Wentworth-Reeve. E.H. Cartwright won the Class B event. There were also Handicap Singles and Handicap Doubles events.

By 1931 the croquet lawns had been replaced by hard tennis courts, so it’s assumed the Croquet Club part had ceased by this time. But the Courier continues to report its annual tournament in the Nevill Ground until 1936.

Additionally, the CA’s Croquet Gazette reports on tournaments held annually in Tunbridge Wells from June 1920 to July 1936. There were also three match reports; against Blackheath, Lewes and Southwick (Longman Cup). [Sadly we don’t have the paper editions and they’re not online, so we don’t have any other information about these yet.]