A century of Weir Recreation Tennis Club

One of many celebrations planned for Weir Recreation Tennis Club’s centenary year was a Community Fun Day.

Weir Recreation was first formed on April 4, 1919. The first official tennis match was played against local club, Cathcart, in May 1920. This concluded with a narrow defeat for the home team.

The aim of this was to invite the local community to the grounds and encourage children to take up tennis.

Local schools were contacted and asked to nominate children who hadn’t played tennis to take part in a tournament. They were offered six coaching sessions prior to the event and on Saturday the sun shone and the competition started.

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There was some great tennis and the winners were Tinto Primary School, with Merrylee finishing second.

Prince Albert planting tree at Weirs, January 1923

There were lots of activities for the many local people who attended – the highlight was the tennis, of course, but the event also had a fantastic face painter, bouncy castle and treasure hunt. Food was plentiful and a good day was had by all.

Weir Recreation Tennis Club was set up in 1919 for the employees of Weir’s Pumps and is situated in Albert Park which lies between Cathcart and Battlefield.

Within the grounds there is football, cricket, bowling and tennis.

The quoiting greens have long gone but photos would suggest it was a popular pastime for men and women.

Weirs win the junior Calcutta Cup, 1975. Current members back left: Callum Jaap, back right: Tommy Rae.

The club houses were designed by a renowned local architect, James Miller, who was responsible for lots of station waiting rooms as well as the Anchor line building.

The park was named after Prince Albert and in 1923 he planted the famous oak tree which stands to this day, although it has struggled in recent storms to hold its wonderful shape.

The club’s royal association continued in 2015 when Prince Charles visited – his helicopter landed on the football pitch and as well as meeting local children and dignatories he visited the tree.

The courts were originally blaes and regarded as some of the best in the West of Scotland, so many senior and junior tournaments took place over the years.

However, over the years the maintenance was becoming increasingly difficult and rain stopped play on many occasions.

The club was fortunate to receive funding from Weirs and Tennis Scotland to upgrade and now it has four all weather courts and floodlights. Club members can now play every day of the year and the only weather that deters them is snow.

Membership has fluctuated over the years but there are a number of long standing members committed to the club and in some cases their children and grandchildren have carried the family tradition on.

The club is always keen to welcome new members and hassix part-time coaches offering a range of coaching for all abilities and ages.

Their enthusiasm and drive is commendable and their tennis is good as well. Their advice and guidance is much appreciated.

The coub caters for every age group and as well as competitive tennis there are lots of opportunities for social tennis.

There is a particularly keen group of women who play regularly in the mornings, and they acknowledge that life would not be the same without tennis.

Like all of members, they are very aware of the health benefits of tennis and enjoy being part of a community and have great fun playing.

Some members have had serious health issues or bereavement and acknowledge that tennis has played an important part in helping them cope and manage stress.

Doubles tennis is classed as a moderate physical activity and can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease as well as reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety.

There is nothing like a game of tennis after a tough day – Weir Tennis and Recreation Club has a wonderful setting and a great tennis community so whether you want to play competitively or social it would be pleased to welcome you.

As Judy Murray recently tweeted: “It’s not how you play tennis it’s that you play tennis.”

Member Tom Rae’s reflections on Weir Tennis Club:

Tom joined Weir’s at the age of 16 in 1964 and has had membership since then – 54 years.

He stated that although the club was originally intended for Weir’s employees but by 1964 the numbers of members had dropped so non employees were able to join and knows as “associate members”.

Employees paid 50 per cent of the fees and only full members could be on the committee.

As an employee Tom was able to join the committee and remained a member for 30 years.

He had a further stint on the committee recently as well.

In the 1960s Weir’s employed five full time grounds men to maintain the entire club.

The courts were among the best in the West of Scotland.

Over the years the commitment to the grounds lessened and tennis members took over the court maintenance – the blaes had to be replaced every year and the lines lifted, cleaned and then re-nailed in place.

Tom’s most memorable sporting memory was winning the Junior Calcutta Cup in 1975 along with Calum Jaap, Brian Stoddart and Ram Bhalla.

There was also a Kings Park Interclub Tournament which Tom was actively involved in running.

Although competitive, the tournament was well attended friendly event and a great way of rounding off the summer season.

A dance would be held at the end of the season with each club taking it in turn to host.

This has now been replaced with the Southside tournament and there is still a social gathering at the end.

Tom reflected that the club has strong connections for a few local families who have had a major influence on tennis playing in the local area.

To find out more about what the club has to offer, visit Weir Recreation Tennis Club