Tennis

The most difficult opponent was the wind

Barbara Heal (Hookey) described how in 1925 General Jack Seely gave a piece of land in front of Hanover House for a tennis court for village use. It was prepared and marked out by one of the gardeners of Brooke House and balls and racquets were provided free of charge. Tennis became very popular amongst the young people of the village, especially when holiday makers in the summer used to come and play as well.

Several old racquets and balls were kept in Hanover House for anyone who felt they would like a game and hadn’t brought their racquets with them and young Barbara made the most of this: I began playing when I was ten years old with one of the old racquets provided. However, the Rev. C. Shaw, thinking I had some skill, bought me a new racquet and I was able to improve my game. There was one big drawback – the wind. The tennis court was in a very exposed position and it was often too stormy to play. Unfortunately, in the early 1930s the road, which was gated at this point, was widened, and part of the tennis court had to go. We were then given a piece of lawn in front of Brook House. It was very sheltered there. The Seely family had already gone to Mottistone Manor to live. We spent many happy hours playing tennis in lovely surroundings until war came in 1939, and tennis had to end when troops were billeted in Brooke House.

Return tennis match Brooke House

The Rev Pellew Gaze’s daughters were triumphant in the following tournament on October 5th 1889: 

 The return match in tennis tournament recently took place in the grounds of Brooke House, kindly placed at the disposal of the players by Mr Seely.  The contest was between Miss Gaze’s team and Mr Sydney Haigh’s team. In the first match 160 games were played, of which Miss Gaze’s team won 88 and Mr Haigh’s 72, and in the return encounter 110 games were played, Miss Gaze’s team winning 65, and Mr Haigh’s 45.