At the time of construction (1866) there were two other tennis courts in use in Cambridge. Wellington Court (aka East Road Court, Parker’s Piece Court or the Phillips’ Court) situated on East Rd where Wellington House now stands; and Pembroke College court on, of course, Tennis Court Rd.
The Green court used to be white! It was painted at the time the blue court was converted into squash courts (1933). The balls were covered in red or orange felt. Normal service was resumed in 1960.
The first match was played in October 1866, the protagonists are unknown.
Matches could only be played in natural daylight until electric lighting was installed in 1932.
An Eton Fives court butted up to the north wall – the outline of which can still be seen from the car park.
When first built the club stood at the termination of Grange Road. The through route to Madingley Rd was only completed in 1910.
Funding for the construction of the tennis court and professional’s house was by private subscription from eight fellows of Clare and Trinity along with the Master of Clare. The building cost was £2,887.
The buildings were designed by Yorkshireman William Milner Fawcett (1832-1908), an alumnus of Jesus College. His secondary claim to architectural fame is the (Old) Cavendish Laboratory on Free School Lane.
The original floor was laid with flagstones from Caen. It had to be re-laid in 1931/32 following damage from pile driving for the new University Library. However the flagstones alongside the court are the original ones, dating from 1866.
In December 2104 our courts and attached pro’s house were awarded a Grade II listing for, amongst other things, being imposing but elegant recreation buildings constructed in high quality materials and exhibiting craftsmanship; and for the survival of the original layout of the 1866 court. So there.