Globe is the only Tennis Club in Hampstead and a little oasis in the heart of Belsize Park. We have six courts in total, four of which are floodlit. There are four artificial grass courts, one all-weather hard court and one artificial clay court, as well as a bar, a restaurant and car parking. We arrange many sporting and social activities throughout the year, including tournaments and social tennis. But for those who want to play competitively, the Globe boasts the best men’s and ladies’ teams in the county! There are both local and national tournaments during the summer and winter months, but you don’t have to be Rafa Nadal or a Williams sister to join in. With eight teams spread across the leagues, you are bound to find your competitive standard. The Globe also has a very vibrant junior section, and our coaches are on hand to help anyone who wants to improve their technique. New members are always welcome, so why not come, visit, and join?
In the ‘good old days’ that is before 30th June 1954, the date the Globe LTC was officially founded, English tennis had not only tram lines but also racial lines. This meant that many foreigners and people from minority religions were hardly ever admitted to tennis clubs. At this time, the excluded men and women were forced to get together and rent public courts. That is how it came about that a group of these ‘social misfits’ joined together with other friendly natives to meet and play on what was then the Russell Nursery site of 16 private to rent courts. It was decided to have a tournament and form a club. Four courts were hired permanently and the initial membership consisted of 64 members from more than 20 different nationalities; the annual sub was £4.
What became apparentl very quickly was that this polyglot membership formed a bond which went far beyond the normal intercourse one would expect between people who play tennis. The Globe became a family with a vibrant and close social life in addition to tennis.
The facilities were awful. The clubhouse was a ramshackle wooden hut; for loos, we had the bushes. The mark of a gentleman in those days was a man who let his mixed doubles partner have her own bush.
Over the years, more and more demented souls insisted on joining and the club had to hire 10 courts on the weekends. The courts were old. The shale surface was breaking up, the bounce was an ‘act of God’ and, to get a half-decent game, the first 20 minutes were spent in watering, rolling and afterwards brushing the courts. Needless to say, more and more people clamoured to join the club.
The Railway, which owned the land, sold it to the Council who in turn wanted housing not tennis. With luck, with skill, with ‘chutzpah’ and, above all, with steely determination, we convinced the Council to give us the present site which we developed with the aid of grants and loans and an indecently tight budget.
Our club abounds in history and, even if a great deal has been now forgotten, it is these roots and history that make the Globe what it is today. We are still an international club where one can enjoy relaxed social tennis for all ages, or participate in highly competitive matches at the highest level in our Junior, Ladies’ and Men’s Teams.
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