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Early References to Oxford University Croquet Club

Minute book of the Curators of the University Parks, 1867-82.

(Ref WPB/20/3)

24 December 1877. The Rector of Lincoln and Mr Johnson attended as a delegation from the Oxford University Croquet and Lawn Tennis club. They stated "that the club had existed as a croquet club for 12 or 14 years and had played at the back of the Museum. That it was not exclusive being open to graduate members of the University but not to undergraduates. That lawn tennis had now been added to croquet and that the present ground was too confined to accommodate the number of graduates who wish to join the club and play; that they had in vain tried to find a ground near to Oxford, that they therefore asked to be allowed the use of a plot of ground in the Park measuring about 100' x 54'; that they merely wanted the turf levelled and the expense of this and other contingencies would be borne by the club." On this the Curators resolved "that on the understanding that the University Croquet and Lawn Tennis club is not exclusive, but that any graduate member of the University is eligible, the club be allowed the use of a certain portion of the Park until further notice on the following conditions:-

  1. That the ground be selected by the Curators.
  2. That the extent of it be about 100' x 50'.
  3. That all expenses of maintaining and repairing the ground be borne by the club.
  4. That all work connected with the ground be executed under the direction of the Park Curators.

Minute book of the Curators of the University Parks, 1882-1908

(Ref WPB/20/4).

1st November 1883. That Mr Case be allowed to make three or four lawn tennis courts at his own expense in the space between the museum and the observatory and sublet them to members of the University lawn tennis club from year to year only.

2nd May 1902. Leave was given, on the application of Mr W. W. Hoar MA, Merton College, to the Oxford University lawn tennis club (graduates) to lend and relay an additional piece of ground, one acre in extent, to the south of their present ground and to move the gates in the railing near the line avenue (?) Further to the East... and to pay the Curators a yearly rent of £2.

The ordnance survey map of 1877, 25,344 to 1 inch, shows the University observatory in the open park (sic), roughly 150 yards north of the University museum. Trees and planting took up part of the space.

M.G. Brock and M.E. Curthoys: History of the University of Oxford section 7 (2) 2000, OUP.

Parks purchased in 1853.
Scheme for gardens 1863.
Museum constructed 1855-60.
Observatory built 1874-5.
Jackson Cricket Pavilion 1880.

Prof. Peter Dickinson (current President, OUC&LTC) writes

"I have looked at the Oxford Times on microfilm in the country library. (It is hard to read because the print is so small, or so the microfilm machine is not really user-friendly).

There is coverage of University affairs (Encenia etc) and sport (rowing, cricket). It is conceivable that in those ages of print there is a reference to be OUC&LTC. But unless text become available on this so that it can be searched, I cannot see that our particular needle is findable in the haystack.

Tradesmen's directories go back to 1860 so, and contain much information, but nothing on University sport. (Good collection of Oxonena in the county library)."

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