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The Summer Pavilion, Beckenham Tennis Club, Bromley

Description: The Summer Pavilion, Beckenham Tennis Club

Grade: II
Date Listed: 22 March 2013
Building ID: 1412897

OS Grid Reference: TQ3770570241
OS Grid Coordinates: 537705, 170241
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4145, -0.0212

Locality: Bromley
County: Greater London Authority
Postcode: BR3 5BW

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Listing Text


Tennis pavilion. Built c1896 and extended in the 1930s. Minor alterations subsequently.1930s extension adjoining to the east is not of special interest.

Reason for Listing

The Summer Pavilion at Beckenham Tennis Club is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as a good representative example of the bungalow-with-verandah style of pavilion which predominated in the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras;
* Degree of survival: it is substantially intact and retains the majority of its original fabric;
* Rarity: few intact examples of tennis pavilions survive from the early days of the sport;
* Historic interest: as an early facility for women at a club with a notable history within the sport of tennis, being one of the oldest clubs to remain at its original location and hosting the first ever ‘open’ grass court event open to both amateur and professional players from 1886.


Beckenham Cricket Club was founded in 1866 and the following year leased the ground at Foxgrove Road. In 1879 three grass tennis courts were cut and a tennis section of the club founded in response to the growing popularity of lawn tennis during the previous decade and the success of the first championship at Wimbledon in 1877. Beckenham is one of the oldest surviving tennis clubs in the world still at its original location. In 1880 membership was opened to women players and the number of courts expanded. From 1886 until 1996 the club hosted the Kent All-Comers’ Championships which in 1968 became the first ever ‘open’ grass court event open to both amateur and professional players. Many international tennis players appeared and the list of those who won both the event and Wimbledon include Helen Wills Moody, Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, Anne Jones, Billie-Jean King, Maria Bueno, Martina Navratilova, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. The club also hosted a Davis Cup tie in 1922.

The current tennis pavilion, on the north-west side of the cricket pitch, was erected in about 1896. It is not shown on the first edition Ordnance Survey map published in 1895 but does appear on the 1896 second edition. The original cricket pavilion, on the south side of the cricket pitch, (demolished and replaced by the current building in the late C20) is also not shown on the 1895 OS map and it seems likely that the two pavilions were built at the same time. Originally known as the Ladies Pavilion it would have provided women players with their own facilities separate from the male-only preserve of the main cricket pavilion. By the 1933 OS map the pavilion had been extended to the east to take on its current footprint. The pavilion was used as the ladies changing room during the annual championship tournament. At some point, probably post Second World War, the northern open verandah was partially enclosed. Historic photographs show that the originally open verandah facing the cricket pitch had been glazed earlier, probably just before the First World War.

From 1998 the pavilion was refurbished with some alterations to the interior and reopened as the Summer Pavilion by Maria Bueno (a member of the club and who now has a lounge named after her) in June 2003.


MATERIALS: timber-framed construction with clay tile roofs and brick plinth.

PLAN: hexagonal in plan with canted ends to the east and west of the south elevation. Verandahs on the north, south and west elevations. 1930s extension adjoining to the east is not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: the south elevation facing the cricket pitch is of five bays; the canted corners were each originally of three bays, the eastern corner reduced to two bays by the link to the 1930s block. The elevation has three rendered gables with timber framing and bargeboards. The two gables at either end of the elevation are set at an angle. Walls are of timber-frame construction set on a brick plinth with dado height panels of vertical timber boarding. The panels at the canted corners have cross bracing. Above the panelling are triple-light windows with transoms. The centre bay consists of large glazed double doors with windows with double lights and transoms. There is a second entrance in the centre bay of the western canted corner. The verandah is supported by wooden brackets springing from moulded engaged timber columns. Additional support is provided by three metal posts (boxed in timber). These are a later addition.

The northern elevation, facing the hard courts, has two hipped-roofed pavilions forming part of what was originally a pitched-roof verandah along this elevation. These pavilions along with the verandah, perforated ridge tiles and curved finials give the tennis pavilion a somewhat oriental appearance. The eastern pavilion is now enclosed (forming the Maria Bueno Lounge) but the western is open (with a glazed screen to the west), as originally built. Either side of the eastern pavilion the verandah has also been enclosed. The section to the west, along with the eastern pavilion, has timber sash windows. At the western end of the verandah a small boarded WC has been added. Original iron rainwater goods have been replaced with plastic.

INTERIOR: long gallery on the south of the building facing the cricket pitch. To the north of this a number of rooms including kit rooms, the Maria Bueno Lounge and lobby to the 1930 pavilion have been created by the partial enclosure of the northern veranda and eastern pavilion (creating the bay window to the lounge). The lounge is divided by the original internal supports for the verandah and the original vertically panelled wall survives to either side of the opening to the gallery. This open area was originally known as the ‘Ball Room’ as there were a number of hooks mounted on the rear wall, corresponding to the number of courts, with string bags of tennis balls hanging from them. The gallery is largely unaltered apart from the insertion of a small kitchen area. On the western wall of the gallery an honours board records the players who have won both the club’s open tournament and Wimbledon.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.