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Sticke Tennis Court to West of Hartham House, Corsham

Description: Sticke Tennis Court to West of Hartham House

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 1 August 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 315188

OS Grid Reference: ST8590772091
OS Grid Coordinates: 385907, 172091
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4476, -2.2042

Location: Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 0PZ

Locality: Corsham
County: Wiltshire
Country: England
Postcode: SN13 0PZ

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Listing Text


1637/1/161 HARTHAM

(Formerly listed as:

A covered Stické Tennis Court built in the 1890s at Hartham Park for Sir John Dickson Poynder (later Lord Islington).

MATERIALS: The building has a pre-fabricated timber-frame with decorative split log cladding (Larch). It has a Bridgewater tile half-hipped roof with decorative bargeboards with fan-shaped cut-outs at its gable ends, and two red brick chimneys, one to the south and one tall external stack to the east elevation. Both chimney stacks have twin diamond shaped shafts with pots.

PLAN: It has a large rectangular plan, with a nine bay court at its north-west end and a two bay, two-storey south-east end with entrance hall, changing room and social room on the ground floor, and an L-shaped viewing gallery above with access to an external cricket balcony.

EXTERIOR: The south-east front has a central entrance with a decoratively patterned glazed door with small square lights above it and to its right. To its left is a casement window with three above on the first floor. The side elevations each have a row of nine pairs of square windows under the eaves with metal opening mechanism, operated externally. The east elevation has at its south end two casement windows with a cricket balcony above and to its left on ground floor level French doors giving access to the court, flanked on either side by double casements. The windows and doors have leaded timber hoods with decorative brackets.

INTERIOR: The majority of its original decorative detailing and features survive, including carpentry, window and door furniture, wooden stairs with bobbin balusters,and two upstairs fireplaces with wood mantelpieces, grates, and decorative glazed brick surrounds. The men's changing room on the ground floor has a fireplace with marble bolection-moulded surround, and its original toilet manufactured by Doulton & Co. Painted wood grain effect survives on most timber clad internal walls and the stairs. The roof above the court has a large central light and decorative iron ties to the trusses, and original chicken wire protecting the clerestory lights. The original timber floors with red court markings survive, including the side column with its winding mechanism for tightening the net and two small shelves built into the timer side wall for storing the balls.

HISTORY: Stické Tennis is a cross between lawn tennis, real tennis, and rackets, and is played in an enclosed court smaller than that of real tennis, using a standard lawn racquet and soft balls. The game was first developed by the military in the late C19, who constructed the first courts in Army grounds both in Britain and overseas. From the 1880s Stické Tennis became a popular sport amongst the affluent and was played by both sexes. A number of purpose built courts were built at various country estates, and probably the best known of these courts was Lord Desborough's Patented Court at Taplow of 1892 (much altered and not listed). Subsequently further courts were built, and especially by members of a wealthy and influential group of friends that called themselves The Souls, which included Lord Islington of Hartham Park. The building of the court at Hartham Park coincided with late-C19 improvements to the gardens, and as it was built in a piece of woodland on the edge of the pleasure grounds, a decorative rustic style was adopted.

SOURCES: G Tomkinson, Stické Tennis (2004)
Mitchell Taylor Workshop Ltd., Hartham Park Conservation Plan, 2006
Hartham Park Stické Court, Quinquennial Survey, 2007
Ordnance Survey Maps of 1886 and 1900.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Stické Tennis Court at Hartham Park merits listing at grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* It is a rare building type of which only a few survive.
* It is remarkably complete and has remained in use as a Stické Tennis Court.
* Its architectural detailing and decoration is of a high quality design and craftsmanship.
* It has an unusual, decorative rustic style, designed to respond to its woodland setting on the edge of the pleasure grounds at Hartham Park.
* It makes a very important contribution to the understanding of the historic development of Stické Tennis.
* It has an interesting historic association with Lord Islington and The Souls group, who developed a specific interest in Stické Tennis.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

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