Tennis Courts at the Robertstown playing field

I cannot remember tennis being part of the sports offering at school in the 1957-64 era. However, there were tennis courts next to the Robertstown playing field, and they were indeed used by the school earlier, in the 1950s. They were tucked underneath the northwest end of the engine sheds and belonged to the Aberdare Town Tennis Club, ATTC. I don’t think the school had use of the courts when I was at school, but it was possible to join the club outside school hours. I joined for a year or so and still have my key (see below) given to me by Mr Elfed Bowen, who was one of the club’s organisers. Elfed is a past pupil of the school, and also taught at ABGS 1953–56. The photograph below shows the northwest end of the shed, and the courts under the gable end.

ATTC Courts

Photo: Glyn Davies

You can’t play there now though.  When Steve Hammonds and I went back in the summer of 2003, we found that the area where the courts once stood to be heavily overgrown, and there were no signs of the courts or anything else in that area.  I suspect you would need archaeological skills to find any remains!

Plasdraw House

I also remember playing tennis in Aberdare Park, but mainly at Plasdraw. We hired courts at Plasdraw from the Co-op.  You may remember that the Co-op had several buildings in this area, one of which was a rather nice villa with a veranda that overlooked these three courts.

 The house was built in the 1870s by James Lewis, an industrialist and brother-in-law of Richard Fothergill of the Abernant Ironworks.  It was in the 1920s that the house was acquired by the Aberdare Co-operative Society for use as its main offices.

Much later, the co-op built a supermarket called Leo’s in this area, but this has now gone too.

Tennis in Aberdare at around this time is commented upon in The Aberdare Guide for 1956: “Aberaman Welfare has excellent grass and hard courts and their team is in Division I of the Welsh League.  The Aberdare Tennis Club has its courts at Robertstown and fields a team in Division III of the Welsh League.   The Aberdare Co-operative Society Sports Club has three hard courts at Plasdraw.   Public courts are available at the Aberdare Park and at Hirwaun.”

There is more about School Tennis in the Sporting Activities section.

Colin Rees