Warriston Park Lawn Tennis Club
There have been tennis courts in the Warriston Playing Fields since the early 1880s. This was the home of the Warriston Park Lawn Tennis Club, founded around this time and one of the first tennis clubs to be established in Scotland. The courts were located on roughly the same spot in the southern half of the playing fields, then known as Warriston Park, as the derelict courts which were turfed over last year. There appear to have been five courts, all grass, with a small pavilion on the north side with steps leading down to the courts.
Little is known of the history of the club, but it would appear to have had a distinguished record and to have played a full and important part in the early history of Scottish and on occasion British tennis, as indicated by the following extract from the contemporaneous 'History of the Inverleith Lawn Tennis Club':
“The part played in Scottish tennis by the Ferguson family has been a notable one. Mrs Herriot [formerly Miss W.M. Ferguson] and her sister, Mrs Huddleston [formerly Miss A.M. Ferguson], and their two brothers played at the Warriston Club where the members included C. Murray (now Lord Murray), Condie Sandiman, J. Laing, A.W. Banks, and Miss C.V. Crawford. Lord Murray and W. Ferguson formed a strong pair for this club and gained numerous outstanding wins in matches. Mrs Herriot partnered her brother in the Whitehouse open tournament in 1896 and since then has gained titles at every important tournament in Scotland: with Mrs Huddleston, the Scottish ladies’ doubles title has been won five times, while Mrs Herriot with other partners has won it upon three other occasions. Mrs Huddleston did much to advance Scottish tennis by winning a world championship title when, in 1910, she and Miss Garfit won the All-England Ladies’ Doubles Championships.” [Mrs Huddleston, then Miss A.M. Ferguson, also won the Scottish Ladies' Singles Championships on at least two occasions, in 1906 and 1907.]
According to “Lawn Tennis and Badminton” of 18 August 1910, “… Mrs Hudleston [sic] and Miss Garfit played as if in a different class............in the final, beating Mrs Tuckey and Miss Aitchison, the holders, by the astonishing score of 6-0, 6-1.” [The All-England Ladies’ Doubles Championships was played at Buxton in Derbyshire from the mid-1880s and was considered the most prestigious women’s doubles title in the British Isles until a women’s doubles event was given official championship status at Wimbledon for the first time in 1913.]
The following references also give a further indication of the activities and standing of the club:
“DEAN v WARRISTON -The annual match between the above clubs was played at the Dean on Saturday afternoon, and after a very closely contested game, ended in a win for the Dean by five matches to four.” [Scotsman; 25th June 1888]
“WARRISTON LAWN TENNIS CLUB -The annual tournament was concluded on Saturday before a good turnout of members and friends. This is the last occasion on which the club can hold its tournament on its present courts at Warriston Park, the School Board having acquired the grounds in connection with their scheme for having a playing field of their own.” [Scotsman; 29th June 1908]
As can be seen from the latter reference, the tennis club lost the use of its courts at Warriston in 1908/09. There is no record of the club under its original name after this date, but it is believed that it may simply have relocated to Inverleith Place, and renamed itself accordingly, becoming the Inverleith Lawn Tennis Club.