Roehampton Club is a private members’ sports club in southwest London, England. It is set in 100 acres (400,000 m2) of parkland, close to Richmond Park. Originally established in 1901 as an officers’ polo club, Roehampton Club has sporting and leisure facilities including an 18-hole golf course, 28 tennis courts, two padel tennis courts, six squash courts (one for doubles), four croquet lawns, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym, a fitness studio, a health and beauty clinic and a bridge room.[1]

Early history edit

At the turn of the 19th century there was a tremendous strain on the polo clubs of London to provide for the growing interest in the sport. Clubs existed in the vicinity of the capital but were considered to be too far to travel. It was the initiative of the Miller brothers that began the formation of Roehampton Club to alleviate this problem. Edward Miller had left the 17th Lancers in 1893 to start Rugby Polo Club at his home in Warwickshire. His brothers Ted, Charles (an Olympic polo player) and George had developed one of the largest polo pony supply businesses in Europe. Together they met with the other interested parties and formed a Limited Liability company to create the club. Lord Shrewsbury was appointed as the chairman and Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge was made president.

Charles Darley Miller set out to find the land which needed to be close to the Hurlingham Club and Ranelagh Club for ease of transportation of polo ponies. The original facilities included three polo grounds, a racecourse, a horse show ground, an area where women could practice driving, tilting and jumping and stabling for the members horses. in 1904 a golf course was built with nine holes, this was later expanded to 18.

Roehampton Club opened in April 1902 under the management of Charles Darley Miller. The Roehampton Trophy, donated by Mrs Alison Cunninghame of Craigends, was first played for in this year. The Trophy is now the oldest polo trophy played for in England and the tournament is held at Ham Polo Club in Richmond, London. There were also Junior competitions and a tournament where all the players and teams were selected by ladies. The cups were presented to the ladies who picked the winning team.

In 1913 Olive Hockin started a fire at the Club in support of the suffragette movement. Hockin was arrested as she was also suspected of an arson attack on a house at Walton Heath belonging to Lloyd George. Hockin was given a four-month sentence in Holloway Prison.[2]

The first 400 Members paid no entrance fee and though the Club was considered to be a poor relation to the Hurlingham and Ranelagh clubs this was not the case. Members and regular polo players included Admiral Lord David Beatty, Sir Winston Churchill, the Marques de Villavieja, Lord Hugh Salisbury, the Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich, and the Duke of Westminster. King Alfonso XIII of Spain was so fond of playing at the club he paid for a grandstand to be built on top of the clubhouse for his entourage to use.[3]

Inter-war years edit

Polo and equestrianism at Roehampton Club recovered quickly after the First World War. The club was now being managed by Clement Charles Lister who with the assistance of John Arthur Edward Traill and the Miller brothers took a keen interest in the development of newcomers to the sport of polo.

There were a number of key polo players at the club during this time including 10-goal Charles Thomas Irvine Roark, 9-goal Eric Horace Tyrrell-Martin and John Arthur Edward Traill.

Membership edit

The waiting list is currently around three years depending on the number of Member resignations received at the end of each year. A variety of membership categories apply but the main decision for applicants is to decide if they would like to include golf in their membership or not.

Once completed application forms, proposer and seconder letters (or other required paperwork, see below) and non-returnable application fee are received, Prospective Members are invited to attend a Prospective Members Meeting.

At this informal group meeting Prospective Members are given more information about the Club and the application process by the Membership and Marketing Manager, Chief Executive and a Director. They are asked to say a few words from their chair about themselves and their reasons for joining the Club. The meetings take place one Sunday per month starting at 10am in the Clubhouse.

After this meeting, all the Prospective Members’ names are posted to the notice board in Reception for at least two weeks and are then taken to the following board meeting for applications to be ratified by the Board. If Prospective Members know current Members of the Club we ask that they find someone to propose and second their application and to provide a letter to state how they are known to the Proposer / Seconder, for how long and to vouch for their good character and any attributes they would bring to the Club. Their signatures are also needed on the application form.

For Prospective Members who don’t currently know any Members at the Club, in order to submit an application for membership, we ask for CVs, a copy of ID and letters from two professional people who can write a character reference for each Prospective Member and vouch for their good character. Once added to the waiting list, we will assist prospective members in finding current Members to propose and second their membership applications.

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See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ The Roehampton Club Official Website
  2. ^ "Strong Willed & Courageous … Margaret Schencke – A Woman of Fortitude". Women's History Network. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  3. ^ Horace A. Laffaye (2009). The Evolution of Polo. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-3814-3.

External links edit

51°27′48.08″N 0°14′45.1″W / 51.4633556°N 0.245861°W / 51.4633556; -0.245861