Construction has begun on Wellington College’s new real tennis court. A royal visit from Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, to the Berkshire, UK, site marked the official start of development.
Regional company Beard is handling construction of the new court. Real tennis, the original form of modern tennis, is a somewhat niche sport, with only a handful of courts in the UK. The sport is one of Prince Edward’s favorites – the prince is president of the College’s Real Tennis Court Appeal, which has raised US$2.65m to build the facility. Wellington is one of only four schools in the country that plays the medieval racket sport.
The new court is shaped like a courtyard with sloping roofs, openings and buttresses that the ball is played off. It will be housed in a new two-story building with spectator facilities and a single-story annex providing a pro shop and entrance lobby. Beard is working with architects H J Stribling & Partners to deliver the scheme, which is due for completion in March next year.
Stephen Crouch, group finance and operations director for Wellington College, commented: “The College is grateful to the generosity of donors who have made this new facility possible, and we look forward to opening the court in 2016.”
Wellington’s real tennis court is one of only a handful to be built this century, and the second constructed by Beard. The new facility has been designed to enhance the College’s sports complex, which has been developed over the years since 1867 when the rackets court was first built.
“We are delighted to be continuing our working relationship with Wellington College, where we are delivering our third project for the school, which will create one of the finest real tennis facilities in the country,” said Marc Bayley, director of Beard Swindon. “Our experienced project team is looking forward to working with the college and the designers to transform a long-awaited dream into reality.”