For 52 years, Mrs Keen - known affectionately as 'Auntie' by hundreds of members and visitors to the club - worked at the club. Many venerable members and ex-members claim that without Auntie the club would not have survived through World War 2.She arrived at the club in 1924, along with her husband, who became club groundsman. He had previously been a groundsman at Queens Club. Few will know this, but Auntie was an athlete in her youth. While serving in what became the Women's Royal Air Force, she competed in 100 yard sprints. Auntie supported her husband at the club, providing a refreshment service and later running the bar, as well. During her husband's absence during WW2, she took over her husband's role - even mowing the courts! Her husband died in the mid-1950s. Auntie's eccentric likes, dislikes and habits endeared her to many people. By 1976, it was clear the she could no longer handle all her responsibilities. The committee tried to persuade her to reduce her responsibilities, but she would have none of it. The club did the kindest thing and offered her retirement with a pension, which she reluctantly accepted. Auntie died in her 80's in December 1984. (Nobody ever dared to ask her age!!) Auntie devoted most of her life to the club. No-one has made a bigger contribution to the club than Auntie - and no-one is ever likely to.
Ups and Downs since WW2
The club has had several threats to its survival and 'dodgy' periods. In 1947 the club was £650 'in the red'. In 1953, a fire at the clubhouse caused severe damage and could have been much worse had not a Tube train driver spotted it, got out at Ealing Common Tube station and called the Fire Brigade. In 1964, Ealing Common LTC (immediately adjacent to the club) closed down and the club gained 4 grass courts and 51 new members. However by far the biggest threat to the club's survival were the continuous attempts by the club's various land owners to throw us out during the 1970's and the 1980s.
Since WW2, Ealing can boast several top class players whose achievements for the county were notable. Richard Leslie, Mike Dennis, W. J. Gallimore (a splendid coach in addition to his match-winning abilities) and Denis Platford. Derrick Lester was for many years both Ealing 1st Team Men's Captain as well as Middlesex Men's Captain.
48 views0 comments