Bexhill’s Sporting Time-Line

1785   Bexhill Harriers established

1880   The first tennis club to be formed in Bexhill had its courts originally on the western side of Devonshire Road, where they were maintained for several years.

1888   Mr. John Webb in his construction of Egerton Park laid out tennis courts and the  Tennis Club transferred its headquarters there the next summer.

1889   Bexhill’s first football club is founded and plays at Belle Hill Farm.

1889   Bexhill Cycling Club founded.

1890-99 Former England centre-forward football international Francis William Pawson (Frank Pawson) (1861-1921) becomes a curate at the Parish Church, Bexhill-on-Sea.

1891   Bexhill Swimming Club established

1892   The Sackville Hotel opens. Tennis was played on courts there and it was and it was this club which moved to Dorset Road and became The Bexhill Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club.

1893   First Bexhill regatta held

Bexhill Rowing Club formed

Viscount Cantelupe lays out a private cricket pitch

1894   13th-14th August – Viscount Cantelupe’s XI vs. South Africa cricket match at Manor Ground

1896   July – The Australian Cricket Team lose a three-day match, played on the Manor Grounds, against the Earl De La Warr’s XI

Opening of East Parade Cycle Boulevard

1896   Cycling Boulevard (cycle track) and cycle chalet opened on De La Warr Parade.

1896  Bexhill Cycling Tournament held at the 8th Earl of De La Warr’s Bexhill Manor House

1897   Second Cycling Tournament held on the Manor House cricket ground. Prizes presented by Grand Duke Michael of Russia and his wife Countess de Torby.

1898   Bexhill Cycling Club and Hare and Hounds Athletic Club organise a Cycling  Tournament in Egerton Park.

1901   Sidley cricket club established

1902   Cycle track and chalet used to hold Britain’s first motor car race.

1903  Bexhill horse show

1907   Dorothy Levitt finishes second in the Bexhill Speed Trial

1907   First public bowling green opens

1907  Bexhill Tennis Club’s 1st Open Tournament.

Bexhill Chronicle also reports on Bexhill Tennis Club’s “American Tournament” with classes for Ladies Singles, Men’s Singles, Ladies Doubles, Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

International success for Bexhill Tennis Club’s Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles players in the annual Dieppe Open Tennis Tournament.

1909   Bexhill, Sidley and District Athletic Club founded following a craze for long-distance road running

1910   Bexhill’s first purpose-built roller-skating rink opens in Buckhurst Road.

1910   Bexhill Golf Club permits the employment of caddies on a Sunday

1910   Mr Langley Shergold Welch opened a roller skating rink in Buckhurst Road

1911   Death of the Maharajah of Cooch Behar in Bexhill on 18th September: – he was reported as being a “A notable sportsman”.

1911  Bexhill Chronicle report the 4th Annual Tennis Tournament to be staged by Bexhill-on-Sea Lawn Tennis Club. In its match report, the 4th Annual Tennis Tournament had 350 competitors                 taking part.

1912   Cooden Beach Golf Club established

1912   Bexhill Sea Angling Club established

1913   The first hard tennis court had been laid down in April. For many years ‘park tennis’ everywhere enjoyed a tremendous vogue and produced many good players.

Fred Perry who beat the great Americans of the 1930s at their own game, was a  product of the London parks.

1915   Bexhill Harriers dispersed

1919   Memorial for war dead discussion about memorial or a recreational ground

1920   Polegrove recreation ground opens

1924   Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill and District Snooker League established

1925   Highwoods golf course opened

1926   Mayor of Bexhill allows Hastings and St Leonards RFC to play at the Polegrove. In recognition, the club’s name changes to Hastings & Bexhill RFC.

1928   Bexhill Regatta revived after 20 year lapse

1933   Bexhill’s first women’s bowling club is founded.

1936   Baseball played in Bexhill as part of the Football Supporters’ Club fete.

1936   Bexhill Wheelers established.

1936   1st Bexhill Observer open darts competition. Inaugural tournament won by the Devonshire Hotel darts team.

1937   Bexhill Wanderers football club founded.

1937   (March) First boxing contest at the De La Warr Pavilion

1937   By-laws restrict the practice of roller-skating on the seafront promenades

1937   Demonstration of ‘surfing’ at the July Bexhill Regatta

1937   Former Welsh international Aneurin Richards becomes player-coach of Bexhill FC. Lasts only nine weeks.

1937   (August) High Woods bathing pool opens

1937   Cooden Country Club offered excellent tennis facilities with well supported tournaments. Helen Wills Moody played an exhibition game there with Captain Victor Cazalet, whose parents                     lived in Clavering Walk and were hosts to Mr. Neville Chamberlain soon after he became Premier in 1937.

1938   June 6 – Major Charles Butler Grace, a son of W.G. Grace, dies in a cricket match in Sidley

1938   Duke of Gloucester inspects Sports Centre site and visits Athletic Club camp at Highwoods

1938/9   Petition against the proposed Greyhound Stadium at Glyne Gap

1939   Debates about opening an ice rink in Bexhill, an indoor facility to attract the year-round visitor and to provide an amenity for Bexhill’s younger people.

After WW2, a small group of enthusiasts sailed from Veness Gap, South Cliff. In wooden, clinker-built dinghies.

1942  First indoor bowling competition in the town was held in Egerton Park Pavilion.

1947   Bexhill Sailing club established, based at a beach hut on West Parade

1948   Bexhill Town football club play a charity match against Arsenal FC. This is attended by 3,000 spectators.

1949.  Bexhill Sailing Club moved to improved headquarters at Channel View East  (now occupied by Bexhill Rowing Social Club). No showers or toilet facilities!

1951   Bexhill-born professional golfer, Max Faulkner (1916-2005), wins the British Open golf tournament

1957.  10th Anniversary of Bexhill Sailing Club. Celebrated with the now very popular  Sea Week.

1959   Polegrove Men’s Bowling Club established

1960’s   Bexhill Sailing Club – Headquarters outgrown again! Following protracted negotiations with Local  Authority, commenced building of new Club house on present site, De La Warr Parade.                  Funded by loans, grants and Club financial reserves. Much internal work done by members.

1962   Ladies & Men’s team competed in the 1st division of the Sussex County Tennis league. In that the same year a mixed team was entered into and won the Sussex Express & County Herald Cup             retaining the trophy after 3 successive wins.

1965. Official opening of new Bexhill Sailing Clubhouse by Keith Musto, 1964 Olympic Silver Medallist.

1969   Cooden Beach Sports and Social Club established

1972   Bexhill rower represents Britain at the Munich Olympic Games

1982   BMX track constructed at Sidley recreation ground

1985   Establishment of official Sail Training within the umbrella of the Bexhill Sailing  Club.

1989   An introduction of “watch system”. Bexhill Sailing Club had always been  “membership-run”, with all duties undertaken by volunteers. Now all members allocated to “watches”, which                            integrates new members easily and creates a better club spirit.

2006   A replacement skate ramp is constructed at Galley Hill

2011   ‘Freestyle gymnastics’ gymnasium section of 1066 Gym opens – one of the first of its kind in the UK

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·      After the First World War the cycling club became the Bexhill Wheelers.

·      Volvo Sailing Championship Club status awarded in recognition of “provision of facilities and training for young people”.

·      Lottery funding awarded for purchase of dinghies most suitable for training.

·      Early 2000’s, again and the Sailing Club had outgrown its facilities. Further lottery funding plus grants and club reserves enable rejuvenating of changing rooms, showers and toilets, together with extended rescue boat storage and workshop.

·      Club continues to flourish, with a positive, forward-looking membership, upholding its first aims and objects, to “…… promote and encourage good seamanship and knowledge and love of the sea……”

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