The Club was founded in the Summer of 1878 as The Leicester Lawn Tennis and Quoit Club and is thought to be one of the 12 oldest tennis clubs in the world.
Generally known as Leicester Lawn Tennis Club until 1912 and then Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Club until 1926 when ‘the’ was tagged on the front. In l929 the Club was incorporated as The Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Club, still its legal title today.
The first known grounds were on land rented from Leicester Corporation for £30 per year, 6068 square yards on the south side of Park Road (now Victoria Park Road) near the London Road, shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1885. It is believed that there were at least six grass courts and a cinder court
This land was a surplus piece of the old racecourse and when, in 1889, the Corporation put it up for sale, a resolution was put before a General Meeting to wind up the Club. The resolution failed and subsequent action taken resulted in the lease of land on either Evington Lane or Evington Road, the exact spot now unknown. £470 was spent on making new courts and fencing the land.
In 1900 this ground had to be vacated due to road development and the current ground was leased from JW Goddard, manufacturer of Goddard’s Silver Polish. The main entrance then was from Toller Road with another entrance by a path leading from Stoneygate Avenue through the garden of what is now number 15. The original grounds covered what are currently courts 1 to 6 plus an area of land to the South. The land to the North, then known as the hockey ground, may have been rented in the Summer.
In March 1930, the ground was purchased from the executors of JW Goddard for £6,500 and during 1930-31 the clubhouse was erected at a cost of just over £3,600.
Since the 1930s the Club has continued to improve its facilities and now boasts eighteen tennis courts, of which 9 are synthetic grass, 5 Artificial Clay and 4 macadam. In 1973 two squash courts were built adjacent to the clubhouse.
On the playing side, the first recorded club champion was CS Viccars in 1890 and the first inter-club match was against Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club in July 1889. Throughout its history the Club has been host to a variety of tournaments. Open tournaments were from 1883 onwards, and from 1901 to 1914 the standard of entry was high. During this period the club tournament was dubbed ‘Little Wimbledon’. Up to the outbreak of the First World War almost every player of renown, not merely from England but from all parts of the world, had played at Leicestershire Lawn Tennis Club, incluidng six times ladies champion at Wimbledon, Mrs Hillyard, whose maiden name, Blanche Bingley, conjures up an era all by itself.
These heights have proved difficult but not always impossible to replicate. In 1970 and 1971 commercially sponsored tournaments were held attracting players such as Wimbledon champion Evonne Goolagong and the then British number one Roger Taylor.
Over the years the club has produced many players who have (and do) represent their countries at various levels. Perhaps the most notable, to non-tennis players at least, is Mark Cox, a former British number one and Davis Cup finalist against the USA – and most notable to us because he still gives time to visit the club, hand out prizes and inspire the next generation.