Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, paid an informal visit to Wellington College recently, to see the start of construction on the College’s new Real Tennis court which is being built by regional construction company Beard. There are only a small number of courts in the UK where Real Tennis, one of the Prince’s favourite sports, is played.
The Prince is president of the college’s Real Tennis Court Appeal, which has raised £1.7 million to build the facility. Wellington is one of only four schools in the country which plays the medieval racket sport on which modern tennis is based. The new courts are shaped like a courtyard with sloping roofs, openings and buttresses where the ball is played off. The court will be housed in a new two-storey building with spectator facilities and a single-storey annexe providing a pro shop and entrance lobby. Beard is working with architects H J Stribling & Partners to deliver the scheme due for completion in March 2016.
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,” says 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.”