Wessex Squash Club: Our History

Pre-Squash

Prior to the building becoming a squash club it was part of St Paul’s Parish, based on a church in Edgware Road (where St Aldhelm’s Chapel and the Rainbow Bookshop now stand) and was used as a Youth Club which included badminton in its activities.

It was later leased by the church to an Irish Club, but they lost their alcohol licence for selling to under-age customers…!

Foundations

Wessex Squash Club as seen from Dowling St, Swindon

Wessex Squash Club as seen from Dowling St

The original Wessex Squash Club was founded by Alan Beard of E.W. Beard Ltd who recognised the potential of the location and the appeal of squash. Alan entered into a 20-year lease, built the courts, formed the changing rooms and added a first floor to form the bar above.

The club was formally opened by the Mayor of Thamesdown on 18 April 1977.

The club was so popular that members were given a guarantee the club would be limited to a maximum of 265 members to prevent it becoming too difficult to book a court.

The club thrived, particularly under the direction of Tony Munslow and the club regularly entered five men’s and two ladies’ teams in the Wiltshire Squash Leagues.

Tough Times

During the mid-eighties membership numbers declined as jogging became the rage – it was new and it was cheaper.

As the decade rolled on squash became “that game that dad plays” and the attraction to the younger generation seemed to all but evaporate.

Furthermore in 1992 resident parking was introduced in the area. Residents had votes in the ward, squash players didn’t, and the club lost out.

Shortly afterwards the lease was transferred to one of the club members at the time, and after first deciding to dispense with the club’s squash pro the owner later abandoned the club.

Saved By The Members, For The Members

In 1997 a noble trio of members took over the helm and the Wessex Squash Club has been run ever since as a members club with licensed bar.

The walls were re-plastered, the hardwood floors were renewed and the club was revived. To this day, our members remain thankful to those three members for their continued time and devotion to the welfare of the club.

In 2007 the club celebrated its first ten years as a members run club and expanded to include racketball.

Putting The Wessex Online

In 2012 the club launched its new website (the one you’re on now!) and introduced an online booking system from getoncourt.com which members now use to book squash courts whenever and wherever they are.

The club regularly enters teams sponsored by getoncourt.com in the Wiltshire Squash League and also hosts a number of prestigious local squash tournaments.

Join the Club

The Wessex Squash Club has members of all ages and abilities – everyone is welcome!

If you’re interested in joining see our membership page for more information or contact us if you have any questions – we’d love to hear from you.