Royal Tunbridge Wells began life as a spa town when a local spring was discovered. The spring was said to have healing properties so the first people to visit and live there were associated with being healthy.
Natually, some of these people enjoyed sports and formed clubs so that they could enjoy playing their preferred sport in sociable surroundings. As well as the clubs established in the 18th and 19th centuries, during the latter half of the 20th century, a whole host of new sports clubs were formed which cater for minority sports such as Ju Jitsu and Zumba keep fit classes.
The cricket club is about the oldest established sports club in Tunbridge Wells, having been formed in 1782. The club is still going strong with a vibrant youth policy and 5 Saturday league teams. Their cricket ground, the Nevill Ground was established in 1895 and is currently one of the grounds used for Kent County games. During the first world war it was commandeered for grazing cavalry horses and during the second world war for holding troops.
Tunbridge Wells FC was set up in 1886 and has gone through several name changes and eight different grounds. In the 1920s and 1930s, they were really a force to be reckoned with and, although never a league side, long cup runs and crowds of several thousand supporters were not uncommon. They hold the distinction, along with Littlehampton FC, of having taken part in the longest penalty shoot out in a senior cup match in Europe – 40 spot kicks were needed before Tunbridge Wells were triumphant! The present club rose from the ashes of the side that folded in 1966.
There are a couple of golf clubs in or near to Tunbridge Wells, the Nevill golf club was formed in 1914, just before the outbreak of the first world war. Despite that, it survived and flourished. The Tunbridge Wells golf club run a 9 hole course that is highly rated. It doesn’t compare to the 18 hole courses of course but it receives good reviews from visiting players.
The Royal Tunbridge Wells Monson Swimming Club is a successful competitive club that was founded in 1901. They are based at the sports centre but hold regular training sessions at nearby Tonbridge in the Tonbridge School pool. Their name, Monson, originates from the original swimming baths in the town. One of the notable achievements was made in 1966 when the youngest ever team of swimmers crossed the channel. They have always been an active force in swimming in the Home Counties and that dynamism continues to the present day. The club has produced a number of national champions plus olympic and paralympic competitors.
The Squash club was formed in the mid 1930s and was soon closed down for the duration of the second world war. The courts were used for storage of supplies. It re-opened in 1947 and has remained open ever since. There are 3 courts with an online booking system.
The origins of the Rugby club can be traced back to more or less the same time as the squash club, however, it wasn’t until 1970 that it was opened to anyone other than the ‘Old Boys’ of the Skinners School. The club plays Rugby Union and fields several teams. Famous alumni of the club include two England players, Colin Smart and Martin Corry.
There are plenty of smaller sports clubs in the town encompassing a wide variety of other sports – cycling, martial arts, tennis, badminton and more. If you are a sporty type looking to live in the area, there is almost sure to be something for you!