Wimbledon Hockey Club is one of the oldest hockey clubs in the world, having been founded in 1883, and indeed it was ‘the Wimbledon Rules’ that were adopted as the first ever universally accepted Rules of Hockey. Originally playing on the edge of Wimbledon Common the Club moved to its present site, as tenants of The Wimbledon Cricket Club, at the end of the 19th century and have been based in Church Road ever since then. In 1889 female relatives of the male players decided they too wished to play hockey and thus was founded The Wimbledon Ladies HC, now the oldest ladies hockey club in the world. The Ladies led a more peripatetic existence for their first 100 years, but are now firmly ensconced in Church Road and amalgamated with their male counterparts as ’ Wimbledon Hockey Club’, in turn a section of the multi- sport Wimbledon Club.
In the early days hockey was only played in the winter on the cricket outfield, yet in the 1890s it was not unusual to have a crowd of several hundred watching and all matches were fully reported in the national press. Since those halcyon days crowds may have dwindled, but the standard of hockey has rocketed. Although Wimbledon have had numerous international players over the years, of both genders, including four playing for Scotland in the 1920s, the present men’s 1st Xl is unique with 4 current England internationals playing regularly and 2 former Olympians also in the team, one of whom is our Hockey Director, Ben Marsden. Both of our 1st Xls play in the English National League, the men in Premier League and the Women in the second tier, Conference East.
Although serious hockey is no longer played on grass, but on “artificial turf pitches” the Club still retain one grass pitch in Church Road for the old timers. But our ‘state of the art’ home pitches are now shared with our neighbours, Kings College School, Wimbledon a short distance from the Club House. These pitches are in constant use all through the week, not only for matches, training and coaching of all our adult teams, but also to accommodate some 600 juniors. The combination of all these people playing hockey at Wimbledon has led to us becoming not only one of the most successful English Clubs, but also the third largest club in England. Currently plans are very advanced for the provision of a further three artificial turf pitches for our use which will leave us well ahead of all our rivals. Our junior section is already straining at the seams, so any extra pitch space is vital if we are to continue to grow rather than stagnate.
Hockey is, of course, only one of the major sports provided by The Wimbledon Club, which remains the hub of all our activities. The Cricket, Tennis and Squash sections are as successful as their hockey counterparts and the Club hosts a Gym, an Indoor Tennis Court, a Sports Hall as well as a thriving seven day bar and restaurant. The Wimbledon Club is a social centre for the Wimbledon area as well as being a leading sports club.