Below is a list of former Eton Fives courts in the UK and around the world. Do CONTACT US if you have any additional information.
CLICK HERE to see a map of existing courts
2 Bat Fives Courts. Built in 1888 and demolished in 1920
Aldershot Military Camp
All Nations Missionary Training College, Essenby, Ware, Herts
1 court. Pulled down in 1971. Probably a Rugby Fives Court?
Aysgarth Preparatory School, Bedale, North Yorkshire
2 courts. Demolished in 2009.
Bedale School, North Yorkshire
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980s?
Birkenhead School, Birkenhead, Cheshire
1 court. Demolished 1990s.
Borough Road College. Isleworth
1 court (plus two bat Fives courts). Teacher Training College.
Brighton College, Brighton, Sussex
6 courts. Demolished 1960s.
David Marshall (Old Brightonian) reports: "Unsurprisingly, labeled 'Brighton Fives'. We only had one fixture per year, against St John's, Leatherhead, whose courts approximated to our own: a low front 'ledge', say 4' up, a buttress lower than for Eton and as the floor had no step, there was no box. The back court walls were about 5' high. Development had those beautiful courts razed to the ground - to make room for more tennis."
Caius College, Cambridge
2 courts. Now part of groundsman's shed.
Cambridge University, Portugal Place, Cambridge
2 courts. Indoors. Flag stoned floors. Demolished in 1995.
Over a dozen courts were built at Cambridge between 1890 and 1900
Cambridge University Real Tennis Club, Grange Road, Cambridge
1 court. Knocked down during WW2.
Charterhouse, Godalming, Surrey
1 court built on the eastern side of the hill by the bridge from Frith Hill Road to Brook Hall (which belonged to Hodgsonites I believe) and which would have been demolished at the time the old outlying Houses were sold off for development and to finance the current new Houses within the school grounds. (Report received from EFA member Martin Lindsay November 2007)
Cheam Preparatory School, Cheam, Greater London
Cheltenham College, Gloucestershire
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980s?
Chesterfield Grammar School
4 courts - 2 on old site and 2 on new (post 1967) site
The school moved from its original site in Sheffield Road in 1967 to a new site in Storrs Road, and there were originally two courts at each site. One of the original courts has since been knocked down to make room for car parking, but the other remains (see photo on the left). The two courts at the new site in Storrs Road were turned into storage areas in the late 1970’s (with doors put on, etc), but do also still exist (see photo on the right). The original courts were most probably built in the late 1920’s by AC Bescoby (CGS HM 1921-34), who was previously a master at Uppingham. It has since been confirmed through a former Master, Roy Parkin, who was a great supporter of the fives, that there were no inter-school fixtures at CGS but there was a House Competition (for the Bethell Cup). He also says that in about 1972 an EFA four played an exhibition match in the new’ courts at Storrs Road.
Chigwell School, Chigwell, Essex
4 courts. Demolished in 1983.
City of London School, Central London
6 Courts pictured in 1952, all subsequently rooved and painted battleship grey. On June 3rd 1986, the School held a farewell evening before moving to the new site. Representatives of the Old Citizens played some games with the boys at the School. Demolished in 1986.
Cliveden Estate, Taplow, Berkshire
1 court. Together with a tennis court and mortuary now form part of the Cliveden Conservation Workshop
Colfe Grammar School, Lewisham
1 court. Bombed during World War II.
Cottesmore School, Crawley, Surrey
1 court. Used as a coal bunker in 1980. Still in existence.
3 courts, next to the chapel, built in the 1860s?. Uncovered originally, with one covered in 1880. Demolished in ? and replaced by the six current courts.
Debenham House, Holland Park, West London
1 court. Still standing in 1994
Doncaster Grammar School, Yorkshire
? courts.Demolished in the 1980's?
Dover College, Dover, Kent
2 courts. "In 1896 a Mr. Compton had built two covered Eton Fives courts abutting the wall between the Gate House and Priory (replacing those previously built onto the Refectory.)." Classrooms in 1999, but possible to reclaim.
Note: One of the two Dover courts was returned to use in 2018; the other is due to follow.
Downham Hall - Home to the Clitheroe family, Clitheroe, Lancashire
1 court. Built in 1875; It has some interesting features; it has a mobile wooden buttress, which is in no way new, but was probably built at the same time as the court; it has a roof, which was probably erected at the same time as the court, which if accurate, would make it the oldest covered court in the country; the roof is a little low; there is no step; and of course no dead man's hole.
Edgbaston Preparatory School, Birmingham, Warwickshire
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980's
Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, Cambridgeshire
2 courts. Built on Park Terrace c.1870. Probably but not certainly belonging to Emmanuel College. Date knocked down unknown.
1 court. No longer playable in 1976. Janet Morris, Assistant Archivist, reports in June 2002 that the building which was the fives court does still exist but is now used only as a squash court. According to the College Magazine for 1932-33 'Three courts are being built, for Eton Fives, Rugby Fives and Squash Rackets... designed by A.E. Munby, MA, FRIBA... the work is being carried out by a specialist firm, Messrs. G.H. Carter Ltd., Clissold Works, London.' The old Eton Fives court was demolished to make room for the new building.
Information provided by Chris Little June 2002.
Epsom College Surrey
3 Courts (3 Eton, 2 Rugby). All that remains of these courts is the front wall. Courts pictured in 1952. The side walls have gone and have been replaced by a basketball court. The area was redeveloped fairly recently (2000-2005?) - though the courts had already gone before then.
Framlingham College Framlingham, Suffolk
2 courts. Destroyed in the 1960s?
Email from Mike Garnett (OF) in 2006:
Glyndebourne Manor House
1 court. Now the Organ Room
Greshams School, Norfolk
3 courts. Demolished in ?
2 courts. Andrew Hambling, Archivist, reports that there are still fives courts though the game is moribund. The oldest courts were bat fives courts now turned into squash courts. The two Eton Fives courts have been turned into groundsman's sheds. The four Rugby Fives courts are, in theory, still playable. These were built as a memorial to some OHs killed in the Great War.
Information provided by Chris Little June 2002.
Hardwick Estate, Goring Heath, Berkshire
1 court. Bruce Millar reports - "I played real tennis at Hardwick earlier this winter (November 2010), and saw the court below me to the left as I drove away from the car park next to the tennis court. It can only have been an Eton fives court, from the look of the buttresses and so on, and it had an extraordinarily high front wall and no roof. It was a nice morning, and the floor area was being used to dry washing. There seemed to be bicycles and other clutter stored there, and I have no idea what repair the walls were in -- but it certainly looked to me as if the court would be perfectly playable on a dry day if somebody spent a couple of hours sweeping up."
Heckmondwike Grammar School, Kirklees, West Yorkshire
2 courts? They were built in the 1930s extension and demolished in the early 1990s to make way for a technology extension - progress? (Keith Wilson Deputy Headmaster June 2002)
Information provided by Chris Little - June 2002
Hemsworth Grammar School, South Yorkshire
1 court - flagstone floors. Demolished in 1957. Replacement court demolished in the 1980s.
Geoff Graham Old Hemsworthian reports in 2002:
"In my enquiries about the Hemsworth court I learned of a book written circa 1980 by another ex pupil. Called "Hemsworth High Hall", it recorded the history of the building which exists from the mid C18th. The building was either demolished or (more likely) had been added to in the 19th century. Three families had owned and lived in it - one with very high connections namely the Lindley-Woods. Charles Lindley-Wood 1800/1885, one of the sons of Sir Francis became Chancellor of the Exchequer and Viscount Halifax. The final owners were the Leatham family who were big in banking. They sold the house to West Riding CC in 1920 when it became the school I attended and adored.
The court was very evidently built by one of the families as it was in a very beautiful, sequestered part of the grounds adjacent to the potting sheds (which were lean-tos on the outside of the court). The wear on the flagged floor bore testimony to many, many years of hard use too. Sadly this court was demolished in 1957 and a replacement court built. However the usual shortage of land for expansion resulted in that court being demolished in the mid to late eighties. i.e. the court was not sufficiently valued by the regime for it to be saved.
The Girls' Arch was so called because in the late 40's and fities when I was there, the grounds were still segregated in what was in a way a ground-breaking co-ed Grammar School. The grounds were in places symmetrical (like so many old, formal gardens) and there was the remains of a ha-ha ditch with 8 foot high brick walls runnning up to its edge where the more formal gardens ended. (There was also a quarry from which the stone for the old house had been dug and in which A Midsummer Night's Dream was performed each year). Through each wall was an arch and these were perhaps 100 metres apart and facing each other. The Boys' Arch was adjacent to and part of the Fives Court series of walls. If one left the court bearing right around its rear and right again through the Boys' Arch the lean-to empire of the gardener was revealed - greenhouse and sheds. Magical! There was even a pig stye c/w pigs - a hang over from rationing and meat shortages perhaps in 1949? The gardens were so old that there was considerable overhang from trees and one after another "secret" corner. Of course, this view of the place depended heavily on one's own taste. Even at that age however, I was of a romantic, artistic sort of nature hating all sport but Fives and Tennis. My habitat was the school choirs, art-room and working on support for school theatrical productions - not acting in them!"
Further email from Geoff Graham 2003:
In my search for information regarding the Fives court I got a copy of a super book which can only be described as a facsimile of the original which is astonishingly is in manuscript by Mr G Holdsworth in 1982 - ISBN 0 901869 13 9. That was written by another ex-pupil and concerned the history of the house and its owners which in 1920 became the school. I tell you this because it revealed that the forced change over to a Comprehensive school was just like a Soviet revolution. The incoming head had all the honors boards taken down and destroyed. He set out to obliterate all vestiges of the Grammar School and its history and even banned Rugby insisting that only football would be played. He banned the school song. However, the old school had a sufficiently large rump of pupils for the final assembly to become a farce! They defiantly sang the Hemsworth Grammar School song until the new head stormed out of the winding up assembly.
So it is no surprise that the court was demolished when the opportunity presented itself.
More information HERE
Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire
HIghgate Prep School
10 courts. Knocked down in 2014. These were knocked down to make way for a new prep school building, leaving Highgate with just the 8 courts further down Bishopswood Road.
Hipperholme Grammar School, Halifax, Yorkshire
1 court. The Fives Court, reported at one time to be an Eton court, was demolished in 1999 and now has a technology block on its footprint. It was used quite regularly as a Fives court until about 10 years before its demolition when its popularity diminished. Old Boy Mark Wilkinson reports that he played on it almost daily 1979-86. At that time it had a roof and lighting, the floor was on one level with a buttress that came out of the righthand side wall, extending 6 inches into the court, running the full height of the side wall. During his time they played with tennis balls, and a strange concoction of rules, that had been passed down by the older boys and were gradually changed as the years went by.
Holmbury Hill, Dorking
1 court. Built by the Bowman family and demolished in 1930
Horris Hill Preparatory School, Newbury, Berkshire
3 courts. One Eton, one rugby and one Winchester. Demolished in 1999.
Hymers College, Hull
2 courts. Now demolished.
King Edward VIth Grammar School, Retford
1 court - a plain three wall court with an open end. Dale Vargas reports (June 2019): That school has had an even more tortuous journey than most of the old grammars with several mergers, name changes and changes of site. Ged Moss (Old Retfordians) reports (October 2019) that despite all of this, the court is still intact but has been converted into a seating area for the private flat residents on what was the old school field.
KES Stratford, Warwickshire
1 court (possibly Winchester). Believed to be still in situe (March 2009) but no longer in use?
Kidderminster School, Worcestershire
? courts.Demolished in the 1980's?
King Alfred School, North London
2 courts built 1926/27. Not playable, last used in the 1960s. Used for storage.
King's College, Taunton, Devon
Originally 3 courts - non-standard. 1 court still in existence June 2002
Information provided by Chris Little
King Edward's Camp Hill School, King's Heath, Birmingham, Warwickshire
3 courts. Built late 1940s when school moved from Middleway. Unfaced brick. Demolished in ?
King Edward's Five Ways, Birmingham, Warwickshire
3 courts. The courts were built in 1958, the year the school moved from its inner city site to the suburbs.
Excellent courts, black in colour. Demolished in the 1980s.
Report received from Jo Seelig (Old Boy of the School) December 2005:
"The three courts were erected in 1958, when the School moved from its city centre site at Five Ways to the semi-rural setting of Bartley Green on the outskirts of Birmingham. The photos were taken by John Eggleton, a pupil interested in photography who snapped away at the new site between 1958 and 1962. I don't think he specifically set out to photograph the courts, rather they appear as an incidental detail in a picture of something else. In the first photo they appear as part of a general view of the rear of the school buildings. The second photo shows them in relation to the start of work on the sports pavilion, revealed in all its early 60's glory in the third (together with the subsequently built outdoor swimming pool) and fourth picture. The courts were really excellent, with black walls. Sadly they survived only some thirty years before demolition."
"Why were they demolished? Well, it might have been different had Howard Wiseman and his Coaching Agency been around in those days. As far as I know the School never ever had a fives-playing master - Hughes and Campbell (Old Edwardians) came and played an exhibition match in, I think, 1958, taught one or two of the older smokers and card players the rules, and that was that. Few people played in my time at the school, enough to make up the numbers for a House competition, and I don't think there was much activity at all from the start of the 70s. And then the usual thing, lack of use, slow dilapidation, and finally demolition to make way for some new building project. There was just no-one there to care. I did have an occasional correspondence with a couple of the headmasters long ago in which I tried to encourage them to refurbish the courts etc, but finally and probably quite sensibly I was told to either send a very large cheque or b..... off - well, words to that effect. Fair enough. fives was probably just too obscure and toff-sounding for Five Ways at that time, and went the way of the House system, cadet corps etc etc.
I visited the School about ten years ago and found it a very different place. Mostly unrecognisable, about twice the size I remembered, lots of impressive new buildings and vastly improved. It was really rather splendid. But I still think all Fives courts should be listed buildings and that no headmaster should have the right to deprive future generations of playing a wonderful game!"
King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds
? courts. Dmolished in 1972 when the school became a comprehensive and moved to a new site.
King Edward VII School, Sheffield
2 courts. Built in 1907, alongside two Rugby Fives courts, and demolished some time between 1975 and 1988.
King's School, Ely, Cambridgeshire
1 court. Wider court than normal. No side wall beyond the buttress
Leeds Grammar School, Yorkshire
4 courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980s. Also 4 'Bat' Fives courts were erected in 1876 but these were for bat-fives rather than hand-fives. The Hand-fives game was introduced in 1885 and became popular so that quite soon the old courts were replaced by 3 covered courts and 3 open courts. An annual fives tournament was introduced in 1886 and a house tournament in 1905. School matches were played but on a rather ad hoc basis. Fives was essentially a recreational sport. The game ceased to be played in the early 1930s and the courts were converted into indoor squash courts around that time.
The Leys School, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
2 courts. Now a climbing wall.
Lime House Preparatory School, Lime House London?
Lincoln School, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
1 Court. Photograph provided by Nick Berryman April 2002. The schools was Lincoln School in the 1950s-1970s and was then renamed Lincoln Christ's Hospital School. The court was certainly still in use during the 1960s but is no longer there.
Linton Estate, Maidstone, Kent
1 court. Built in the early 20th century and known to be in use in the 1920s. Probably demolished in the 1940s or early 1950s. Home of the Cornwallis family until 1938. Estate site of the court owned by the Daubeny family since 1961.
Liverpool Racket Club, Toxteth, Liverpool, Lancashire
1 court. In 1874, Upper Parliament Street provided the location for the club which had one Eton and one Rugby Fives court, the latter by 1902 was being used as a squash racquet court. Destroyed in the Toxteth riots in 1981.
1 court on the original school site in Cockfosters. Court demolished during redevelopment of the site.
Magnus Grammar School, Newark
2 courts demolished c1909 when the school moved site. 1 court was built at the new site but was demolished some time in the 1970s.
Merchant Taylor's School, Liverpool
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980's
Mill Hill School, North London
2 courts. Painted black. Replaced by 3 enclosed courts in 2006. The '1921' courts are believed to have replaced earlier courts.
Mowden Hall School, Stocksfield, Northumberland
Described as bizarre in 1981. Nick Lord a teacher at the School reports "I suspect the 'Fives court' at Mowden Hall was never built as such, but adapted from what was possibly a tack room. Originally called Newton Hall, the older buildings were built in the latter part of the 19th century. This area of the school (now almost entirely classrooms) has always been known as 'Stable Yard' and the description fits well. Some of the rooms were clearly once stables and others areas where carriages were kept. There must also have been storerooms, workshop and tack rooms too I suspect.
I imagine the 'court' was probably adapted from one of these smaller rooms at some point after Newton Hall became Mowden Hall School in 1947. The larger adjoining room became a gym, later a squash court (in about 1983) and in 1995 the Art room when the old fives court was also converted into toilets.
Around 1980 the sport was fostered by Rob Farrow, English master, keen athlete and sportsman but when he left in 1981 the court fell into disuse. It was an odd shape though. Old photographs could be impossible to find - it was badly lit and enclosed on all sides."
Neale Wade Community College, March, Cambridgeshire
3 courts. Non-standard
Newcastle High School, Newcastle, Staffordshire
2 courts. Demolished in early eighties.
Nottingham, Tattershall Drive, The Park, Nottingham
2 courts. Geoff Matthews reports "They now form the basis for Courts 1 & 2 at Nottingham Squash Rackets Club (www.nsrc.co.uk) and a few years ago when we were doing some development work part of the original construction became visible under the plaster as it was stripped off.
And, errrr, no we don't have any buttresses sticking out - would make squash a tad challenging...!!"
Ben Price (Old Reptonian) discovered the existence of these former courts in a 1907 planning application.
Nottingham High School
1 court. Demolished in the 1980s.
Oxford University, Oxford
4? courts. Demolished 1975. 1 court Merton College
Pardes House School, Finchley
2? courts. Demolished in 1998
Pinner, The Fives Court, Moss Lane, Pinner
The private house at which the court was situated is owned by Martin Verden (built in 1901 for Ambrose Heal of the furniture store family, who had a court built in the garden.) When Martin bought the house the court was derelict and he has converted it into a conservatory. It appears that there are three walls which suggests that it was probably an Eton Fives court.
Portsmouth Grammar School
3 courts. Demolished in 1953.
"The three courts were used on a very casual basis but very popular, you had to queue sometimes for a game and I remember clearly the rush to get there first at the end of morning school. It was a big advantage to be taught in G Block. Several of the Staff played and I remember playing matches against them, but there no school fixtures or anything of that sort. They were demolished to make space for a new Science Block I believe, but it was during my time away from the school while I was at Oxford or in the Navy." (Roger Harris - information supplied by EFA member Hugh Amos)
e-mail from John Brown, former pupil:
"The decision to replace them by a science block was made before I left the city (1953), and construction started soon after. Old men forget, of course, but I have reason to remember: in 1952 my partner and I were the last PGS ` Eton Fives champions - and presumably still are, fifty-eight years later."
Queens' College, Cambridge
1 court in the Fellows' Garden. Built before 1886. Demolished c.1972
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, Yorkshire
2 courts. Open air. Rough walls. Demolished in the 1980s?
Queen's Club, Baron's Court, London
2? courts. Covered court built in 1927.
Bombed in World War II
Queen's School, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
2 courts - non-standard. Built in 1890 and demolished in the 1980s.
Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel
1 court. Built in 1899.
Rugby School, Rugby
2 or 3 courts built in the 1880s but the game never became popular. Demolished in ?
Sir William Borlase School, Marlow, Bucks
1 court formerly open air with ledges and no buttress.
Converted into "store" in 1999.
St Aiden's College
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980's?
St.Andrew's Preparatory School, Eastbourne, Sussex
2 courts. Demolished in 1980's? Martin Lindsay (EFA Member) reports November 2007 - there were two courts at St Andrews, one Eton and one Rugby (I recollect playing doubles on the rugby court). Both were covered/roofed and were located outside the hall where the school assembled and next to the fairly broad asphalted playground which in turn was next to the northern entrance to the school (not the main driveway). On occasions they were used as exhibition halls for the boys' artworks but in my time they were fully functioning.
Photos acquired from the school archivist via Andy Pringle April 2018
St.Catharine's College, Cambridge
1 court. Built c1870 and demolished in 1930.
St.Dunstan's College, Catford, London
1 court. On the far left of the picture next to 3 Rugby Fives courts (which are still there). The Eton court was apparently used by the Masters while the Rugby courts were used by the pupils. The Eton court was demolished and built over many years ago.
St John's College, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex
1 court - non-standard open air court. Demolished in the 1980s?
St John's School, Leatherhead, Surrey
2 courts. Open air with no step and no side wall behind the buttresses.
Rugby Fives 'Grill' on front wall. Demolished in ? 4 courts remain.
St.Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, Kent
1 court. Demolished in ?
St.Olave's School, Tower Bridge London
4 courts. 2 Open air. Demolished in late 70s.
St.Paul's School, West Kensington, London
3 courts. Open air. Built 1884 Converted to Rugby Fives in 1891.
St.Peter's Preparatory School, Seaford, Sussex
2? courts. Demolished in 1983.
St.Wilfred's Preparatory School, Seaford, Sussex
1 court glass-roofed. Demolished in 1983
Selwyn College, Cambridge
1 court. Now part of groundsman's shed.
Shooter's Hill Grammar School, SE London
2? courts. Demolished in the 1970s?
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
1 court. Built in 1866. Knocked down in 1922 to allow for the widening of Jesus Lane.
Stoke House Preparatory School, Seaford, Sussex
2 courts. Courts lost in 1965 when Stoke House and Brunswick School (each of which is more than a century old) amalgamated in 1965 into their present 'spacious' premises, the oldest part of which is the west wing which was originally John of Gaunt's hunting lodge in Ashdown Forest.
Stonehouse Preparatory School, Broadstairs, Kent
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980's?
Stoneygate Preparatory School, Leicester, Leicestershire
2 courts converted to classrooms prior to move of the School
email from Rob Davis 2nd September 2001:
"I used to play Fives whilst at Stoneygate in the mid 1960s and there were 2 courts then, as you stand with your back to the school looking out over the rear playground, the courts were on the left at the rear of the locker rooms.
Being a fan of the famous air ace Douglas Bader, I always played without a glove.
The courts were also used for the annual firework display, and for ad-hoc cricket, where the high walls made interesting catches possible, the rule being, "one hand one bounce" i.e. the batsman was considered caught out if the ball was caught one-handed by a fielder, as long as it had bounced only once off wall or floor!
I revisited the School about 8 years ago but I don't remember if the fives courts were still there."
Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe
2 courts. Picture taken in 2018.
Summer Fields School, Oxford
3 courts. Knocked down and eventually replaced by two new indoor courts in 1995.
Thomas Alleyne Grammar School, Stevenage
Report received from Melvyn Jenkins-Welch - "There are three `fives' courts under the technology block at The Thomas Alleyne School Stevenage Herts. They are at least 75 years old as the building dates from the Edwardian period. The courts were built at the same time as the classroom above and were in use until the 1960s. I remember them being at least 2 storeys high. They are probably Eton fives courts. They look like filled in tunnels and were being used as Staff parking spaces. Note: In August 2007 Melvyn reported that there are plans to close the school and demolish all the buildings except the 16th Century schoolmasters house
Thomas Alleyne Grammar School, Uttoxeter
1 court, pictured in 1989
Trent Park College, Cockfosters London
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980's?
2 courts. Built in 1935 and named the Turner courts after a former Headmaster. The school previously had non standard courts. Date knocked down is unknown.
Wallsworth Hall , Twigworth, Gloucestershire
1 court. Probably built by the de Winter family, owners of the Hall 1803-1903. The estate was broken up in 1903 and the court demolished in the 1970s when the building that housed them was converted into houses.
Warden House School, Upper Deal, Kent
Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire
3 courts - demolished 2005 and replaced by a cafe (see photo, taken in 2019). Earlier courts have long gone.
West Buckland School, Devon
? courts - non-standard. Demolished in the 1980's?
Westminster City of London School, Central London
2 courts. Open air. Buttresses too close to front wall, lower courts tarmac'ed. Demolished in 1982.
"Prior to demolition, the two courts were covered. It was of course only when these covers were removed that the courts were identifiable as Eton fives courts. But again, they may not always have been covered. As I had no direct access, it was difficult for me to assess whether the buttresses were too close to the front wall. I am quite sure that before demolition the courts were not used by the students, as I would never see anyone enter them, even during break time - they were most likely simply used for storage. When the courts were revealed, they bore all the marks of a fives court - the step, the buttress, the front ledge, angled tops to the side walls, and the (perhaps 2-3 inches wide) blackguard line. Suffice it to say that at the very least from June 2000 when I moved into the office which overlooked the playground, there was definitely no fives played there.
You suggest that the site ceased to be a school from 1982. I do not know. But everything suggests that the school has used its current site for some time. The Victorian building has the feel of a school, and I cannot imagine it having been anything else (eg hospital, private house). As I mentioned, on the developers site map, the courts were described as squash courts. I am wholly convinced this was through ignorance of their real purpose. The site manager clearly thought I was odd when I tried to describe the game of fives.
Mystery solved or is it? Further e-mail received from Terry Forrester: "I started at Westminster City School in 1956 and there where then only two courts much as described but also with rough rather than smooth walls. So far as I am aware there were only ever the two courts. My father, who also went to the school, only ever mentioned two courts. The courts were demolished in or around 1982 and in their place squash courts were built mainly for out of school hours use by Shell employees. One of their main offices was only yards away in Victoria Street SW1."
John K Mitchell reports "I attended Westminster City School from 1968 to 1975 and can say that during this period we had two open air fives courts (at least we called them fives courts). These had the buttresses, angled tops etc
It was sad to see that they are not longer there (but not surprising) as I have happy memories of playing - I guess a version of - fives in the courts during my time at the school."
1 open air court in Little Dean's Yard. DAte of construction and demolition unknown.
Woodbridge School, Woodbridge, Suffolk
3 courts. Probably demolished in the early 60s. David Mitchell (Old Boy) writes in November 2007: "To my knowledge there were never any competitive games played while I was there between 1954-1959. They were in a dilapidated condition and were mostly used to practice tennis strokes."
Woodhouse Grove School, Bradford, Yorkshire
1 court. Now houses an oil tank (May 2002)
Strathallan School, Perthshire
2 courts plus a third non-standard court. Extant in 1938.
Cowbridge School, Cowbridge, South Glamorgan
1 court. The court site is contained within the curtilage of the Old Grammar School which has not been in use for well over a decade. The last use of the area was for skateboarding, in the period when the premises were used as a youth club. The site has recently been sold for development and is now in private ownership.
Information provided by Chris Little May 2002
Haverfordwest Grammar School, Pembrokeshire, Wales
There was just the one court. It, and the lovely old stone building, were victim to 60s planners who flattened it in about 1966. (Information supplied by John Morgan April 2009).
Hawarden Castle, Hawarden, Clwyd Wales (Home to Sir William Gladstone, Bt)
1 court was still standing in the 1990s but used as a compost heap.
Llandovery College, Lampeter
1 court. There is a fives court at Llandovery. At present it is used as a music teaching room, offices and practice rooms. It is located on what is know as the College Ball Courts. I gather it was used for the Eton game.
Peter A Hogan, Warden (Information provided by Chris Little May 2002).
Lewis Boys Comprehensive, Pengam, South Wales
1 court. A fives court was built in the 19 century when the school had pretensions to become the "Eton of South Wales". (Lloyd George called it the Eton of Wales whilst others have preferred a comparison with Winchester.) We believe it to have been an Eton court. The court no longer exists but an open-air handball court still survives in the local ex-colliery village of Nelson (the home village of the Falklands veteran Simon Weston) and some of our pupils represent Wales at handball from time to time. Pupils here also play (informally) "handball" against walls in the school, something I haven't seen in other schools I've worked in.
Chris Howard, Headteacher (Information provided by Chris Little May 2002)
St David's College
1 court. The fives court you describe was in use until the late eighties from then it was used for general storage until it was sold to an electrical retailer in the nineties who continues to occupy the building. As to either the Eton or Rugby game it was Eton fives.
Tony Rollason, Estates Manager (Information provided by Chris Little May 2002)
Alpine College, Bex, Switzerland
British Embassy, Lisbon
College of St. Columba, Dublin, Ireland
2 Courts Buttresses removed. One unplayable. Built 1850 they are believed to be the oldest existing purpose built courts in the world and the only ones in Ireland.
Hotel Monchstein, Saltzburg, Austria
1 Court Formerly in the grounds of the hotel but part of the grounds (including the court) was sold off and a private house built on the site. Used as a wood store in 1984.
Institut Montana, Near Zurich, Switzerland
2 courts. Still there in the early 2000s but not found in a visit to the school in 2019 by John Reynolds
? Prep School Brussels Belgium
2 courts. Believed demolished in 2000
Quinta do Zimbro, near Tua in the Duoro, Portugal
1 court. Built in the 1890s by George Warre, brother of Eton Headmaster Edmond Warre (1884-1905).
Rheinberg Turn-und Sportverein Club, Rheinberg, Germany
1 Court The Rheinberg court is in the public sports ground presented by the Underberg Schnapps family to the town.
Schloss Wellenburg, Augsburg, Germany (Home of Prince and Princess Fugger-Babenhausen and family)
1 court. Converted into a squash court in 1980.
Tipperary Barracks, Ireland
1 court circa 1874. Rugby or Eton Code not known.
"In addition to the facilities associated with the military functions of Tipperary Barracks, sporting and recreational facilities provided for the soldiers and their families included a fives court, a skittle alley, a sports green tennis court and a fully equipped gymnasium." (Extract from the Tipperary Barracks website).
Zug, Zurich, Switzerland
2 courts. (formerly 4)
Zuoz-Rhineland Club, Hansa Allee, Dusseldorf, Germany
2 courts built at Richard Dorrenberg's factory in 1982. The courts were demolished when the company went into liquidation in 1985.
Government Arts College, Kumbakonam, Madras, India
1 court playable in the 1940s
Kodaikanal School , Kodaikanal, India
Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara, Gujurat, India
1 court (maybe 2) built 1890?
The English School, Colombo, Sri Lanka
1 court. Made way for classrooms in the 1970s
Penang Free School, Malaysia
Vadjiravudh College , Bangkok, Thailand (brother school to Malay College, Malaysia)
2 courts (?)
Old Zuoz, Buenos Aires, Argentina
1 Court. Demolished in the 1990s?