The History of Roehampton Club
Roehampton Club is steeped in history and prestige. It
originated as an officers' polo club created by three brothers,
Edward, George and Charles Miller.
At the turn of the 19th century there was a
tremendous strain on London's polo clubs, and many, including
Wimbledon were considered to be too far from the capital. The
brothers were determined to have a polo club somewhere more
accessible than central London as the sport had become so popular.
So in 1901 Charles was sent to find a suitable ground that would
still be close to the city.
Then with Lord Shrewsbury as its Chairman and the Duke of Teck
as President, the Club was formed on April 1st, 1902. The original
facilities included three polo grounds, a racecourse, showground,
an area where women could practise driving, tilting and jumping,
and stabling for members' horses.
From its early days, croquet was extremely popular at the Club,
and from 1904, Roehampton played home to The Open Championship;
1904 also saw the opening of a nine-hole golf course that was later
expanded to 18. Sadly, 1950 spelled the end for polo at the Club,
where its focus switched to other sports, for which it is now
By 1913 the Club had 1,560 members and its popularity had been
given a boost due to the golf course being extended to the full 18
holes. It had a thriving social scene right up until the 1st World
War. This was largely fostered by Charles' wife Grace, who was
extremely elegant and a superb organiser who came to play an
important role as the Club's social scene manager. She was even
known to run an eye over other Members as they entered, to make
sure they were properly dressed!
Throughout its rich history Roehampton Club has been at the
heart of London society. Influential clientele including Lord Hugh
Salisbury, Admiral of the Fleet (later Earl) Beatty, and Winston
Churchill were all prominent polo playing members. The royal and
aristocratic connections of the Club were strengthened by the Duke
and Duchess of Kent and the Aga Khan who were all made Honorary
members for life in 1935, followed by the Duchess of Gloucester,
and King Edward VIII granting his patronage in June 1936.
One of the BBC's earliest outside broadcasts was carried out
from the Club over three days in July 1938, featuring a variety of
sporting events including tennis, archery, diving, riding, polo,
croquet and golf.
Roehampton Club's unique sporting heritage has carried on
through the 1950's to the present day. Tennis legends Angela
Mortimer, Christine Truman, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong all
won Open Hard Court titles here and Andy Murray started winning
grass court titles from the age of fifteen in our Club Med
Hosting four Croquet World Cups and having Nigel Aspinall and
Reg Bamford, World Champions past and present, as members has
firmly placed the Club as one of the top international croquet
venues in the world.
Encouraging young sporting talent is one of the Club's
priorities. Member Samantha Fuller (17) was Roehampton Club Ladies
Golf Champion and European Age Group Champion at the age of
13, is now a Member of the England Girls Squad and represented
England in the French U21 Champs. Younger sister Annabell (13) who
is also a Club Member is a member of England Golf's U16
regional south squad and earlier this year scored success with a
10-shot win in the 12-13 year-old girls' championship in the Junior
Honda Classic in the US.
To view old photographs of the Club please click here