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Memories of Forest Hall 1930 — 1950

The 'Institute' had a Reading Room library and a billiard room with two full-sized tables.

In the 1930s I remember the Springfield Brotherhood, known to us as Springfield Institute.  It was a large, stone-built house surrounded by a six-foot-high stone wall with an iron gate at the entrance.  Inside were lawns, a bowling green and two tennis courts.  The ‘Institute’ had a Reading Room library and a billiard room with two full-sized tables.  Detached from the house, at the rear, was a complex of stone-built stables with a hayloft that later became garages and then commercial storage space for small businesses such as the coal merchant and fruit and vegetable merchants (including space for their horse and cart).

Springfield Park in earlier days (1932) was a football field.  My older brother and I watched a football match from the sidelines.  A player kicked the football, hit my brother’s arm and broke it.  He had to be carried off to the doctor’s surgery!

A limited number of 14-year-old boys were allowed to join ‘the Institute’.  I became one of them.  There were no facilities available on Sundays and in about 1946 the tennis courts and bowling green became available to outsiders to join as club members.  In 1948 Springfield Tennis Club, with only two courts, had limited access to NLTA league matches.  By about 1952 tennis members, boldly and successfully, turned two courts into three, using voluntary labour and limited financial resources.  Sunday play also came about!

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