Petts Wood: The making of a 1920s garden suburb

by Peter Waymark

Sport and Recreation

A recreation ground, in a triangle of land between three residential roads, was provided for in the original estate plan. By 1930 a tennis club was playing on two courts and it was decided to make full use of the rest of the six-acre site. A club house was opened and by 1937 the Petts Wood sports club had 600 members, running tennis, cricket, bowls, hockey, table-tennis and badminton sections.

The early years of Petts Wood saw the formation of many other clubs and societies. The Dramatic and Operatic Society was so successful that it soon split in two, one for plays and the other for opera. Although eventually forced to move out of the area to find a suitable venue for its productions, the Operatic Society was still flourishing into the 21st century.

A residents' association was formed in Petts Wood as early as 1929. One of its main campaigns was to get the road surfaces, which easily turned to mud and puddles, made up. An early, and impressive, example of Petts Wood community enterprise was a Gala Day of special events in May 1937, culminating in a fireworks display and dancing into the small hours, to mark the Coronation of King George VI.