Anyone for sticke tennis? Country house that has one of only three courts in the world for oddball racquet sport is on sale for £8million
- Hartham Park in Wiltshire features a 38,000 sq ft Georgian Grade II listed house
- Stické is an indoor racquet sport which was developed during the British Empire
A country house that is home to one of only three stické tennis courts left in the world has gone on the market for £8 million.
Hartham Park, near Corsham in Wiltshire, has hosted guests including Winston Churchill and Prince Arthur, Queen Victoria’s son.
Its former owner, the politician Baron Islington, commissioned the stické court to be built in 1904.
Stické is an indoor racquet sport developed from about 1875 that merged tennis, racquets and lawn tennis.
It was a popular recreation at country houses and as many as 50 courts were built throughout the British Empire.
Stické is an indoor racquet sport developed from about 1875 that merged tennis, racquets and lawn tennis was a popular recreation at country houses throughout the British Empire
A grand staircase features in the property, which has hosted guests including Winston Churchill and Prince Arthur, Queen Victoria’s son
A regal lounge features an ornate 18th century fireplace, paintings of Britian’s agricultural heritage and ticonic columns
In more recent history, the jaw-dropping property has been used to house commercial offices
A room features a small wooden table set beside tall windows letting in light and boasting superb views of the estate’s formal gardens
The estate totals just under 50 acres with parkland, grassland and formal gardens designed by Harold Peto
Politician Baron Islington, commissioned the stické court (pictured) to be built in 1904
But it’s popularity waned after the First World War and now there are just three courts that have survived – this one, another at Knightshayes in Devon and a third in India.
Hartham Park was also an RAF billet during the Second World War and has been used as offices since the 1960s.
It currently houses around 35 businesses which bring in an income of about £90,000 a month.
But the new owners could revert it being a private estate or turn it into a landmark country hotel or even retirement flats.
It has kept many of the grand architectural features from when it was a private residence, with ionic columns, an 18th century fireplace, grand staircase and stained glass windows.
What is stické tennis?
Stické tennis is an indoor version of a convention tennis game, created in the 1870’s by the Royal Regiment of Artillery, with the first court built using artillery targets.
While the same rules apply with the scoring system of lawn, the court is smaller and is played in a box, with the addition of back and side walls being part of the game.
The ball used is also different, with a low pressure, giving it a slightly deflated effect.
There are so no baseline used, which means the ball can never be ‘out’, which results in matches continuing for hours.
The sport is not for the meek, as it has been known to result in blood on the walls because of the numerous surfaces the ball can bounce off of, as well as a penthouse’ ridge resulting in an asymmetric court.
Over 50 courts built throughout the British Empire with the intention of keeping soldiers fit.
It has more than 67,000 sq ft of accommodation across several buildings including the main Georgian Grade II Listed house of 38,000 sq ft as well as a coach house and stables, a former farmhouse, the Gun Room, Garden Cottage and the estate yard with a range of stores, workshops and garages.
The estate totals just under 50 acres with parkland, grassland and formal gardens designed by Harold Peto.
The property is being jointly marketed by Strutt & Parker and Christie & Co.
Oliver Custance Baker, head of Strutt & Parker’s country house department, said: ‘Hartham Park is a country house that’s taken on many guises since its Georgian inception.
‘From a private family estate and hosting Sir Winston Churchill, to becoming an RAF billet during the Second World War, and in more recent history being used to house commercial offices, it’s certainly adaptable.
‘The sale of the house presents the start of a new chapter in Hartham Park’s history, whether that be as a private estate, a country house hotel, used by the education sector, or for the provision of senior living.
‘With over 67,000 square feet of space to develop, the buyer will have grand ambitions and imagination – which this house, of such significance and size, surely deserves.’
Ed Bellfield, director at Christie & Co, added: ‘We are excited to offer Hartham Park for sale as it is rare that a property of this magnitude comes to the open market.
‘The opportunities this property provides and its location, will offer a buyer potential for a variety of alternative uses, subject to obtaining planning permission.
‘The added attraction of acquiring one of only three playable ‘Stické’ tennis courts in existence will no doubt generate interest.’
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