Royal Stade Leuven T.C.


In December 1898, three Leuven students (1) set up a tennis section under the auspices of the A.A.U.L. (Association Athlétique de l'Université de Louvain). The students in question are Gustave Pelgrims, Paul Walkiers, members of the K. Leopold Club T.C., and in all likelihood H. Vaes.
When a sports field is sought for the university in 1898, it is not only for the purpose of university football but also for tennis For the academic year 1898, the board compri President: H. Vaes
Vice President: de Hemptinne
Secretary: G. Egman (2)
Treasurer: L. Schull
Materials Manager:
Paul Walkiers
Governors: Mertens, de Roeste, del Marmol, G. Verriest.

The Leuven students, including Mr. Pelgrims, rent a piece of land on the Tiense Vest from a Mr. Stroobants.
The Association Athlétique de l'Université de Louvain (A.A.U.L.) is founded: football, athletics and tennis. The 'Tennis Club de Louvain' is established with three tennis courts.
The surface area of the sports grounds is 1 ha 2 a 10 ca.

 

 

  In conclusion, one could say that K.Stade Leuven T.C. came into existence under the impetus of a few leading Leuven Professors and students who attached great importance to sport.

 


 
Leuven University Sports between 1868 and 1910: thesis presented by Vanleeuwe Tom. BA Physical Education.


The tennis courts at Kardinaal mercierlaan have a unique history of their own. The cascade structure immediately catches the eye. See illustration (foto). A brach of the Dijle flows behind the courts. According to J.C. Jungers, this was a branch of the river that began to dry up over the years as the Dijle flowed increasingly along its other bed. This dying riverbed became a stagnant ditch, much to the annoyance of the genteel tennis society. It was then sealed off. The grounds are still in a cascade design. This is thus accounted for by the natural borders.


Anniversary Brochure K. Stade Leuven 1903-1978

In 1928, a cooperative society is fouded by a number of club members as well as outsiders. It receives the name "Stade Louvaniste S.C." (now known as Royal Stade Louvaniste) and has the purpose of managing club funds. It makes use of the playing fields that belong to the cooperative. The student magazine L'Etudiant Sportif appears on 23 March 1899, followed by La Vie Sportive on 15 November 1899, created by G. Pelgrims, P. Walkiers and P. de Borman. LVS is declared the official organ of the Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports Athlétiques (U.B.S.S.A.), of the lawn tennis championships and of the Féderation Athlétique des Universités Belges. (F.A.U.B.)  

H. Vaes and P. Walkiers represent the tennis club at the headquarters of the A.A.U.L. The question is immediately raised as to whether the three tennis courts of crushed brick (good clay courts) should be reserved for the exclusive use of students or if locals should also be given access. They opt for the second proposal (3).

By March 1899, the association already has 99 members. The three courts come under heavy use. Not even wind, rain or snow can dampen the enthusiasm for tennis. A white and blue pavilion is constructed with "a withdrawing room for the ladies and a changing room for the gentlemen"(3). In March 1899, " un limondier intelligent" builds a café on to the pavilion and
limonade and coffee fly of the counter. In only four months, the Leuven Tennis Club is established and organised, 3 unfenced tennis courts have been laid parallel to  the football field (4), there are changing rooms and there is a place for refreshments.
There is even talk of a women's tennis tournament in May 1899 (3) and a fierce battle is anticipated between a Miss de B. d'A. and a Mrs de B(Borman?)

In October 1899, a championship for men is also established at the Leuven Tennis Club, whose grounds are cared for the holidays by the secretary A. Eeman (5). P. Walkiers wins easily. During the holidays, he takes part in the Spa tournament and in the World Championships in Hamburg (5). P. Walkiers even plays in the Belgian Championships first class (6) together with P. de Borman, W. Lemaire, A. Levèvre, R. de Rossius, Cattoir (Tattoir), orgenised by the U.B.S.S.A.

During the same academic year, 1899-1900, the general meeting of the F.A.U.B. of 17 November 1899 decides that in May 1900 there will be a university lawn tennis championship. Paul Walkiers is designated as commissioner for Lawn Tennis;
The registration fee is 3 francs (7). The first University Tennis Championship takes place on 23 May on the Liège L.T.C. grounds. Registration fee is 2 francs (8).
The tennis club is now sailing in smooth waters.

Leuven University Sports between 1868 and 1910: thesis presented by Vanleeuwe Tom, BA Physical Education.


On 12 November 1903,
Stade Louvaniste is established as an unicorporated association, which, according to the statutes, is
"un cercle ayant pour but la pratique du football, Lawn-Tennis etc" (a club for the purpose of playing football, lawn tennis, etc.) The matches take place in a field located in the vicinity of the Tiense Poort.
Among the founding members we note Mr F. Giele, president, and Mr E. Desbarax, secretary.
In 1910, the tennis club possesses 3 concrete courts and after the First Wold war acquires an additional court in "Clay" (crushed brick).

Stade regains momentum in 1920. It relocates to
Kardinaal Mercierlaan in 1923/1924, where it remains to this day.
One should not forget that the former clubhouse
"De zingende molens" was levelled by a bomb on 1 January 1945, and all its carefully-preserved documents were destroyed along with it.
In 1921, Stade Louvaniste is granted the status of a cooperative society.