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3rd December 2008

Following a visit to our club by Oliver Rogers, a BBC Essex Reporter, and Tim Blake (Ted Blake's son - see our history page for more about him and Brentwood's trampoline history), the following article appeared on the BBC website to accompany a broadcast report during the station's Breakfast Show on 3rd December, the original article is on the BBC Essex website and repeated here:

The birthplace of bounce!

Brentwood has three trampolining clubs and they're getting together to build a new complex just for the sport.  But this is not the first piece of trampolining history being made in the town.

The sport of trampolining has become very popular in Brentwood. The town has three clubs - Brentwood Trampoline Club, Recoil Twisters and Levitation. The biggest club boasts over 300 members.

Tim Blake looks at a historic trampoline
Tricia Johnston from the Recoil Twisters club says: "It gives you a feeling of exhilaration. It's a sport that anyone can achieve in, whether it's just jumping on your back, side or front, to being fortunate enough to be able to jump on your feet.

"It's fantastic for people with disabilities because they can achieve just the same as anybody else and they'll smile. It will make them laugh!"

Brentwood has plenty of heritage associated with the sport. Ted Blake set up the first trampoline factory in Europe in Hainault, it would later move to the town in 1966 and started mass production of trampolines.

All three clubs are supporting a plan first drawn up over 10 years ago. Brentwood Borough Council and Essex County Council have pledge £250,000 and land next to the Brentwood Centre to build a new trampoline complex.   Tricia says it's important to have a dedicated centre in the town to help develop potential London 2012 competitors.

Staff at the Nissen factory

Scott Gregory is one of those youngsters hoping to make the Olympics and he travels from Chingford to practice: "I wanna be in 2012. There should be a good chance if I keep up the training."

Dave Kingaby from the Brentwood Trampoline Club says the factory in Brentwood was on the Hutton industrial estate on Wash Road.

Ted's son, Tim Blake, worked for Nissen, the company who operated the factory. He says: "Trampolines were made in batches and we would probably produce around 70 - 80 trampolines a week."

Dave Kingaby showed Tim an original Nissen trampoline made in Brentwood - the club still use it! (Webmaster note:  actually we don't - it would be difficult to do so without a bed on the frame.  The actual model is a Dinamic.)

Tim says: "It takes me back I used to be Nissen's crash test dummy! They used to lift me up and drop me in the air and see what broke. Invariably it was me!"

The county of Essex still has a number of close associations with trampoline production, with Ceetex based in Burnham-on-Crouch and Universal Services at Tolleshunt Major near Maldon.

See Also


© BBC Essex