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Anyone for tennis?

Published on July 4th, 2017

As the nation once again suffers from a heady case of Wimbledon fever, we turn to the Archive and present to you a special selection of tennis-themed images. The earliest photograph of people playing tennis we found was taken on a Newquay beach in 1887, with the players in many layers of formal clothing. Join us through the decades all the way to 1960s and the iconic All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon.

A small party is enjoying a game of tennis on the rocky beach. Despite the warm weather they are sweltering under their many layers of heavy clothing. After the game they will return to their holiday villa, similar to those we can see on the slopes across the bay.

Photo: Newquay, Tennis On The Sands 1887.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Moffat attracted tourists wishing to sample the delights of the nearby sulphureous-saline wells. It was around this time that tennis became something of an event, with most spa towns organising annual tournaments.

Photo: Moffat, British Tennis Championships 1892.

Frith photographers return to Newquay thirty years later but to the tennis courts this time. Players are dressed in their tennis whites for a game of mixed doubles in the sunshine.

Photo: Newquay, The Tennis Courts 1918.

The Grand opening of Corporation Park was in 1857, and ten tennis courts were laid out the year before this photograph was taken.

Photo: Blackburn, Corporation Park Tennis Courts 1923.

This photograph shows the impressive Centre Court building from the cows' point of view!

Photo: Wimbledon, The Centre Court, The Park 1950.

In the 1950s, tennis etiquette eased a little and allowed its fans to wear shorts as opposed to full-length trousers - still definitely whites though! This group of students play with wooden rackets in front of the incredible buildings of St John's College, Cambridge.

Photo: Cambridge, St John's College Tennis Court c.1955.

A ladies doubles match in progress at Wimbledon in the 1960s.

Photo: Wimbledon, Centre Court c.1960.

The gates of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club as it looked in 1961.

Photo: Wimbledon, Entrance To The Centre Court 1961.

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