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The history of Wimbledon Tennis: where it all began | Britain Magazine

By Josephine Price, July 2, 2022

Fred Perry in action at Wimbledon in 1936. Credit: PA Pics

We look back at the history of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, which bring this corner of southwest London to a standstill each year.

The first Wimbledon Championships were held on 9 June 1877 and were advertised as a ‘lawn tennis meeting, open to all amateurs’ and played at Worple Road in Wimbledon, not far from the current home of Wimbledon Tennis.

Wimbledon Tennis: no women allowed

Women were not allowed to play in this initial meeting, but 22 men turned up and paid the £1 1 shilling fee to take part. A modest crowd of 200 people watched the first matches that were played with wooden rackets and hand-sewn flannel balls.

It wasn’t until 1884 that the All England Club agreed to open the Championships up to both sexes and Lottie Dodd, from Cheshire, made her mark on Wimbledon a few years later as the (still unbeaten) youngest woman to win the title at the age of 15. She went on to win the Championships over the next four years, proving that women deserved a place in the game.

Source: The history of Wimbledon Tennis: where it all began