Tennis and tea in Hampshire, England

Since the U.S. Open tennis championship is ending this weekend, here’s a CDV from the relatively early days of the sport.  The family isn’t identified, but the photo was taken by Samuel Whitbread of Havant, Hampshire.

Tennis family by Whitbread 2

By Samuel Whitbread, Havant, Hampshire 3

18 thoughts on “Tennis and tea in Hampshire, England

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    1. That’s a terrific blog that I hadn’t seen, and I love the photo of the maids with the tools of their trade. About the racquets, you may well be right. I’ll have to look for examples of early tennis racquets. What do you think about the log bench? Were those popular at a particular time? Thank you for the comment and the link!


      1. At a guess, I’d say the log bench is probably bent willow (or another type of wood whose limbs can be manipulated easily) and these have always been popular in England in certain parts of the country (rural areas) so dating it from that might be difficult. Also, in the olden days they were usually made by local people. It’s possible if there is a certain style attributed to a local craftsperson, that it could be found.

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    2. I’ve looked at some early examples of racquets. The teardrop shape was characteristic of lawn tennis racquets, and handles were relatively long. In badminton the head was a different shape and slightly smaller in proportion to the handle. That said, there seems to have been quite a lot of variation, so it’s hard to say for certain.

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      1. Yes, I hope so too. We shall see what happens to Rootsweb. If they don’t ever return I’ll have to find a way to reload them all, but it’s a huge task, so I’m putting it off while I still think there’s a chance.

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      2. I will do more blogging eventually, although I must admit that other projects have taken priority in the last two or three years. In particular, I wrote and self-published a book about my Camino experience in 2013, and photography also takes upo a substantial amount of my free time. However, I still do a lot of photohistorical research, I just haven’t found the time to blog about it – I should!

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  1. I don’t know very much about the history of tennis. Do you think this is a commemorative photograph taken very much off the court? Or would they rally have played wearing This Much clothing?! I’m not a terribly good player but I’m afraid I’d never manage at all if I had all of these skirts and long sleeves to contend with. Your old photographs are such a wonderful glimpse into another way and time. 😊

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