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July 2012

Posted on 01/07/2012

Tennis Champions 1894



RHC PH/210/3     

With Wimbledon in full swing and Heather Watson becoming the first British woman to win on centre court since 1985 it seems apt to have an archive item which highlights our sporting past. Sports were an important part of College life at both Royal Holloway and Bedford and they formed a key part of extra curricular activities for the students. Many participated in at least one sports team and it helped build a sense of community in the College, especially for new students who had moved away from home for the first time.

The most striking thing I notice when I look at sports photographs in our collections is the cumbersome clothes the girls wore in the early years of the College. Imagine playing tennis in a full length skirt! As you look through sporting photos from the history of the College you can track the changes in sports kit; with the fabric getting lighter and the skirts getting shorter and more practical throughout the years. Wearing such heavy restrictive clothing obviously hadn’t hampered the skills of the two girls in the centre of the photograph as they were tennis champions of Royal Holloway College in 1894. The rest of the tennis team are seated around them.

If you would like to know more about College Fashions, take a look at our online exhibition: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/archives/exhibitions/fashions/clothesforsports.aspx

Annabel Gill, College Archivist


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