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Wimbledon in 13 Objects

Rufus hat and security pass
by Sarah Edworthy
Sunday 6 July 2014

Inspired by the British Museum’s iconic series on the ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’, Honor Godfrey MBE – who retires this year as the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s museum curator – has nominated her 13 Objects (one per day of play) that define The Championships.

We’ve run one each day, but in case you’ve missed them please check the gallery for a series of fascinating snapshots into the story of how the tournament that started in 1877 grew into the most famous tennis tournament in the world.

Each of Honor’s chosen objects tells a story. Her selection comprises an early trophy and advertising poster, a decorative art object, evolutionary items of equipment, iconic clothing, fan tributes, injury prevention kit and quirky items such as the raptor hood, made in club colours, that Rufus the Hawk wears on his bird-scaring duties. The gallery is arranged chronologically so that collectively it truly encapsulates key cameo episodes from the Wimbledon Story.

Did you know that the Club had to buy three trophies before the current Challenge Cup because one player won so often he was entitled to take the previous two home?

Or that smoke from the steam railway regularly stopped play?

Or that Russian ballet influenced Suzanne Lenglen?

Or that ladies' players, defying five kilos of heavy petticoats, wore a deep-pocketed apron to save them from having to bend over?  

Or that the Wimbledon Museum is keen to know what symbolises the Championships for you?


No. 1 – The Field Cup (1877 – 1883)

No. 2 – Letterpress Poster for the Wimbledon Championships 1893

No. 3 – Art Deco figure of woman player in action, 1920s

No. 4 – Billie Jean King’s Wilson T2000 steel racket

No. 5 – Box of Slazenger Tennis Balls 1922

No. 6 – Tennis Apron 1880s

No. 7 – Bjorn Borg’s shirt 1980

No. 8 – Roger Federer’s Shoes 2012

No. 9 – Bethanie Mattek-Sands’s football socks

No. 10 – Home-made banner for Andy Murray 

No. 11 – Rufus the Hawk’s Hood and Championships Pass

No. 12 – Andy Murray’s ankle braces

No. 13 – Queue Card Day 9

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