Clare Bucknell


14 May 2015

In the Dedans

Leamington Tennis Court Club was established in 1846, which makes it the world’s oldest real tennis club: not the oldest real tennis court, which is at Falkland Palace in Fife (built in 1539, open-roofed, unplayable in rain), but the oldest private members’ tennis club. Women were admitted as members in 2008 and there are reminders everywhere of the club’s 160-odd years without them. There’s a large oil painting hanging in the lounge of an exhibition doubles match: every one of the four players and fifty or so spectators is in trousers and has an imposing moustache.