(and larger here-43K)
shows the outside of the Royal Tennis Court and Hampton Court Palace.
Tennis was played on this site by Henry VIII from 1528.
As a young, handsome, athletic man Henry was passionately addicted to sport, and particularly to tennis.
Legend has it that he heard of the execution of Queen Anne Boleyn as he played tennis at Hampton Court Palace.
During the 17th century various improvements were made to the court.
One of the first acts of Charles II after his restoration in 1660 was to order the extensive refitting of the Tudor Tennis Court.
This included the
laying of a new tile floor, the remodelling of the galleries and repairs to
the roof. At the same time, new nets, curtains and velvet cushions for the
spectator's seats were provided. The interlaced initials above the net on the
wall opposite the corridors (reproduced above right) are however not those of Charles but of William
and Mary (1689-1702). Since the end of the 17th century the court has
undergone little alteration. However progress is not incompatible with
history: in 1975 sodium halide lighting was installed making the court the
best lit in Great Britain and possibly anywhere.
The court is the oldest tennis court in use in the world; and the only one in
Great Britain which the public are admitted (April-October) to see and, if
play is in progress, to watch tennis being played.
History of Tennis
| Hampton Court Palace
| Club Rooms