Honor Godfrey: Curator of Wimbledon Tennis Museum


Interview,Nick Harris
Thursday 03 October 2013 04:53

Why should visitors to the All England Club come to your museum?
It's a fantastic place to learn all about the history of the game, the Championships and the champions. Our collection, which contains costume, jewellery, art and memorabilia as well as photography and video, is unrivalled. It's so rich in social history. Where else could you find the oldest book on tennis alongside one of Goran Ivanisevic's shirts?

What are the oldest and newest exhibits?
The oldest is the book I just mentioned, Trattato del Giuoco della Palla by Antonio Scanio, published in Venice in 1555. We get new objects all the time, for example we have the actual dress that Serena Williams wore in last year's final and Venus' dress from 2001.

What's your favourite exhibit, one you'd like to take home?
Some of my favourites are from the 1880s and 1890s when tennis was a real craze in Britain and all sorts of things were made with lawn tennis motifs or incorporating crossed rackets. We've got jelly moulds, desk sets, gongs. I'd choose the toast rack with crossed rackets.

Which bit of memorabilia from the modern game would you like?
The racket of the next British champion. And I'd like to still be here when it's donated.

How often do eat strawberries and cream during the Championships?

Which player from history would you like to have seen play?
I would love to have seen Suzanne Lenglen. She was such a star in the 1920s, playing with style, dressing with innovation, so influential in some many ways.

What's the best-selling item in the museum shop?
The tennis ball key-ring. We'll sell 15,000 of them during the fortnight alone.

What's the strangest question you've been asked by a visitor?
There are quite a lot. A few days ago someone asked us when Andre Agassi started shaving his chest. We're still looking for an answer. Andre, perhaps you could pop in and tell us?

Who's going to win this year?
I'm hoping for Tim Henman of course, then maybe I can get my dream racket. Failing that, I'd like to see Roger Federer win. I'd like to see Venus win, too. Her dress is absolutely wonderful, a throwback to corsets.

Isn't the museum a bit quiet outside the Championships?
It's never quiet. We have visitors all year round. Come and visit.

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