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June 25, 2011

History of The Queue at Wimbledon

Wimbledon courts

There is nothing else like it in professional tennis… “The Queue” at Wimbledon that is… and now the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum has a special exhibition which traces the history of “The Queue”!  The exhibition aims to not only explain the history of this well-known

 Wimbledon tradition, but also “replicate” the experience for tennis fans… not that everyone wants to (re)live it despite the possibility of Centre Court tickets at the end of the long wait!

This special exhibition not only details the history of ”The Queue”, but also showcases the creative variety of paraphernalia sported by those in “The Queue” from bizarre decorated hats to signs and then some!  It may surprise many people to learn that “The Queue” has existed for more than one hundred years.  Originally, crowds gathered on Worple Road, but in 1922 they moved to Church Road.  There have also been thousands waiting over the years, e.g. more than 22,00 back in 1927!  Today, the Wimbledon Honorary Stewards, decked out in blazers, maintain “order” amidst the masses gathered in the hopes of obtaining Centre Court tickets.

The experience of waiting and for many, sleeping overnight in “The Queue” is more a once in a lifetime experience, but for some it’s an annual tradition.  Those die-hard Queue and/or tennis fans who return year after to wait in “The Queue” for the highly-coveted Centre Court tickets make the outing a positive and festive experience and they come prepared with all the comforts and food necessary to make the stay pleasant.  It may not be quite the same as a traditional English garden party, but if the rains stay away, “The Queue” can be quite the English summer treat!

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