All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Learn more about All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is based at Wimbledon in the London Borough of Merton, at grid reference TQ242721. It is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships, but is also a private members club. It was founded in 1868 as the All England Croquet Club and the then infant sport of tennis was added to its activities shortly afterwards. The first Championships were held in 1877, when it changed its name to The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. In 1882, croquet was dropped from the name, as tennis had become the main activity of the club. But in 1889, it was restored and the club's name became The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Initially a fun amateur event that occupied club members and their friends for a few days in each summer, the championships have now become far more prominent than the club itself. However, it still operates as a members tennis club, with many courts in use all year round. There are around 375 full members, 100 temporary playing members, and a number of honorary members, including past Wimbledon singles champions. The club also houses the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, and it still has a croquet lawn, but it is too small for top level competitions.
The club currently boasts a total of nineteen tennis courts (excluding practice courts), including the historic Centre Court which usually hosts the finals of the main singles and doubles events at the championships. It currently seats almost 14,000 people but will be expanded slightly to around 15,000 as part of planned redevelopments (spatially the expansion is greater than those numbers imply, as seats will also be widened). The club is intending to install a retractable roof on the court by 2009. It will be a "folding concertina" made of a translucent fabric and should be able to open/close within ten minutes. Redevelopment work commenced in 2006.
The club will be the venue for the tennis competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics.