Wimbledon, London

From Academic Kids

County:Greater London
Region:Greater London
Ceremonial County:Greater London
Traditional County:Surrey
Post Office and Telephone
Post town:LONDON
Postcode:SW19, SW20
Dialling Code:020

Wimbledon, best known for much of the 20th century as the home of the Wimbledon tennis championships, is a town in south-west London. It began life as a village at the edge of Wimbledon Common, and is referred to as Wimbedounyng in a charter signed by King Edgar in 967 AD.

Nine centuries later, the opening of the main railway line to the southwest of London in 1838 brought a station to the bottom of the hill that leads up to the village. Most of the town's subsequent rapid growth was focussed around the station rather than the area near the original High Street at the top of the hill, which is still referred to locally as "the village".

But tennis was not the the first sport to bring Wimbledon national fame. The National Rifle Association's first competitions took place in 1860 on Wimbledon Common and were opened by Queen Victoria firing the first shot. In 1878 the competitions, now lasting two weeks, had grown to nearly 2,500 competitors. But by the 1880s the power of rifles had advanced to an extent that shooting in an increasingly densely populated area was no longer considered safe and the last meeting was held in 1889 before the NRA moved to Bisley.

Meanwhile, in the 1870s, at the bottom of the hill next to the railway line, the All-England Croquet Club had begun to hold its annual championships. But croquet was beginning to become less popular and after initially setting aside just one of its lawns for the new sport of lawn tennis, it decided to hold its first Lawn Tennis Championship in July 1877. Increasing popularity for tennis meant that the small grounds could not cope with the numbers of spectators and in 1922 the renamed All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club moved to new grounds near the village. Wimbledon historian Richard Milward recounts how King George V opened the new courts. "He gave three blows on a gong, the tarpaulins were removed, the first match started - and the rain came down..."

The club's old grounds continue to be used as the sports ground for Wimbledon High School.

Wimbledon has also been well known for another brief period of sporting fame. Wimbledon Football Club won the FA Cup in May 1988 prompting great celebrations in the streets of the town as the team appeared on the balcony of the Town Hall. But by 2000 the team was demoted from the top division of English football after just 14 years competing amongst the country's top teams.

Wimbledon had played their home games outside Wimbledon after the closure of their Plough Lane ground in 1991, and, as a final indignity for the club's fans, in September 2003 the club moved to Milton Keynes, about 70 miles north. As soon as The Football Association approved this move in May 2002, former Wimbledon FC supporters founded the semi-professional AFC Wimbledon, and support in Wimbledon overwhelmingly shifted to AFCW, who starting with their second season earned successive promotions to the First and Premier Divisions of the Isthmian League. As of May 2005 AFC Wimbledon completed the league and cup double for the second consecutive season.

In the world of literature, Wimbledon provides the principal setting for several comic novels by author Nigel Williams (including the best-selling The Wimbledon Poisoner) as well as for Elizabeth Beresford's series of children's stories about the Wombles.

John Major, British prime minister from 1990 to 1997, attended Rutlish Grammar School in Wimbledon from 1954 to 1959.

The crest of Wimbledon is the double-headed eagle, which is the reputed symbol of Julius Caesar, whose association, more or less mythical, with Wimbledon is indicated by 'Caesar's Camp' and 'Caesar's Well', which can be found on the Common. In 1965, a reorganisation of local government made the Borough of Wimbledon part of the London Borough of Merton.

Wimbledon also is regarded as one of the most sought after and expensive residential locations of london.

Famous residents past and present

Nearest places

Nearest tube stations:

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External links

no:Wimbledon, London


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