This week the world’s best tennis players continue to battle it out for the Wimbledon trophies. As we begin the second week of Wimbledon, and in honour of the Wimbledon finals this weekend, we have had a look through our records and discovered that tennis was one of the original sports promoted by the ‘Glasgow University Athletics Club’ (GUAC).
According to a piece in the Glasgow Herald of Friday 22nd April 1881, the GUAC was founded at a meeting in the English Literature classroom on Wednesday 20th April that year. The club was approved by the Senate on the 30th April and their constitution reads that:
“ii. The object of the Club is the promotion of all forms of Athletic Exercise.”
The annual subscription to the club at this time was 2s 6d, with further subscriptions for each sport taken and the money collected was used in facilitating the students, and recent graduates of the University, to play sports and get involved in athletics.
Tennis was one of the original sports the GUAC supported and one of the club’s first concerns was the formation of tennis courts. In 1879, before the GUAC, the Senate had granted permission for a group of 12 students and recent graduates to play tennis in the West Quadrangle of the University main building in the evenings. This was later repealed however and the club had to find somewhere else for the sport to be played.
By 1894, the tennis team already had a good reputation and a writer at the time claimed of the GU Tennis team: “Except for Pollokshields they are the best team in the West of Scotland, and it is always a fight between these two for the championship.” (DC71/9/1)
Membership figures steadily rose until they had to place a limit of 80 members in 1911. Their track record was very good also with 8 out of 10 matches won in 1913. In this year the team were promoted from the 3rd division to the 2nd division of the West of Scotland League.
We also found, in our student records, that graduate Arthur Kennedy (MA1912) won a ‘Sporting Blue’ in tennis one hundred years ago.
Today, as in 1912, a ‘Sporting Blue’ is “the highest individual sporting award presented at Glasgow University to the sportsmen and women who have consistently performed in an outstanding manner, excelling at an elite level throughout the previous season.”
Arthur, from Lanarkshire, must have been a very talented tennis player to have been presented with this award during his graduation ceremony on the 18th June 1912 and he no doubt played tennis as a member of the GUAC. He was not only a capable sportsman but also won a number of academic prizes. In his first year he won first class certificates in Logic and Metaphysics, French Language and Literature and German Language and Literature. In his second year he also achieved a first class certificate in Moral Philosophy and was 6th in his class. Arthur was clearly an academic as well as a sportsman.
If you would like to find out more about sport at the University of Glasgow, please arrange to visit us by contacting the Duty Archivist or send us an email.
We hope you all enjoy the second week of Wimbledon fortnight, and are gearing up for the big finals!
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)