L'EMBARRAS DES RICHESSES.
Young Robinson (mentally). "O, WOULD I WERE A
THAT I MIGHT FLY TO - ALL!"
Punch, October 10, 1874
THE WASHED-OUT TENNIS-PLAYERS
(A Reminiscence of the Rain).
(Chorus).- "WE'RE ALL THE WAY FROM BELGRAVIAH, AND
WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO
WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO-O-OO! WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO-O-OO!
WE'RE OUT OF PLAY, AND WE'RE WILLING TO PLAY - BUT WE'VE GOT NO PLAY TO DO!"
Punch, September 13, 1879
Eastward from Haymarket, a little north of the theatre, stretches St. James Street, on the south side of which is a building which was till lately occupied by the Royal Tennis Court. Tennis, if we may trust old writers, derives its name from the French Hand-ball or Palm-play and was played in London as far back as the sixteenth century, in covered courts erected for that special purpose. Henry VII. and Henry VIII. were both fond of tennis; the latter added a tennis-court to his palace at Whitehall. James I., we know, recommended tennis to his son as a game well becoming the dignity of a prince. Charles II. was an accomplished master of the game and had a particular dress which he wore when playing it here. Timbs tells us that there was another tennis-court not far off in Windmill Street, belonging to and attached to Piccadilly Hall. He also mentions "one called Gibbons's in Clare Market, where Killigrew's comedians sometimes performed," and others in Holborn, Blackfriars and Southwark, where there were (and probably still are) small thoroughfares still bearing the name of Tennis Courts. The court in James Street, it may be added, was one of the favourite haunts of Charles II. It was closed about the year 1863, and has lately been converted into a storehouse for military clothing.
Old and New London, c.1880