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High Seas not SW19

26 June 2013 by Sarah

Photograph of tennis game on deck of ship Araguaya

A game of deck tennis on board Araguaya, Royal Mail Line, 1924 (MAL reference DX/1201)

Well it’s not quite the green grass of Wimbledon, but a lack of space isn’t going to put off these tennis players.

Actually this is deck tennis on board the Royal Mail Line vessel Araguaya in 1924. The game was played by throwing quoits, rather than with rackets and balls, which presumably had a high probability of being lost overboard. This picture was taken by Miss V. Maughfling on a cruise around the Mediterranean. The Maritime Archives & Library holds a number of her photograph albums which show images of cruising and tourism in the 1920s.

Shipping companies encouraged deck sports to keep their passengers occupied during the long hours at sea.  More images from our collections relating to sport at sea can be seen here.

A Pacific Steam Navigation Company deck sport rule book (reference PSNC/5/7/8) says of deck tennis ‘It will be found that in this game, placing is more important than speed, and a slow curling quoit is more difficult to receive than a fast straight throw’. A top tip for any budding deck tennis stars of the future.

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