Our Heritage: History of British Deaf Tennis

Volunteers researched and recorded the longstanding history of deaf tennis in the UK, and brought it to life for a wider audience.

A team of eight, mainly deaf volunteers explored British Deaf Tennis since 1915. They documented the role of deaf tennis clubs, championships, and the careers of prominent players. Immersing themselves in the archives, they unearthed tournament records and memorabilia, as well as collecting short oral testimonies from over 100 people.

The Tennis Foundation and the British Deaf Tennis Association (BDTA) worked in partnership with Bryan Whalley to develop the project. Mr Whalley, a two-time National Deaf Tennis Men’s Singles champion, had been involved in deaf tennis for over 30 years. He wanted the current generation of deaf sportsmen and women to understand their sporting heritage, and create greater awareness amongst the general public.

The volunteers, recruited through BDTA, shared their findings through a DVD, an educational resource for schools and a small travelling exhibition seen by 10,000 people. The free learning resources, available in different formats, were accessible to deaf schools, hearing impaired units and other organisations. The materials acquired have been incorporated into the collections of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.

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