The Royal Pavilion has played many roles in its lifetime, from pleasure palace to military hospital. We have recently uncovered evidence of another surprising use for the estate. As this postcard of the eastern lawns shows, the Pavilion has also functioned as a sports venue.
As today, the grounds have often been used for hosting popular events and entertainments. Bandstands, such as the one depicted here, were regularly used on both the western and eastern lawns. But this image of tennis courts laid out on the lawns is unique in our collections.
We’ve not yet been able to date the image, but postcards of this type were common in the years around 1910. Unusually, the lawn has been divided into two, and seems to suggest that the southern section was used for people to relax and enjoy music, while the northern area was reserved for sporting activity.
Although we introduced ice skating to the eastern lawns last winter, tennis is one sport that is unlikely to return here. The Pavilion’s windows are a little too close for a mistimed smash…
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