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Wimbledon’s Tennis Postmarks 1939-2013 Part 1.


High on the list of wants sought by collectors of tennis postmarks are those used at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. In 1947 the Post Office began providing a commemorative date stamp promoting the annual championships for use in its mobile temporary office stationed at the Club Ground.

Attention, this article is also available in Polish:
Wimbledon - stemple okolicznościowe 1939-2013, część 1

The primary purpose of the mobile office was to deal with registered mail. In 1958 when a new design of date stamp was introduced, to improve the service at the Ground it was decided that non-registered mail seeking the commemorative date stamp could be postmarked in the main post office in Wimbledon unlike previous years when the commemorative date stamp was only used in the mobile office. This meant that two date stamps were needed. To differentiate which stamp had been used in which office a small slight variation was made in the stamps. Each year it was a lottery which stamp was used in which office. However, because the main office closed on Saturday afternoons and on weekdays before the mobile office closed at the Ground, not all non-registered items could be forwarded the day of posting to the main office and had to be postmarked in the mobile office. This led to some non-registered items being postmarked in the mobile office without a time being shown in the postmark which was normally the case with registered mail. In 1965 the pair of handstamps used from 1958 to 1964 were replaced by similar but smaller handstamps, again with a small variation so they could be separately identified. They remained in use until 1971, the last year that a mobile office was stationed at the Ground. Most collectors are satisfied if they acquire two of each year, one showing a time and one without a time. Each year from 1972 to 2005, apart from 1993, 1997 and 2004, commemorative postmarks were applied at the London Special Handstamp Centre, Mount Pleasant. In 1999 a new “event” date stamp (dies A and B) was used by Post Office Counters Ltd. In its temporary office in Court No. 1 until 2003 which provided another interesting area for study. 2005 was the last year there was a commemorative postmark and dated during tournament. In 2001 Royal Mail had begun to authorise sponsored postmarks but only with a single date. We must wait and see what the future holds but it can hardly provide a more fertile ground for study.


In 1877 the first annual Lawn Tennis Championships were held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. The event has continually increased in popularity and the Club has needed to develop its facilities to meet the ever increasing demands of spectators and the media. One way to meet those needs was to provide a postal and telecommunication service at the Ground. In 1939 the Club agreed with the General Post Office that one of its new mobile temporary post office trailers be stationed at the Ground to provide such services for the duration of the event. This required the office to have a date stamp for use on receipts etc. The circular date stamp read MOBILE POST OFFICE but made no mention of the venue.

Owing to the Second World War The Championships were suspended from 1940 to 1945. In 1946 they were resumed but postal services were not provided until the following year. In 1947 a mobile office was again stationed at the Ground and, for the first time, the date stamp mentioned the All England LTC. The postmark was seen as a way of promoting The Championships. A mobile office was stationed at the Ground each year until 1971.

This mobile postmarks led to many varieties which provide a fascinating field for devotees to study. In later years there were sponsored cancellations marking The Championships through to 2013. This publication seeks to record the history and varieties of Wimbledon’s postmarks before details are lost in the mist of time.

Ron Backhouse

April 2014


A mobile temporary post office trailer was first stationed at Wimbledon in 1993


The minutes of the All England Club record that 1939 was the first year that it was arranged with the General Post Office for it to station a temporary mobile office at the Ground during the Championships. Mobile office number 2 was positioned inside the North East entrance from Church Road. The office used two circular date stamps one reading MOBILE POST OFFICE 2 B and the other MOBILE POST OFFICE 2 C.

A non-registered post card posted at the Ground Thursday, 29 th. June 1939 and date stamped with the mobile stamp C then forwarded the same day to the main office in Wimbledon for onward delivery.

A registered letter postmarked Wednesday, 5 th July 1939 and its certificate of posting receipt handstamped with the mobile’s circular date stamp B reading MOBILE POST OFFICE 2 B

Jesteś tutaj: START | For English readers | Wimbledon’s Tennis Postmarks 1939-2013 Part 1.