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He made his name in tennis, but immortalised it in fashion

One major area of the archive that we’re working on at the moment is tennis. After all, Wimbledon will soon be upon us and British Pathé are one of the only film archives to both own Wimbledon footage AND let the public watch it all for free online. We don’t see the point in being a dragon sat on a pile or reels, and so here you, have all of our Wimbledon videos and enjoy them with some strawberries and cream. To get you in the mood see our 1970s interview with tennis legend Fred Perry.

 Fred Perry speaks in more gentrified and morose tone that I expected. He told British Pathe about himself –

 “I was a strange breed of cat. I was a loner and if I may use such a word on television – I was bloody minded about the whole thing. I had won the Table Tennis Championship in 1929 in Budapest, and never played again. I said to myself ‘right from now on nothing I do will interfere with my tennis’. I played soccer and cricket at school, I was an even worse than bad wicket keeper, the ball was too hard. I started to play tennis, fiddling around in Ealing, and in 1929 I got into Wimbledon.

In the interview Fred Perry talks honestly about rivalry, bitching and the conflicts and injustice between private and state schools at a youth level. It really is an asset and a general strength of film archives, to present the public with interviews and insight into the lives of those who are no longer alive. Nothing beats hearing it from the sportsman’s mouth.

Fred Perry passed away in 1995. Read a bit about his life on his Wikipedia page here, including details of his celebrity relationships which boast a host of glamour actresses including Marlene Dietrich.

Watch 7 archive videos of Fred Perry playing tennis, and videos of Fred Perry winning Wimbledon here.

If you really are in the tennis footage mood then you can find a link to all of our old Wimbledon footage in our blogroll – check the list of links on the right > > >

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