To celebrate Wimbledon, Grand Slam Tennis is serialising in audio format the story of Norah Gordon Cleather, the first lady go SW19.
Norah was born at the dawn of the 20th century in London. Her father, Edward Gordon, was a star of the London stage before being appointed professor of singing at The Guildhall School of Music. 
He was also passionate about tennis and member of The All England Club. When Norah visited Wimbledon with him for the first time in 1917 as a schoolgirl, she was enraptured. 
Five years later she was offered a job there by then tournament organiser Major Dudley Larcombeand would remain an intrinsic part of the All England Club for the next 25 years.
During that time, Norah was to oversee the running of one of the world’s most famous sporting grounds with its Grand Slam Championship that brought with it a curious mixture of prestige and mundanity. 
Whether befriending the players themselves, Royalty, film stars and millionaires, shielding tennis’ first celebrity Suzanne Lenglen from fans and press, being charmed by handsome Gallic players, seeing the swastika flag fly over Centre Court, watching Fred Perry stand alone on the very same court as he silently bade farewell to Wimbledon for the last time, Norah was part of some of the most defining events in Wimbledon’s history. 
But she and her assistants were also responsible for many less glamorous yet essential tasks such as managing tickets, teas, takings, draws, expenses, court seeding, demanding coaches and stroppy spectators that were all necessary to ensure the smooth running of the club.
In an era where women had only recently acquired the vote, Norah was therefore uniquely placed as a working woman in what was a male-dominated arena, for whilst the world watched the on-court action, Norah worked tirelessly, and ultimately alone, behind the scenes, to define the Wimbledon that we know and love today. 
Sign Up to GST TODAY and listen exclusively daily throughout this year’s tournament to her story, narrated by her great niece, actor and singer Sarah Tullamore.

Click the link below to listen Part 1. Visit us tomorrow for Part 2



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