Link to a short piece on Charlotte Sterry-5 time Wimbledon champ.
It has a pic
If there ever was a first family of Wimbledon it is the Sterry-Cooper alliance. Since the early days of 1894 there has always been a Sterry or Cooper in the All England Club. They are as ubiquitous as strawberries and cream.
What the Renshaws did for men's tennis, the Sterrys and Coopers did for the women. There was the original Charlotte Cooper (Mrs Alfred Sterry), champion of the nineties. Her daughter Gwen (Mrs Max Simmers) and niece Valerie (Mrs Peter Weatherall) are still members.
I was sitting in the Members' Enclosure with Tony Cooper, now assistant secretary of the club by way of stockbroking in the City. He and his cousin, Rex Sterry (a committee member), are the last remaining males in a family whose very existence is woven in the tapestry of Wimbledon. They are both endearing characters, the one like Stilton and the other mellow as Gorgonzola.
'Ah yes, Aunt "Chatty",' Tony Cooper said. 'Of course I remember as a child being taken by her to Worple Road.
'Extraordinary, isn't it. You know she was in the days of May Sutton, Lottie Dod and that incredible Irish champion, Maud Watson. Aunt "Chatty" first won the championship in 1894, then five times in all, and I think I'm right in saying that she never heard the ball bounce because she was stone deaf. She was very accurate, of course, and she always knew exactly what the score was. In 1908, at the age of thirty-seven, which was getting on in those days, she was the oldest woman ever to win Wimbledon. That year she won all three events.
'Aunt "Chatty" used to live with her parents in a red-brick wistaria-covered house called "Founhope" in Ewell Road, Surbiton. In fact, it was right next door to the house where I was born. One day in 1908 my father, Harry Cooper, was in the garden with a chum of his, pruning the roses or wistaria or something, when "Chatty" arrived on her bicycle. He called out to her, because everyone was fond of "Chatty". She was that sort of girl. ' "Where have you been, 'Chatty'?"
'Propping up her bicycle, she replied: "As a matter of fact I have been to Wimbledon and I've just won the championship."
' "Oh, have you," replied my father, and went on with his pruning.
It was all taken rather for granted in those days. My aunt was, in fact, a jolly good player and even if she did wear a huge skirt almost to the ground and black shoes and stockings, she never served underarm and always used to rush up to the net. I remember that she cinched in her waist with a wide belt, the sort boys wear, with two silver buckles.'
Whatever Wimbledon meant to Charlotte Sterry, as she became on marriage, she was not overwhelmed by its splendour. Alter she died, the gold medal that she received as Britain's first Olympic tennis winner could not be found. Nor her Wimbledon trophies. 'Typical,' says Tony Cooper.
'I bet she gave it to the gardener,' says her son, Rex Sterry. The Sterrys and the Coopers were closely intermarried, and Tony Cooper tried to unravel it for me.
'Well, you see Rex's old mum (Charlotte Sterry and nee Cooper) is a sister of my father's and a first cousin of my mother's.' After she married 'Aunt "Chatty" ' carried on the tradition for tennis by laying a court at her home called Braemar Lodge. It was, in fact, laid the wrong way but this was no obstacle for 'Chatty' Sterry, who was never one to be put off. She had it moved round the right way.
Charlotte Reinagle Cooper was 30 years of age and a spinster, living at Surbiton, Surrey when she married Alfred Sterry on January 12th, 1901 at the church of St Mark, Surbiton. Charlotte's father was Henry Cooper (deceased at time of marriage), of professional rank, a gentleman. Alfred Sterry was 24, a bachelor and a solicitor, living at 6 Catherine Rd, Surbiton at time of his marriage. His father was John Sterry (then deceased), a Wine Merchant. Witnesses to their marriage were Teresa Georgina Cooper (Charlotte's mother), Harry Cooper, Emma P. Sterry (Alfred's mother) and John Sterry (Alfred's brother).
According to the 1881 British census Charlotte was born abt 1871 at Ealing, Middlesex. In 1881 she was aged 10 and living with her mother, Georgina T. (then a widow aged 39, born in America), her brother Sam. E. (aged 13 born America) and her sister Maud J. (aged 11 born Ealing). Living with them in 1881 was a boy aged 10, also born in America: Herbert F. Patrickson and two others, who were probably servants: Caroline Jarvis (unmarried, aged 29, born Nettlebed, Oxfordshire) and Lizzie A. Bye (unmarried, aged 19, born Reading, Berkshire).