A to Z Anthology

As the Society no longer produces newsletters, we will post occasional items of interest here.
Topics will be chosen at random.
Your contributions are welcome.

T is for Tennis and Telly

A correspondent writes: "I have recently purchased a piece of Maling which I have seen described as a 'tennis set'. Can you please tell me why it is thus described?"

We have heard several implausible explanations such as: "the saucer looks like a tennis racquet" and "it takes two to make a match". Wrong...

The simple explanation is that ladies and gentlemen watching a game of tennis would have refreshed themselves with a nice cup of tea (Earl Grey, we hope) and a plate of cucumber sandwiches. But, disaster - both hands are full and there's no table! No person of refinement would have freed up a hand by plonking the plate in their lap. Hence the all-in-one tennis set (not exclusive to Maling).

Most Maling examples date from the 1950s and, in the light of new-fangled technology, are often referred to as TV cups and saucers, as in the image on the left. Earlier examples do exist, including 1930s Deco items and those which celebrate the 1929 NE Coast Exhibition. (See newsletters 20-22 for more on this event.)

Our correspondent had Googled the term 'tennis set' but only found people offering balls.
We never do that - but we do have a playful side.

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