Posted in: Tattle, Tennis

New Wimbledon chief follows path of pioneer Norah Gordon Cleather

Sally Bolton is becoming the All England Club’s first female chief executive, but a woman did guide Wimbledon through the second world war, before being unfairly sidelined

Norah Gordon Cleather would have caused a stir entering any room in any era. She was a glamorous London socialite who mixed easily with the world’s best tennis players and the cream of Europe’s interwar royalty but, like many fairytales, hers would take a sad and unexpected twist.

Her long-forgotten name has surfaced since Sally Bolton was named as the first woman to be chief executive of the All England Club, succeeding Richard Lewis, a handover taking place in the unique circumstances of a lockdown when the championships would normally be gearing up for a start on 29 June. But Cleather can lay claim to a version of that role in similarly challenging times, 81 years ago (as Bolton is discovering while reading Cleather’s autobiography, Wimbledon Story).

Back to Top