Great Britain won tennis’ Davis Cup in 2015 – the country’s first victory in 79 years.
The compeition was conceived by four members of the Harvard University tennis team as a competition between the United States and the British Isles. The tournament’s format was developed by Dwight Davis of Harvard who also bought and donated the eponymous trophy.
During the summer of 2016, the Lawn Tennis Association organised the Davis Cup Trophy Tour to capitalise on the victory and inspire a new generation of players.
On the third day of Great Britain’s semi-final against Argentina on 18 September 2016, the Trophy Tour arrived in front of the old town hall in St Albans.
Rather disappointingly, the trophy sat on its plinth beneath a plain black gazeebo with no attempt to share the history and heritage of the compeition.
The organisers also missed a link with another transatlantic sporting event.
The Ryder Cup was first contested between teams of profesional golfers from Great Britain and the United States in 1927.
The trophy was donated by Sam Ryder, a St Albans businessman who had enjoyed considerable success as a mail-order seed retailer and had done much to raise the status of professional golfers. Ryder also served as a city councillor between 1903 and 1916, as mayor in 1905, and also sat in the courtroom that occupied part of the town hall as a magistrate.