Sport

Copyright: John Frost Newspapers

The newspaper: The Daily Mirror

The date: July 7, 1934

The news event: Fred Perry, a British tennis player, wins Wimbledon

What you see

This front page manages to combine two competing stories. The strong 'splash' (or main story) literally overlaps a secondary story. The layout and design are typical of the tabloids of the time.

Background

This front page was printed on July 7 1934, during the time now known as the 'inter-war period'. Europe was still recovering from World War I. Unemployment was high across the world with three million unemployed in Britain alone in 1933. The economies of the leading nations, especially the United States, were in deep trouble. People often turned to sporting successes to lift them from the depressed mood.

Tennis was not a professional sport in those days, but Wimbledon was regarded as the home of tennis, and as the world's most important tennis championship. Perry went on to win the championship again twice. A British male tennis player has not won Wimbledon since his Perry's triumph in 1936. His name lives on today as a brand of casual clothes.

The front page

The Daily Mirror claimed the largest sales of any national daily newspaper at the time. The editorial director, Harry Guy Bartholomew, also known as 'Bart', turned the newspaper, and its companion, the Sunday Pictorial (now the Sunday Mirror ) into American-style tabloids that they remain today.

This front page picked an obvious Saturday sports lead story when a Brit, Fred Perry, won Wimbledon but mixed it with a substantial 'second lead'. That story was the tragic death of the baby son of the aristocrat Lord Burghley, himself a famous sportsman and hurdler. Even for a Labour-supporting newspaper like the Daily Mirror the story of a tragedy among the upper classes was too good to miss.

Design

This design would be considered very untidy today. Typical of its time the page had a variety of different typefaces starting with the 'splash' or main headline: PERRY WORLD TENNIS CHAMPION followed by several 'decks' or lines of headings. Apart from the event itself, this page is interesting because of the way the pictures have been presented, sometimes with a sharp angle on one edge. What is also strange is how the heads of the mother and baby have been cut out and superimposed on the main picture of Perry’s triumph. The stories are in fact entirely unconnected and yet, visually, they are made to interrelate. Notice also how the headlines below the main one have an 'initial' capital letter. As in: 'Title Comes Home After 25 Years' or 'Father and Mother at Baby Son's Bedside'. This was a widespread custom of English language newspapers around the world. Some American newspapers still do this but this technique was largely dropped in Britain in the 1970s.