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Britain’s oldest tennis ball wedged in Lincoln Cathedral archway for 110 years





Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years.

The ball got stuck in the mouldings of the cathedral after a little boy named Gilbert Bell threw it too high as he played with his brother in 1914.

It has been lodged there ever since and Lincoln Cathedral say there are no current plans to remove it.

Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years
Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years

The earliest proper tennis ball held in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum dates from 1916 and Mr Bell's ball is believed to be the oldest in the country.

Millions of visitors pass the rubber ball every year on their trips to the cathedral while it has gone relatively unnoticed in the archway since the Second World War.

In 2005, the family of Mr Bell wrote to the cathedral to 'ask for it back' after it became a family legend.

Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years
Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years
Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years
Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years
Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years
Britain's oldest tennis ball has been lodged in the archway of Lincoln Cathedral for 110 years

Four generations of the family made trips to the cathedral to check that the ball was still in place and hadn't been dislodged from the moulding.

Jane Cowan, head of conservation at Lincoln Cathedral said that it was an unusual thing to have to consider when looking after an historic building.

She said: “At such point as our cycle of conservation reaches that part of the Cathedral, we would have to assess how best to approach the tennis ball as the nature of the materials it is made from is very different from the stone, glass and wood that we are used to dealing with on the Cathedral.

"But the ideal option would be for us to leave the ball in position as its story is now integral to that of the cathedral.

"The stories are intertwined and are both much the richer for that.”



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