Ruth Durlacher

Ruth Durlacher (née Dyas; 22 July 1876 – 21 September 1946) was an Irish tennis player. She played in the Wimbledon championships between 1897 and 1907.

Ruth Durlacher
Ruth Durlacher.jpg
Ruth Durlacher (before 1903)
Country (sports) United Kingdom
Born(1876-07-22)22 July 1876
Malahide, Dublin
Died21 September 1936(1936-09-21) (aged 60)
Buckingham, Buckinghamshire
Grand Slam Singles results
WimbledonDF (1899)

Early lifeEdit

Durlacher was born Ruth Dyas in Malahide on 22 July 1876.[1][2] Durlacher was daughter to Jacob Dyas and Sophia Dyas. Durlacher was baptised Protestant (Church of England) on the 16 November 1900 in St. James Paddington.[citation needed] Durlacher had one brother and one older sister. The Durlachers were a wealthy family. Their original family home was Heathstown House. Durlacher grew up in England. She entered her first competition at 18. She married fellow tennis player Neville John Durlacher in Rathdown on 17 December 1898 at the age of 23. They had 2 children together, Patrick Durlacher who was a successful cricket player and Nora Durlacher who was a successful tennis player.[3]

Role in tennisEdit

The Irish Championships were first established in 1879 and took place in Pembroke Place and further moved on to Wilton Place from 1880 till 1902. Following Wilton Place, the tournament further took place in Fitzwilliam Square where it remained until its final location in 1972, Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Appian Way, Dublin.[4][5] It was in this year that the tournament changed its name to the Irish Open due to sponsorship motives.

As her success grew, she further took part at the Wimbledon championships between 1897 and 1919. Come 1899, Durlacher triumphantly reached the ‘all-comers’ final’ but lost to her opponent Blanche Bingley [6][7] who managed to beat her two years prior in the Irish Championships [8] and would further go on to win 6 Wimbledon championships.[9]

Where the Irish Open was held from 1972

Durlacher came runner up four times within the women singles in the Irish Open (tennis) taking place is Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. In 1897, Blanche Bingley successfully beat Durlacher with the result ending in 7–5, 2–6, 6–3. Following two years’ time, Louisa Martin triumphally won the singles tournament 6-1, 6-2 against her opponent Durlacher. Again, two years preceding Muriel Robb came against Durlacher in the final with the result ending in her favour, 9-7, 6-1. Subsequently, Louisa Martin would reach Ruth Durlacher in the final yet again in 1902, with a second win under her, 6-8, 6-4, 7-5.[8]

Durlacher would additionally partake in the doubles category of the Irish Open (tennis), her partners being Alice Pickering in 1896, Mollie Martin for three consecutive years from 1898,1899 and 1901 and Ms.Hazlett in 1902.

On top of that, Durlacher took part in the mixed doubles under the Irish Open. During 1898, Durlacher secured first place alongside her partner Harold Nisbet. Three years later, Ruth Durlacher would battle in the final at the side of Laurence Doherty, once more emerging victorious. Following this year, Durlacher again stood in company of her partner Laurence Doherty and went on to finish first.[10]

Although Helena Rice has been the only successful Irish women’s tennis player to win the singles tournament at Wimbledon,[11] it is said that Durlacher is the only woman who has come close to obtaining this legacy. Durlacher went on to shape the career of women in tennis with her own daughter succeeding her legacy.

Tennis careerEdit

Durlacher played at the Wimbledon Championships between 1897 and 1907. In 1899 she won the doubles tournament.[12] In singles, Durlacher reached the finals of the all-comers-competition, losing to the later champion Blanche Bingley. She won the Irish Championships mixed doubles title along with Harold Nisbet in 1898, and with Laurence Doherty 1901 and 1902.[12] In the singles event, she was a runner-up in 1897, 1899, 1901 and 1902. In the 1902 final she was unable to convert a matchpoint against Louisa Martin.

Later life and legacyEdit

She died in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire in 1946.[13] According to Nick Durlacher, Ruth's grandson, she was a ‘fine sportswoman’ this is the legacy she left behind for her family.[14] She also played for the Irish Ladies Golf Team which took part in several international matches.[15]

‘Sport in general, and competitive, team-based and mixed gender sport in particular, was considered to be an unsuitable pursuit for women.  Active participation threatened masculinity and femininity, as well as female domestic and procreative responsibilities. This ideology was sufficient to restrict women to a subordinate, minor and often derided sporting role.’[16] However, Durlacher played in the Irish Championships in 1895 for the first time when she was just eighteen years old. This was unusual at the time. Durlacher also played golf for the Irish ladies Golf Team and played in the Irish Ladies Championships.[15] Durlacher was a successful sports woman considering the time period in which she began her career and the success she had in her career in lawn tennis and later in her career playing golf.


  1. ^ Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Belfast Newsletter (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1738-1925
  2. ^ Ireland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911
  3. ^ 1911 England Census
  4. ^ Ulick, O'Connor. "Club History". Fltc. Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  5. ^ J.J, Treacy (1927). Fitzwilliam's First Fifty (1st ed.). Dublin: The Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. p. 5.
  6. ^ "The Queen". The British Newspaper Achieve. Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Draws Archive-Ladies' All-Comers' Singles". Wimbledon. IMB Corp. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b O'Connor, Ulick (1977). The Fitzwilliam Story (1st ed.). Dublin: Richview Browne & Nolan LTD. p. 87.
  9. ^ "Blanche Bingley(GBR)" (PDF). Wimbledon. IMB Corp. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  10. ^ O'Connor, Ulick (1977). The Fitzwilliam Story (1st ed.). Dublin: Richview Browne & Nolan LTD. p. 89.
  11. ^ "Draws Archive". Wimbledon. IMB Corp. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b Dorothea Chambers (1910): Lawn Tennis for Ladies. Methuen & Co. Ltd., London. (online)
  13. ^ England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995
  14. ^ "Durlacher, Nicholas (2 of 18) National Life Stories: City Lives - Banking and finance - Accents and dialects | British Library - Sounds". Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  15. ^ a b "Irish Ladies Championship". Field Newspaper. 3 June 1911. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  16. ^ Hunt, Tom (2007). "Women and sports in Victorian Westmeath". Irish Economic and Social History. 34: 29–46. doi:10.7227/IESH.34.2.