Lotti Dod

Dod was born on the 24th of September 1871 in Bebington, Merseyside, the youngest of four children to Joseph and Margaret Dod.

Joseph, from Liverpool, had made a fortune in the cotton trade.

The family was wealthy enough to provide for all members for life; Lottie and her brother Willy never had to work.

Besides Willy, Lottie had a sister, Annie, and another brother, Tony, all of whom also excelled in sports.

Annie was a good tennis player, golfer, ice skater and billiards player.

Willy Dod won the Olympic gold medal in archery at the 1908 Games, while Tony was a regional level archer and a chess and tennis player.

The Dod children received a private education by tutors and governesses.

In her childhood Lottie played the piano, banjo and she was member of a local choir.

When Dod was nine years old, two tennis courts were built near the family’s estate, Edgeworth.

Lawn tennis, invented in 1873, was highly fashionable for the wealthy in England, and all of the Dod children started playing the game frequently.

Together with Annie, who was eight years older, Dod entered her first tennis tournament, the 1883 Northern Championships in Manchester, at age eleven.

They had a bye in the first round and lost in the second round of the doubles tournament to Hannah Keith and Amber McCord, but won the consolation tournament.

One journalist, Sydney Brown, noted that “Miss L. Dod should be heard of in the future”.

The following year, 1884, she participated in two tournaments, the Northern Championships, played that year in Liverpool, and Waterloo.

With Annie she reached the doubles finals in both tournaments and with Tony she was defeated in the first round of the mixed doubles event at Waterloo.

At the Northern Championships in 1885, she came to prominence when she nearly beat reigning Wimbledon champion Maud Watson in the final, losing 6–8, 5–7.

Dod would win the doubles event (with Annie).

Earlier she had won the first singles title of her career at the Waterloo tournament where she was also victorious in the doubles and mixed doubles events.

These performances earned her the nickname “Little Wonder” in the press.

In the autumn of 1905, Dod and her brothers sold “Edgeworth” and moved to a new home near Newbury, Berkshire.

They had been practising archery from the times before, but all three became more serious now and joined the Welford Park Archers in Newbury.

As one of their ancestors was said to have commanded the English longbowmen at the Battle of Agincourt, they found this an appropriate sport.

In 1906, Lottie began to concentrate on archery and competed at the White City for the women’s Olympic archery title in July 1908. She won a silver medal, losing narrowly to Sybil Newall.

The event was debased by the absence of Alice Legh, and Lottie can be counted as only the third strongest archer of her time.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Lottie gained nursing qualifications and made repeated applications to be stationed in France, but was rejected for such duties because of her sciatica.

However, her work at a military hospital near Newbury resulted in a Red Cross gold medal.

In 1921 she settled in London, where she was active in musical circles.

As a contralto she sang for many years with the London Oriana Madrigal Society and became its honorary secretary.

In the late 1920s she became a member of the Bach Cantata Club under the baton of her close friend Charles Kennedy Scott.