Although Lara Croft's early years are the subject of some controversy, most fans agree that our heroine was born and raised in Wimbledon, London, grew up on her family's estate in nearby Surrey and attended Wimbledon High School.[*]
Guest blogger Sim Comfort, also a Wimbledon resident, has been kind enough to share his Wimbledon photo album, which includes snaps of Lara's old school, the hospital where she was born and places she might have spent time, as well as the head office of Tomb Raider's publisher, Eidos Interactive. He also provides an interesting short history of the area.
Wimbledon, until recently, was a part of the county of Surrey and has strong links with the sea. Wimbledon is on the Portsmouth Road, which leads to the main port for the Royal Navy. This road also provides easy access to central London, Westminster, Parliament and the Admiralty, which are only seven miles away. Wimbledon remains a wonderful country retreat with easy access to the centre of London.
Wimbledon comprises three main areas. The town centre with its commercial headquarters and rail links via Wimbledon Station. Up Wimbledon Hill to Wimbledon Village, which was an old coaching stop for the trip to London or Portsmouth. From Wimbledon Village, one may still ride on horseback to Richmond and Hampton Court.
Henry Dundas, who was the Secretary of War and Wilberforce, the great anti-slavery advocate both lived on Wimbledon Common. Also Sir William Congreve who developed rockets which were tested on Wimbledon Common and became part of American history through a verse in the national anthem, 'Through the rockets red glare, our flag was still there'. William Pitt, the younger, was Prime Minister and after many a long debate in Parliament, would ride his horse to Wimbledon to stay with either Wilberforce or Dundas, and take in the country air.
During the late 18th century, another important resident was Earl Spencer, who was First Lord of the Admiralty. Spencer lived in Wimbledon Park, which he had landscaped by Capability Brown in 1765 and who also created Wimbledon Park Lake. Within the original grounds of Wimbledon Park now reside the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the Wimbledon Park Golf Club, The Wimbledon Club and the public park. For more information please visit www.wphg.demon.co.uk.
Sim Comfort and his wife, Mary, publish quality books on British naval history, particularly the age of Fighting Sail (1793 - 1815). They are also world travellers. You can find information on their books and see photos of their Egyptian adventure on the Sim Comfort Associates web site.
* NOTE: Both versions of Lara Croft's biography list her birthplace as Wimbledon. The original bio has her attending the Wimbledon High School for Girls between the ages of 11 and 16, while the revised version says she roamed the globe with her father and received private tutoring. In any case, it's no stretch of the imagination to assume that Lara would be familiar with the Wimbledon area.