The former home of Augurio Perera, lawn tennis pioneer, in Avenue Road, Royal Leamington Spa. This is located just along the road from the Manor House Hotel where Perera and Harry Gem, together with doctors Haynes and Tomkins, founded the world’s first lawn tennis club.
He called the house Fairlight, the same name as the family’s previous home inEdgbaston, Birmingham. They took up residence in Leamington some time in November 1873 and lived here until September 1877. The family continued it’s association with the town over the next few years. Augurio and his wife Louisa, accompanied on occasion by one or other of their daughters, would spend the season in Leamington at the Manor House Hotel.
It appears that Perera’s connection with Leamington may have ceased around 1880. However, there are some indications that the house in Avenue Road may have been transfered into the ownership of Augurio’s elder daughter Francisca and her husband John Palmer Phillips.
Judith Keppel on the Eggheads team knows the answer.
Harry cropped up in a quiz question on BBC2 TV yesterday (29th Nov).
On Eggheads the sports round ended in a tie and went into a decider. The challenger was given the first question.
Jeremy Vine, question master: “In the 1870s the Englishman Major Harry Gem helped to found the first club dedicated to which sport?”
Adam, challenger: “Cricket.”
Jeremy: “No, it’s tennis.”
Judith Keppel, on the Egghead’s team, appeared to know the answer.
Check link at 19.54 ins.
Harry’s father William Gem had twin sisters: Helen Maria and Mary born in 1795. Helen died in January 1873 and Mary in March of the same year.
Helen’s grave may be found in Warstone Lane Cemetery, Jewellery Quarter, Birmngham just uphill from Harry’s grave. (Section: P, Grave No: 1527)
In the above photograph Harry’s grave lies centre left background (shuttering around the new grave architecture construction) and Hellen’s is centre right next to the path.
Footings in ready for constructuon of the new grave architecure once work is completed in the workshop.
On the morning of Tuesday 9th October the team from Midland Conservation lifted the ledger stone and removed it off site. The details of Ellen Maria, Thomas Henry Gem’s wife, are to be engraved on the stone as she is buried here too but unrecorded on site.
Stone has been ordered for the construction of the new grave architecture. Completeion date awaited.
The ledger stone to the grave of the family Lawson, over which that from Gem’s grave was slid many years ago, is now seeing the daylight once again!
At long last, with sufficient monies raised, the restoration work has been commissioned via Midland Conservation Limited. A site meeting was held recently and materials ordered.
The ledger stone should be lifted early in October and taken into the workshop for the engraving of Harry Gem’s wife’s details.
More on the schedule as it is known.
Our appeal for funds to restore Harry’s grave in Warstone Lane Cemetery, Birmingham has reached £8,000 and we send our grateful thanks to all the organisations and individuals who have given so genereously.
We have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise the final £2,000. Please help by giving what you can and spreading the word among your friends.
Click here for details
We’ll be launching a Crowdfunder Appeal in June to raise the remainder of the money required to commission the work to restore Harry’s grave. In the meantime, here’s an extended version of our video giving some of the background to the story of Harry Gem and Augurio Perera and details of the restoration plan.
Click here for video.
Article from the Birmingham Post of 9th October 1962, the 100th anniversary of Harry Gem’s run from Birmingham to Warwick.