The Leamington Tennis Court Club was established in 1846 and Harry Gem joined in 1872. The club is discreetly located at the heart of Royal Leamington Spa and here members may play tennis, squash rackets, rackets and fives. Click here to see a real tennis match at Leamington.
The All England Club adopted the real tennis method of scoring (love, fifteen, thirty, forty) when revising the laws of lawn tennis in 1877, in readiness for the first championships at Wimbledon.
The racquets kindly donated by Grays are now ready for the upcoming season of demo days, etc.
We send our thanks too for the good offices of Norman Hyde, at the Leamington Tennis Court Club, in organising the stringing by Tom Granville, head professional at the Moreton Morrell Tennis Court Club. Nice work Tom and many thanks.
The appeal for funds to restore Harry Gem’s grave in Warstone Lane Cemetery at the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter has begun.
Just over £7,000 is needed to rebuild the grave architecture and we aim to raise an extra £2,000 to provide a fund for maintenance in the future.
So far we have raised £5,500, over two thirds of the amount for the restoration, and hope to have the full amount in place ready to commission the work later in the year.
If you would like to contribute please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a sample of the material we’ve been sending out to potential ‘corporate” sponsors (click images to enlarge):
It has been assumed that Gem and Perera moved to Leamington Spa in 1872 and formed their Leamington club in the same year. Research commissioned by Bob Everitt, of the Tennis Collectors’ Society, indicates that Gem had moved into the town in late 1872. This was established by reference to the ‘General Arrivals’ section of the Leamington Spa Courier and Warwick Advertiser of that year. Perera was not listed during or before 1872 and, unfortnately, newspapers for 1873 and 1874 were not available.
However. an article in the Leamington Spa Courier and Warwick Advertiser dated 24th July 1875 indicates that the club was without doubt formed in 1874.
L to R: Ryan Simpson, Orwells, Oxfrodshire; Pip Lacey, Murano, London; Nick Deverell-Smith, The Churchill Arms, Gloucestershire.
The current series of the Great British Menu competition on BBC TV celebrates the 140th anniversary of the Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. The competition culminates in a banquet at the AELTCC, Wimbledon, London to be broadcast on Friday 230th June.
Nick Deverell-Smith, one of the central region competitors, was a Warwickshire county player as a young man. He paid a visit to Ampton Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham to look over and play on the oldest tennis lawn in the world.
Here’s GBM 2017 Central Fish Ep32 in which Nick Deverill-Smith visits Ampton Road and hears about the earlt days of lawn tennis from Bob Holland (piece commences around 9:52). Also the grand finale, a banquet GMB Ep45 at the All England Club, Wimbledon. Click here.
On Monday 19th June we set up the court, in line with Gem and Perera’s 1874 rules, in the garden at Ampton Road, Edgbaston, ready for a promotion event by the wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and LTA. This coincided with the Aegon Classic tournament at Edgbaston Priory.
See what happened when Lucie Safarova met Maud Watson (Izzy Nelson) on the oldest tennis lawn in the world – click here.
Following five photographs © Getty Images
(Click photos to enlarge)
We are indebted to Grays for their generosity in donating six real tennis racquet frames. Once they are strung they’ll be put to use on demonstration days and events related to the history of lawn tennis.
Before lawn tennis specific equipment was manufactured players would use whatever they had to hand. Hence real tennis and rackets racquets would have been used to play the early/new game of lawn tennis.
Back in March we filmed, in the garden at Ampton Road and in the Birmingham Library, a piece with Philip Serrell for the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip series. This will be broadcast in the programme at 4:30pm on Monday 19th September. Find the programme by clicking here, It’s about 11.30 minutes in.
Last year we filmed a piece for World of Tennis which was broadcast on BT Sport. Filming took place at the Edgbaston Archery & Lawn Tennis Society, the oldest lawn tennis club in the world, and the Ampton Road house, former home of Augurio Perera.
See the video here on our Facebook page.
Chris Elks explains the finer points of early racquets to the film crew at Edgbaston Archery & lawn Tennis Society.