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The Birth of Lawn Tennis

Aidan

master brummie
Now that Wimbledon has (finally) started, I think it is time to celebrate the achievements of Major T. H. "Harry" Gem and his invention of Lawn Tennis in c1859 with Augurio Perera at 8 Ampton Road, Edgbaston.

Why couldn't we be watching from the Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society grounds (next to the Botanical Gardens) rather than Wimbledon?
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
I can see my house from my bedroom window! There is a blue plaque on the wall - I've been meaning to take a phot when I walk the dog, but never seem to remember the camera! I don't know if the court is still there. On Google, there is certainly a court (not grass), but due to all the trees it's not entirely clear if it belongs to number 8. I think that the one that you can see belongs to the house in Carpenter Road. If I see the owner, I'll ask her.
 

Alf

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Why are all the Headquarters for all our great sports in London.
 

Aidan

master brummie
I can see my house from my bedroom window! There is a blue plaque on the wall - I've been meaning to take a phot when I walk the dog, but never seem to remember the camera! I don't know if the court is still there. On Google, there is certainly a court (not grass), but due to all the trees it's not entirely clear if it belongs to number 8. I think that the one that you can see belongs to the house in Carpenter Road. If I see the owner, I'll ask her.

It would be great if you could take a shot of the house & plaque (& ask the owner for any info) - it is too leafy around there to get a good Streetview
 

Aidan

master brummie
Here is the 1861/71 CEnsus for Thomas Harry Gem and the 1871C for Perera still at "Fairlight" (cant find him in 1861, can anyone else?)
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
No, I can't find them either. I have stepped through, but Fairlight doesn't appear to be there. The house is next to the cottages. I wonder if the family was away from home All the houses in Ampton Road are very big and many of them have retained the names from this time, so it should be possible to work out if someone else was living there or if the name was different at that point. Somwhere I have a detailed map that (I think) includes the names of the houses - a throwback to my daughter's local history project at school! I'll try to find it.
 

Aidan

master brummie
I believe one of the subscription sites allows a search on address - hopefully one of the forum members has it and can search on Fairlight or 8 Ampton Road Edgbaston in 1861...
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
Aiden - I used the address search. Fairlight isn't there (as Fairlight) and the houses in Ampton Road don't have numbers on the census. That's why I stepped through all the pages for Ampton Road. I have my suspicions about a 'cottage' where there are just two lodgers and no one else at home. To my mind there are more 'cottages' than there should be.
I will try to call at the house in the next couple of days - it's a question of catching them in.
 

Key Hill Brian

Proud Brummie
Harry Gem is of course in Warstone Lane!

Because early tennis was complex, He & Augurio Perera ceased playing at Bath Row Raquets club and started playing on Perera's croquet lawn at 8 Ampton Rd! They basically wrote the rulebook for modern lawn tennis, but regretably both moved to leamington Spa in 1872 and formed a club with 2 local doctors. Leamington had/has therefore the worlds first lawn tennis club on the lawns of the Manor House hotel opposite Perera's ne hom
I understand the Gemsfgrave is currently unmarked. The Tourist Info (Mary) in Vyse St has the location on a map in her kiosk.
 

Aidan

master brummie
Nice map Mike thanks - they were/are massive properties - Perera must have done well out of his Spanish goods

Leslam - if the were out in Spain in 1861 I guess their staff may have occupied one of the cottages on the property?

Brian - thanks for identifying the last resting place of Gem, although it doesn't seem right that he was laid in an unmarked grave. A Major, Law worker and inventor of the fine game would have surely had the money and be celebrated enough to have an M.I.?
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
Mike, your map is the one I was going to search the house (and probably the loft) for - thank you for saving me a job!

I will print off and take with me when I walk the dog later this afternoon. I'll mark up the ones that are still there/changed. It's amazing how little has changed; the side of the road that contains Fairlight is almost identical. The other side has changed a bit as two or three houses were knocked done in 1970s. At the time, there was no conservation area, the land was/is leasehold (Calthorpe Estate) and so when the leases expired, the land reverted to Calthorpe. The old houses were ripped down so that they could build a small estate (see Google map). It affected one particular section of Ampton and Carpenter Road. My house is one of those modern houses; it adjoins a remaining Victorain house and it actually has the rhododenderen border from the Victorian house. Also a strange plant that was indentified by the Botanical Gardens as originating in the Amazon Rain Forest - goodnes knows how it survives in the border!

It would be interesting if we could track down Perera's death. I can't spot it in the index. I had wonder if he is buried in St Bartholomew's (Edgbaston Old Church), but maybe he went back to Spain.

The other thing that is niggling is the spelling of the surname - there is a Periera Road in Harborne - surely too much of a coincidence?

I do have a picture of the cottages as they were - I'll have a look throught my books a bit later.
 

Rupert

master brummie
I thought that Henry VIII played a form of tennis which admittingly involved bouncing the ball off the roof of the gallery in the court at Hampton. But I think a net was involved. Henry V also recieved a gift of tennis balls from the Dauphin at the time...not well recieved seemingly because it led to an ignominous defeat for the French at Agincourt...If Sakespeare is to be believed anyway.

Neither the modern game obviously...but a form of it. Don't think that I would want to have been an umpire at one of Henry 8s games...er...no your grace...you could not have served a fault of any kind ...let alone a double one.
 

Aidan

master brummie
:) I think you are referring to Royal/Real/Court Tennis which is still played but is decidedly an indoor game, and what is more important difficult to get spectators at and certainly no strawberries and cream....

Also wasn't invented in Brum!
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
That was/is called Real Tennis. I don't know if they are still there, but when I was a child in Cambridge, there was still a building that had Real Tennis courts in regular use - road was (of course) Tennis Court Road! A question to ask on the Cambridge FH forum!
 

Aidan

master brummie
Mike, your map is the one I was going to search the house (and probably the loft) for - thank you for saving me a job! I will print off and take with me when I walk the dog later this afternoon. I'll mark up the ones that are still there/changed...

The other thing that is niggling is the spelling of the surname - there is a Periera Road in Harborne - surely too much of a coincidence?

I do have a picture of the cottages as they were - I'll have a look throught my books a bit later.

Les - I can't wait, the anticipation is killing me (thankfully the emoticons are down or I would have had a chance finally to use a dancing banana) - lovely afternoon, your dog & the Forum will be appreciative and don't forget your camera!!

I also thought of Pereira Rd as a possibility but it is a couple of miles away and different spelling. There are various Alien Registrations, passenger lists etc for Perera and the spelling is constant
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
I have just spoken to the very nice owner of Fairlight and arranged to ring her to go round to chat about the house and take some pictures. She does have some information about the history of the house - newcuttings etc. I will try to follow this up in the next day or so. She did tell me that the court is no longer there. It was destroyed during the war when the Anderson shelter for the whole road was built on top of it!
I have found one or two other pictures of other houses in the road, so I'll sort those out as well. I have also found a picture of Gem. Perhaps we should start a separate thred for him as he is in Warstone Lane.

I agree about Perara - just can't find any likely deaths! Still, maybe one of the newcuttings will shed some more light on him.
 

Aidan

master brummie
That'd be really cool, thanks Les (still no bananas....)

I think this Thread would benefit from info & pics about them both and keeps all the info together - only my opinion
 

leslam

Brummie by marriage
Attached (if I remember!) is a composite and annotated map. The red numbers are the house numbers in Ampton Road and indicate where the original houses are still there.
Number 12 is in beautiful repair - I have a photo somewhere.
Number 11 was restored a couple of years ago, although I'm not sure to what style internally.
Number 10 was spilt into flats, but is ungoing a complete restoration back to (I think) a single restoration
Number 9 is currentky split up, but up for sale as family residence
Number 8 ' Fairlight' is gorgeous. The current owners have spent a lot of money on it and restored it beautifully. I'm looking forward to meeting up with the owner again and hearing all about it.
Numbers 7, 6 and 5 are beautiful cottages. I have information on these I think. Photos to follow of these.

Number 16 has been beustifully maintained.
Walker Hall is in fantastic nick.
Number 17 has been restored over the years. Another beautiful property.

I'll add the photos as I come across/take them. I feel very privileged to live in such a rich area - if a little guilty that my house is built on the ground previously occupied by one of the magnificient houses. Looking at the map, I can see why my garden had so many rockery stones buried in it!
 

Aidan

master brummie
... I feel very privileged to live in such a rich area - if a little guilty that my house is built on the ground previously occupied by one of the magnificient houses. Looking at the map, I can see why my garden had so many rockery stones buried in it!

Les - I should think that you do - Zoopla suggests that those houses go for an average of £1.3M

Upmystreet has a breakdown of the likely inhabitants:

Here is an overview of the likely preferences and features of your neighbourhood:

Family income Very high
Interest in current affairs High
Housing - with mortgage Medium
Educated - to degree level High
Couples with children Medium
Have satellite TV Medium

Often, many of the people who live in this sort of postcode will be wealthy commuters living in villages. These are known as type 3 in the ACORN classification and 2.7% of the UK's population live in this type.

Most residents are affluent, well educated professional people employed in senior managerial positions. There is also more working from home in this type.

Residents tend to be older, aged 45+, with fewer children and more retired people. Housing is spacious, with four or more bedrooms, mostly detached and at the upper end of the property price ladder. Reflecting the older age profile, more properties are owned outright than being bought on a mortgage.

Car ownership is high with more people commuting by car than by rail. Two or more cars per household is common, with high value cars being the norm.

These are financially astute householders, with high levels of ownership of stocks and shares, unit trusts and guaranteed income bonds. The Internet is used to research and purchase financial products as well as cars, holidays and other products.

Leisure interests include walking, bird watching, the fine arts, antiques, classical music and the opera. Membership of the National Trust is also popular.

Favoured newspapers tend to be the Telegraph, The Times and Financial Times.


Not sure if you fit any of these categories (don't think I tick too many) but if not forewarned is forearmed!
 
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