THE BACK STORY
Some thirty years ago a chance remark by Alan Broadhead, then Chairman, in conversation with Bob Holland, Honorary Secretary at the time, sparked the quest to establish the Society’s credentials as the oldest surviving lawn tennis club in the world.
In recent years, having established Edgbaston Archery & Lawn Tennis Society’s historical precedence, enquiries were made of the Birmingham Civic Society, about the possibility of being ‘awarded’ a blue plaque. We were advised that these plaques were issued only to commemorate specific people, not clubs and organisations. We were offered the alternative of a history plate, which did not carry quite the same cachet but was deemed to be a reasonable, actually the only, alternative. Whilst progressing this we were informed that the Civic Society had decided to adopt the blue plaque format for their history plates. A detail of the final plaque appears above.
BLUE PLAQUES AWARDED
It is proposed to produce two identical plaques. One to be installed on the exterior of the pavilion by the front door and the other on a freestanding plinth on the boundary on the Society’s grounds with the Botanical Gardens. In this way the plaque will be seen by the wider public visiting the Gardens.
Not only is the Society the oldest lawn tennis club in the world, but its members play still on grass courts occupying the same position in which they were laid out in 1875. In addition, the club’s location is at the heart of what has been called ‘the cradle of lawn tennis.’ It is less than a mile from the house in Ampton Road which was home to Augurio Perera and where he and Harry Gem, his friend and co-lawn tennis pioneer, first began playing their precursor to the game of lawn tennis as early as 1859. Indeed, Harry and his wife were members of the Society until they moved to Leamington Spa.
THE FUND & DONATIONS
The production of two plaques will cost £850 approx. So far £350 has been raised and we look to raise the balance with this Crowdfunder appeal.
We know these are difficult times, but it would be very much appreciated if you could spare a few pounds to support the Society, which is such a unique heritage asset for Edgbaston, Birmingham and the wider world of tennis.