During lockdown we are doing an occasional series on the most historically important places on the Calthorpe Estate.
Central Edgbaston Bowls Club
We are a Crown Green Bowling Club established in 1884 after previously being based at the Plough and Harrow Hotel. Many famous names have been members over the years, one of which being Baron John Davenport who set up the Baron Davenports Charity in the 1930s to help charities within 60 miles of the Birmingham centre.
Although we are an old club, we have a new view on Bowls! We hold monthly events and competitions which everybody is welcome to attend. We also have evening entertainment – Play Your Cards Right, Bingo, Quizes – and barbecues when we get the weather. We have darts and pool, our own kitchen for catering and our Bar is the cheapest in the area!
We have a long and proud history of entertaining injured Troops from both world wars, and have a large of library of photographs in our records – one of which is shown above. After WWII, we had a visit from Winston Churchill.
This year we have embarked on updating the facilities ready for a hopefully fresh start next year. We hope to have teaching days for School children, and of course we welcome people who just want a taste of the game. This is free of charge – you just bring flat shoes! All are welcome to visit our original Wood Pavilion.
Eric Joesbury, Secretary CEBC 07588149279
44A Harborne Road B15 3HE Facebook
[19.01.21] EALTS has been awarded a blue plaque by the Birmingham Civic Society, in recognition of its precedence as the oldest surviving lawn tennis club in the world.
They are installing two identical plaques, one on the exterior of the pavilion by the front door and the other facing the Botanical Gardens, to take advantage of their visitor traffic.
They put up the one on the border with the Gardens on 14.01.21 and it has received much positive comment thus far. The one on the pavilion will be put up when the current lockdown is eased.
The Edgbaston Archery Society was founded in 1860, at a meeting held in the Birmingham Midland Institute, with a membership comprising many of the leading Birmingham figures of the day. In the winter of 1867, the Society moved from its grounds in Hall Hill Road (now Edgbaston Park Road) to its current location next to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Lawn tennis pioneers Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera played their first game in the garden of Perera’s home Fairlight, in Ampton Road, Edgbaston, as early as 1859.
This was a precursor to lawn tennis, which they called initially Pelota, a Spanish ball game, presumably a nod to Perera’s Spanish origins.
Gem was a member of the Edgbaston Archery Society along with his wife in the 1860s. There’s no record in the Society’s minute books of him asking to play his game on the grounds.
Harry was a member 1864-1867 and his wife 1864-1872. Both Gem and Perera moved to live in Leamington Spa, Gem in December 1872 and Perera in November 1873. It was here that they formed the world’s first lawn tennis club in 1874. This closed with an auction of all the club’s belongings in 1898
Lawn tennis was introduced at Edgbaston Archery in 1875, if not the year before, as there were established Lawn Tennis competitions in the 1875 playing schedule. The All England Club, Wimbledon, also took up the game in 1875.
Edgbaston Archery Society added Lawn Tennis to its title at the AGM of 1877, three weeks before the All England did the same at their AGM. It is understood that there is no other lawn tennis ground anywhere in the world which pre-dates the grass courts at Edgbaston Archery & LTS. These occupy the same position in which they were laid out originally, on land previously used by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as a plant nursery.
A blue plaque has been awarded by the Birmingham Civic Society, in recognition of the Society’s precedence and the historical importance of the grass courts to the locality and the wider world of lawn tennis.