Birmingham Courts sports development

Six months on from planning approval for a multi-million pound redevelopment of Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club steelwork is rising on the new indoor centre in the redevelopment. Plans were approved in March 2011 for the scheme, Plans approved for Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club development, which includes a new six court indoor tennis centre and permanent grass show court with work beginning in June 2011 with the aim of completing by August 2013.

2011 saw the 30th anniversay of the WTA event, the AEGON Classic, and the new courts will ensure the event continues to be hosted in Edgbaston while also providing improved facilies for the community and the sporting reputation of Birmingham. The site of the indoor tennis centre is a short distance from the improved Edgbaston Cricket Ground and it's own indoor cricket centre.

The extension of the Edgbaston Priory site will also include new squash, gym and leisure facilities together with a major refurbishment of the clubhouse.
As part of the proposals, the club has agreed terms with Calthorpe Estates to lease an additional four acres of adjacent land on the former Tally Ho! Bowling Club site on which the new indoor tennis centre will be built.

The designs for the redeveloped Edgbaston Priory Club have been created by Glenn Howells Architects who are also involved at the nearby University of Birmingham on the Brammall Music Centre.

Images of the redevelopment are shown below.

The redevelopment also provides an important historical link to Birmingham's contribution to the invention of modern tennis. Tennis was played in Edgbaston in 1869 and it was in Edgbaston tennis with raquets on a rectangular court was first played.

Major Thomas Henry Gem (known as Harry Gem), and his friend Augurio Perera, a Spanish merchant developed a game that combined elements of racquets and the Basque ball game pelota, which they played on Perera’s croquet lawn in Birmingham. Originally referred to as Lawn racquets or Lawn pelota, Gem and Perera’s game was being referred to as Lawn tennis by 1872. EPC is one of the oldest tennis clubs in the world.

It is fitting that Glenn Howells Architects who are involved in the Brammall Music Centre at the University of Birmingham which links the history of Chancellors Court to the future should be involved in linking the heritage of tennis in Birmingham to the future in a new indoor tennis centre.

Photos showing the erection of the steelwork for the indoor centre from the 26th September are shown below.


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