Records of the English Table Tennis Association

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

English Table Tennis Association, including: English, foreign and local Table Tennis publications including handbooks, magazines, programmes etc.; other papers of the association including annual report, minutes, papers re world championships, the European Table Tennis Championships, Wembly 1966 and other tournaments, memberships papers etc.; papers of Ivor Montagu; papers of the National Umpires and Referees Committee 1951-1978; committee files, minutes and papers; miscellaneous items including some artefacts

Administrative / Biographical History

The founder of Table Tennis was James Gibb, a long distance runner and founder of the James Gibb and Co. Engineering Firm in the early 19th century. He is said to have given the name to Jack Jaques who then patented and sold the idea as 'ping-pong'. The game was originally played as a parlour game, often called 'Whiff Whaff' using vellum rackets like drums with handles one foot long. The Ping Pong Association was founded in 1902 but the game was never taken seriously and seemed destined for national death. Attempts to revolutionise the game by changing its techniques were discouraged by some of its founders. Difficulty also arose because the name 'ping-pong' was a registered trade name and thus the control of the game was in the hand of manufacturers of equipment.

In 1925 more progressive officials realised that the name 'ping-pong' was a handicap which the game would never live down. Thus, the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) was founded and the Ping Pong Association faded away.

By 1956, ETTA, sole arbitrators of Table Tennis in England had 260 leagues, 8000 clubs and 200 000 affiliated players and had taken the lead in world table tennis, embracing over 50 affiliated countries. This encouraged both European and World Table Tennis competition

Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to bona fide researchers

Acquisition Information

English Table Tennis Association, Development Officer, Hastings; 2 Dec 1986

Other Finding Aids

A finding aid is available for consultation in the reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and Licensing rules available on request