Squash History

Squash was created around 1865 in England. There are two versions of its origin:

  • One story tells us that squash was created at the famous boardingschool of Harrow and was played outside by boys, who had to wait at the rackets-court.
  • Another story is that squash was created by prisoners who hit a ball against the inners walls of the prison courtyard. These prisoners were often people who couldn’t pay their depts and belonged to the same social class as the students at Harrow boardingschool.

historia squasha2 squash_at_harrow
The first rules and first real court were developed at Harrow. From this boardingschool, squashfever struck at other prominent boardingschools and large university cities like Oxford and Cambridge. From these boardingschools and its former studentes it crossed to London and the British colonies. This is how the famous courts in Peshwar came to be, and how Pakistan reached its dominant position in the squashworld. In Egypt, high ranking gouvernment workers and military personel played squash. In 1939 the Royal Air Force (RAF) sought a sport which had to match several criteria: limited amount of space required, high reactionspeed required, intensive, playable in a short period of time. This is how on all RAF-bases, all across the globe, squashcourts appeared. The british army copied this initiative. Nowadays, one can find squash courts in West-Germany on the (former) RAF-airfields of Brugen and Rheindalen. In short, this made squash popular.

Arriving in the 1970’s, long trousers had gone out of fashion, but wooden rackets were still very much in use, as one can see in the following (dutch) video:

Commercial squash evolved in Australia and then crossed back to England. Commercial squash gave the sport a real boost. Instead of being an elite sport for boardingschools, universities and officers mess’, it was a sport for everyone. Nowadays, squash is the second biggest sports in England. In Germany, with tennis and football, squash ranks in the top 3 of popular sports. Worldwide, squash is played in more then 175 countries, both on a competitive level as well as for recreational play. Estimates are that some 20 million men and women play squash.

Modern squash, while still having the same basics, is quite a lot faster compared to the game 3 decades ago:

bron: squash.nl