The History of Squash

Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2013

The history of squash is somewhat shared with tennis. The use of stringed rackets can be traced back to the late sixteenth century although it is more directly descended from the game of racquets. In the game of “racquets” a squeezable ball is hit against walls.

Squash was invented out of “racquets” in Harrow School around 1830. The game later spread to other school and would later develop into the international sport that it is today. Squash was first played on courts that were quite dangerous often being near ledges or water pipes. Owing to the popularity of the game, the school soon built four outside courts. Natural rubber was used for the ball and students would modify their racquets in order to be better suited to the cramped conditions by reducing their reach.

The evolution of the squash racquet has been very similar to that of the tennis racquet. Earlier squash racquets were made from laminated timber. In the 1980s there was a shift towards lighter materials such as graphite with some components being made out of kevlar and titanium. “Gut” strings were replaced with synthetic ones.

The enjoyed increasing popularity in the 19th century with a number of schools, clubs and even private individuals building squash courts. Although at the time there were no official dimensions for a court. The first squash court in North America appeared in 1884 at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire.

In April 1907 the Tennis, Racquets & Fives Association set up a sub committee to set standards for squash. It was only until 1928 before the Squash Racquets Association was created to create set standards for squash in the UK.

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