On Table-tennis - Chris Snuggs ('58 to '64)

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: “This is believed to be the only existing photo of Harvey Angel pursuing a sporting activity that involved the expenditure of any physical energy apart from opening his wallet to pay for a bet.There seems, however, to be no actual visual evidence of a table-tennis ball being involved, so it could be a mime, one of the earliest examples of fake news known to the post-war media ...."

Chris Archer - Corners 66-71: “Wow, photoshop in 1964; who knew .....”

Allister Hutchings - Corners 64-67: “Obviously a fake……”

Jon Kemp - Corners 73-80: “He was practising his Tic-Tac.”

Mark Dempsey - Hansons 64-72: “I seem to remember that Harvey was actually quite good and got a wicked spin on the ball.”

Harvey Angel - Hansons 64-71: “Thanks, Mark. That was actually probably the only exercise I got, other than running around the rugby pitch when I used to get sent off for bring the game into disrepute (e.g. passing the ball to a member of the opposing team before they flattened me)."

Toby Blundun - Hansons 68-75: “Harvey organised Hanson's annual table tennis tournament which he laid out in his meticulous italic handwriting and pinned to the noticeboard.”

Harvey Angel: ”I'd forgotten that. However, I now remember that although I may have made it to the semis or even the final, I never managed to to win the bleedin' thing.”

Chris Snuggs: "Well Harvey, I seem to have done you an injustice; there WAS a sport you half-excelled at. But table-tennis is an interesting topic. Is seems there WAS a table-tennis club in 1952, which promptly died at the end of the year, never to be resurrected. THIS is from that year, after which there is no mention, though there are some copies of "Janus" missing.

Daniel Dave O'Byrne - Johnstons 67-72: Harvey was (is?) the top-spin king of North London!! Coincidentally, I played my first game of table tennis in years a couple of weeks ago and was, if I say so myself, still quite good at it - which was a big surprise. I loved playing at school. I think all the houses had a table during my time 67-72. Surprisingly, I don't recall any inter-house competitions.

Harvey Angel: "I was still playing table tennis (at work) until I retired six years ago. Surprisingly, I was able to beat each and every one of my work colleagues (age range 20-55), some of them all the time, others more often than not. It was the oldest guy I played against who'd been beating everybody and proved the most difficult to beat. He was happy to keep challenging me to a game whilst he was winning, but once I'd finally mastered his selection of services and beat him a few times, he didn't want to play any more and eventually took his table tennis table home with him - a bit like a small child who owns the football and picks it up and walks off with it when he's losing!"

Chris Snuggs: "In a way it is a bit odd that more was not made of table-tennis at WHS, One can't compare it to rugby, but ...

  • ... it IS an Olympic sport requiring skill and agility.
  • ... it is quick, cheap and easy to play.
  • ... it is not at all dangerous!
  • ... it doesn't take up much room.
  • ... tables can even be folded up and stored to save room when necessary.
  • ... anyone can play and enjoy it with others of similar ability.

I wonder WHY more wasn't made of it. I suspect that had one or two masters shown a particular interest and been prepared to put some time into it then it could have been much bigger, even with house-matches and so on. We'll never know, and the ONLY souvenir we have is of Harvissimo above, presumably smashing the ball (or pretending to!)

I remember playing in Berners Commonroom in 58 to 60, but never in Halls, though my memory may be faulty. Where else was it played?"

PS Harvey has dug out the original of the above photo, which allegedly revels the location of the mythical ball in the original photo posted.