A most generous donation of memorabilia for the archives was received from Karenza and Ken Mathews a few weeks ago, two large boxes filled with programmes, papers and other ephemera from 1961-1978.

Also included were over 140 photographs from a range of sources and dates. The papers and programmes have now been catalogued and the photographs scanned.

The collection is a truly remarkable record of Karenza’s playing days, one of England’s top international players, and Ken’s time as England Manager.  

The number of championships and tournaments which Karenza played in is truly amazing and ranged from her first junior international match at the tender age of 14, followed by her senior debut in 1966. She retired in 1975.

Karenza took part in the first Commonwealth Championships in Singapore in 1971 plus two others, five World Championships with a fifth place in the team event in 1966/67 and 1974/75, four European Championships and more than 30 European League and 40 senior international matches amongst other representative matches.

Karenza was a medallist at the European Championships, European Youth Championships and Commonwealth Championships, she reached the quarter-finals in the Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles at the World Championships and was a medallist at many foreign Open tournaments and a multiple medallist at English Opens at both junior and senior tournaments.

On the domestic front, Karenza won 15 National Championships titles and numerous Open titles around the country. She was a dedicated county player and played 50 matches for Middlesex.

Ken, too, made a significant contribution to English table tennis, putting together a stable of top England international players who under his management created a more professional environment, giving exhibition matches and arranging contracts with manufacturers.

Ken also persuaded the ETTA to grant the players in the International Squad £10 per day (approximately £131 at today’s rate) when they were attending training camps whilst on England duty.  

Added to this, Ken was on several ETTA committees and was England Team Manager at the 1976 European Championships in Prague, where Jill Hammersley (Parker) won the Women’s Singles and with Linda Howard (Jarvis) the Women’s Doubles. He was also Team Manager at the 1977 World Championships in Birmingham.

The collection is a fascinating insight into the world of English table tennis in the 1960s and 1970s, not only for the programmes and other reports but the more personal items such as travel itinerary, playing schedules, details of vaccinations required, tickets for the venues, lunches and after-event parties.

We thank them both for such a substantial donation which adds to the history of English table tennis.

A selection of photos is below. If you can help identifying players, venues or the event in any of them it would be much appreciated. Please contact me at: [email protected]

1950 English Open. Photo by Keystone Press, London.
1954. 6th April. World Championships, Wembley. Photo by Sport & General.
1962. 23rd Feb. Eng Open. Corn Exchange, Brighton. Lesley Proudlock, Hungarians Sarlota Lukacs, Zoltan Berczik, Eva Foldi. By Sport & General.
1962. 24th Nov. England v West Germany at the Guinness Club Room, Park Royal. Dieter Michalek, Erich Arndt, Ebby Scholer, Ian Harrison, Jeff Ingber, David Creamer. By Sport & General.
1962. Photo by Halifax Photos, 357 Mile End Road, London.
1964. Corn Exchange, Brighton. Photo by Keystone Press.
1967. 6th January. Crystal Palace. English Closed. Chester Barnes, Denis Neale, Stuart Gibbs, all to tour Norway & Sweden. By Sport & General.
1969. 27th February. English Open. Corn Exchange & Dome, Brighton. Front right Trevor Taylor. By Sport & General.
1970. Denis Neale, Alan Ransome, Lennie Heppell, T Austin Harrison presents the Victor Barna Trophy. Photo by Evening Gazette, Middlesbrough. Thanks to former international and England captain Brian Burn, who filled in the missing name of Lennie Heppell, father of international Maureen Heppell,
1970. February. Crystal Palace. English Open. Eng v Sweden. Chester Barnes & Denis Neale v Bo Persson & Stellan Bengtsson.
1973. Tour of China. Includes Karenza Mathews, Andy Barden, Paul Day, Anita Stevenson, Desmond Douglas, Donald Parker, Charles Wyles, George Yates.
Brighton Dome and Corn Exchange
Jack & Elsie Carrington Training Camp.
Pam Mortimer, Betty Isaacs (Bird). Copyright John Boyd, Rhodes, Manchester.
The Dome, Brighton. Alma Taft, bottom right.
U21 International Championship