30th September is National Sporting Heritage Day and it seems an opportune time to tell you a little about the work of the Archives, Museum and Records Committee and what is available on the TTE website.

We are fortunate in not only having committee members who are actively involved in projects but also other TTE members who are, or have been, carrying out important work to preserve table tennis heritage at national and/or local level.

Colin Clemett continues to compile records; he has also transcribed ETTA AGM/SGM/EGM minutes from 1927-2012 and these should be on the TTE website shortly. Ken Eliot has been working on the major task of creating a comprehensive record of county championships winners in all events and all divisions, not only the teams but the players in those teams. Graham Trimming has recently photographed the majority of artefacts in the archive store and also some items in the Milton Keynes office and has been busy editing and cataloguing them so they can be put on the TTE Flickr collection page.

Additionally, Graham Frankel has scanned all the English table tennis house magazines from 1935-2010, when publication ceased. Eric Hall has transferred all VHS tapes onto disc and continually updates footage from recent tournaments, mainly those involving senior players. John Ruderham has undertaken considerable research sourcing foundation/affiliation dates for Local Leagues and counties and also assisted with the England caps projects, amongst other work.

We are immensely grateful to them all.

TTE subscribe to an organisation called Sporting Heritage and I have taken part in several of their webinars. They held a study day at Wimbledon on 21st September 2023 (above featured image courtesy of Sporting Heritage/Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum) and it was a real privilege to attend where I met like-minded archivists, researchers and historians, all working to preserve the history of a wide range of sporting organisations and clubs. There was the curator of Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, representatives from Dewsbury Rugby League Club, Sunderland Football Club, Stoolball England, Badminton England, National Paralympic Heritage Trust and the Civil Service Sports Council amongst others. The main sponsor Microform gave an excellent presentation on the work they have done in digitising archives and how they can help anyone wishing to digitise their collection. It was an interesting and informative day topped off with a walk around the grounds of Wimbledon, not on centre court unfortunately, and a guided tour of the museum. The main thrust of the day was ‘Sharing Stories’ and listening to the various case studies showed how much commonality and also crossovers there are between the differing sports – and also emphasised the importance of recording those stories now before they are lost.

My archive and research work tends to be more ad hoc rather than project based and areas I have been working on have included:

  • scanning thousands of photographs whether prints, negatives or slides, editing and captioning and using them to help other projects eg VETTS 40th year anniversary
  • scanning cuttings books
  • writing occasional articles for the TTE website, including Friday’s Photos, and event programmes, writing or assisting with obituaries
  • helping Local Leagues, counties and clubs with their research, particularly when a celebratory year approaches – Bournemouth, Hastings, Yorkshire County, Brittania TTC, are recent examples
  • regular visits to the archive store to deposit, sort and catalogue material
  • almost daily requests for help with research and information from a wide range of areas whether TTE, counties, leagues, clubs, individuals or organisations at home or abroad. Recent requests for information have come from as far afield as New Zealand and Canada
  • initiated the England caps project and working towards creating a comprehensive record from 1923
  • set up a detailed cataloguing system

Thanks go to all staff who have assisted in many ways with a special mention to Senior Communications Officer, Paul Stimpson.

Archives store St Leonards-on-Sea

New items are added to the archive collection on a regular basis whether by an occasional purchase from an auction house or a generously made donation. Material that has been added in the last few months has been received from, amongst others, Derek Burridge, Les Smith, Michael Payne, Jill Burtenshaw, Mike Holt, Lynda Reid, Denis Littlewort and Colin French from the late Brian Lamerton’s collection. We are very appreciative of the additions to our history.

So, 30th September is the day when maybe you can consider how you can help preserve the sporting heritage of your club, league or county or perhaps spend time sorting through some of your old photographs, ephemera or artefacts.

I can be contacted at [email protected] if you would like to discuss how you could help us or we could help you.  

Diane Webb

Archives, Museum and Records Committee Chairman