Squash was invented in England in the 1860s. There are two competing stories – one that it was invented at Harrow when some boys couldn’t get on to the school rackets court, the other that it was invented in a debtors prison when inmates of the same class as the Harrow boys started hitting a ball against the walls of their cells. From Harrow it soon spread to other public schools and top universities as well as London and the Commonwealth. This is how it found its way eventually into Pakistan, Egypt, Australia and New Zealand. In 1939 the Royal Air Force (RAF) sought a sport which had to match several criteria: limited amount of space required, high reaction speed necessary, intensive, and playable in a short period of time. This is how on all RAF-bases, all across the globe, squash courts appeared soon followed by the British Army.
Commercial squash originally evolved in Australia and then crossed back to England. This gave the sport a massive boost leading to the ‘squash bubble’ of the 1960s and 70s. Instead of being an elite sport for boarding schools, universities and the officers mess, it became a sport for everyone. At its peak squash was the second biggest sport in England and is again gradually making a comeback in popularity and participation along with its sister game racketball which started along side squash in the mid 70s. 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.