26 July 2010

Ping-pong, whiff-whaff and other stinky things

100 table tennis tables have appeared at prime locations around London.
More about that below, but it got me thinking that the names 'ping-pong' and 'whiff-whaff' both sound like bad smells, hence this collection of stink pipes, also known as stench pipes.
These tall metal tubes, larger versions of the ones found on many old houses, were put in place to direct the foul smells from underground passageways up and above and away from our ancestors' nostrils, and as you can see, a lot of them are still in place today. Many were quite ornate and designed to blend in with the other street furniture of the day. Indeed, these days, sometimes it's hard to discern whether what's left used to be an arc light or a stench pipe.
For more, see here, here, here, here and here.
The month-long ping pong table event in London is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Innovation Fund and aims to get a million more people playing more sport by 2012. It will then travel to four more UK cities over the next two years, returning to London for 2012 in time for the Olympic Games.
Oh, and according to Boris, whiff-whaff is/was table tennis's original name... something to do with that being the sound the champagne cork made as it was hit with a hard-backed book or cigar tin back and forth across the dinner table.


  1. Your posts about London make such iteresting reading Jane. Its because you concentrate on all the areas of London that others just don't notice as they go about their daily lives.

  2. Ah, thanks. NIce to know I am not just in a world of my own! Just read your 'Who am I?'... I totally agree with the bit about people being lazy and not sussing things out for themselves. Most people stumble through life with blinkers on!

  3. You know about such great stuff Jane. I wonder how many people notice the things you do. xxx

  4. I had a game of Ping Pong at my local park a few days ago and it was good fun. I had kinda forgotten how much fun it can be...

  5. London is known for its old architectural design. I've never been there before and I do hope that I can be one of these days.

  6. In the end, the fame of ping pong in Europe drove game makers to sell ping pong hardware industrially, from the outset under the name "Gossima." But the name "Ping-Pong" was at that point broadly utilized before English producer J. Jaques and Son Ltd. formalized it in 1901. check here


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Thanks, Jane