Hashing: a History

I’ve long held that hashing didn’t start 1938 with Gispert and the Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers. It’s been around, in various forms, for much longer. This is taken from the home page of Cairns, Australia hasher Gil Jennex:

Hashing: a History

The hunting of deer, hares & foxes using hounds or beagles goes far back into British history. As does the game of hare & hounds or cross-country racing, when two runners (the ‘hares’) laid a paper trail which was followed by their fellow runners (the ‘hounds’). It was known as “hare & hounds”, “paper hunting”, “paper-chaseing”, “coursing”, “fox-hunting”, “beagling”, “cross-country running” or “harriers”.

  • 1867 – Thames Hares & Hounds, Roehampton, west of London, first run.
  • 1898 – There was a cross-country race between England & France in Paris.
  • 1903 – The first cross-country championship was held in Glasgow. The participants were from the many amateur athletic clubs called “harriers”, which had grown up throughout the United Kingdom. With the arrival of other sports [such] as cricket and rugby, the game became less popular. It was revitalized in Malaya in the 1920?s. The British in Malaya had developed an extensive government organization to administer the colonies or protectorates. These civil servants along with the British citizens in other occupations and businesses, produced large local expatriate communities where organized forms of ‘hashing’ slowly grew in popularity.
  • 1913 – The Ipoh tin fields in Malaya started; here ‘harrier’ clubs were formed.
  • 1923 – In Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, there took place a ‘harrier’ paper chase on horseback.
  • 1927 – A Harriers [club] was formed in Kuala Lumpur with men and women runners. It ended in 1932.
  • 1932 – A Hash was started in Jahore Bahru [I think he means “harrier club” – FB].
  • 1934/35 – A Hash [ditto – FB] was started in Malacca. “G” Gispert ran in the Malacca Hash, and Horse Thompson, one of the founding joint masters of the first HHH in Kuala Lumpur in 1938, ran with the Jahore Bahru Hash [ditto – FB].
  • 1938 (December) The Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers was started by “G” Gispert, and unlike other clubs, continued, even surviving World War II. Gispert, with many of his expatriate friends, was a member of the Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur. This club had a Selangor Club Chambers which was the living quarters of single members (including married men without their wives) with a dining room or mess . This mess although it had quite good food, was referred to jokingly or mockingly as the “Hash House”. With this in mind “G” named the new running club the “Hash House Harriers” or “HHH”. A phrase which might have contributed to its continuing popularity.

© 2010 – 2020, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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