I covered Toys and Games in an earlier post and wrote about the toys and games which were available to buy. This time I’m looking at the games we played in the home, in the school playground, on a long journey or at a party.
During breaks at school, we never mooched around just chatting as many do today. We played games in groups which could be two, three or more than ten. The skipping games are the ones I remember best as I spent more time playing this than anything else. We had a number of games which involved two children twirling a long rope and a line of children running through or skipping in the middle.
The two I remember best are ‘Under the Moon and Over the Stars’ and ‘The Big Ship Sails through the Alley Alley-Oh’. I have looked up the origins of ‘The Big Ship’ and the most popular theory is that it originated from the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal. That canal opened in 1894 and Manchester is 150 miles away from where I lived. We had no idea what we were singing or where it came from!
We also played circle or ring games such as Lucy Locket and The Farmer Wants a Wife.
On long journeys we played I-Spy, alphabet games and we sang songs. She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain was one and another was Crawshay Bailey. Both songs could be extended indefinitely as we took turns to make up silly verses. I never gave a thought to who Crawshay Bailey was but I have looked him up and he was a 19thC industrialist in South Wales.
Board games, jig-saws and card games featured largely in our family, especially in winter. The main board games we played were Lotto, Draughts, Snakes and Ladders, Tiddly Winks and Solitaire. Later, when we were older, we loved Monopoly and Cluedo. Most people of my age will remember Old Maid and Happy Families. Who could forget Mr Bun the Baker and his family Mrs Bun, Master Bun and Miss Bun?