Board games are a blast from Leeds’ past

Classic Board Game Collection at the Leeds Discovery Centre.Curator of Leeds History Kitty Ross, looks at a pack of Striptease playing cards dated 1937...21st May 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
Classic Board Game Collection at the Leeds Discovery Centre.Curator of Leeds History Kitty Ross, looks at a pack of Striptease playing cards dated 1937...21st May 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

passing ‘go’ and collecting £200 has been a staple of family nights in for generations.

Monopoly, which remains one of the best-selling games of all time, was once published by Leeds master board game makers Waddingtons, also famed for producing whodunnit mystery Cluedo.

Classic Board Game Collection at the Leeds Discovery Centre...21st May 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Classic Board Game Collection at the Leeds Discovery Centre...21st May 2018 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

But while the classics are still played in homes all over the world, the city is also home to a collection of weird and wonderful table-top games that have not quite stood the test of time.

Museum curators have been delving into the Waddingtons collection of more than 1,000 games and jigsaws at the Leeds Discovery Centre to explore gaming trends in years gone by.

Kitty Ross, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of social history, said: “There’s a really impressive and extensive array of games in the collection and each one represents a concept which at the time would have been considered by manufacturers as topical, entertaining or marketable.

“Whilst some of the ideas they came up with have remained popular and recognisable decades later, others were very much of their time and have been mostly forgotten.

“By looking at the collection, we can see which of these ideas are timeless and how much the concept of family entertainment has changed and adapted to suit different fashions and social trends.”

Lose Your Shirt, a 1976 horse racing game, where players would bet on the outcome with the risk of losing their shirt and Scoop!, a 1955 game which involved filling in the blank pages of newspapers with stories and adverts, are among those staff have been looking at.

While some of the collection of games were manufactured by the company others were either being considered for production or being checked for potential copyright infringement.

Coun Elizabeth Nash, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums, said: “Waddingtons and the famous games they created are a captivating and historic Leeds success story which has had a lasting impact of the lives of children and families all over the world.

“The scale of the games we have at the Discovery Centre is also a real tribute to the extraordinary scope of our collection and the efforts of our curators to preserve our local heritage for future generations.”