Croquet's origins are murky, but because of its relative ease of play and low barrier of entry, it went through a surge in popularity almost as soon as it was documented.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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The richest, most powerful place on earth of fiction podcast to one based on an epic scale. Powders. Everything powered gives everything we have to get away from this place. To my bay is our destiny. Now, on the I hope, because network through money, I listened to all episodes of Tuna Bay Seasons, one until now for free on the Iheart Radio, up apropos costs or wherever you get your broadcasts welcome to stuff you missed in history class. The production of I hurried used. How stuff works, hello and well founded upon cast I'm Holly, for, I am frankly be Wilson Tracy. We recently had a listener mail that requested long games as a topic guy think we re that on the air, and then I couldn't get it out of my head off
Atlanta is having a frequently warm winter. So far we had snow this pass. We give the today it's in the sixties. I was this everywhere for equipment. Does it and was like? Well, it is sticky spring time I now, even though it is that that point January yeah was very January if mousy itself together, it is there a lot of confused plants, bloom at my house in my lawn- is having a pretty significant identity crisis swear it is also trying to grow, and then the weeds are coming in so it actually kind of does seem like a weird spring year, even though I know a cold snap is coming anytime, but it does put. In the mind of long games. Gonna invent a new sport called leg, winter croquet, which is what Tell you about today because, as I started, looking at long games. Crowed cake came and took the lead in terms of available information. I still love to do a survey of other ones, but there was so much interesting stuff about croquet that I wanted to talk
about it, because, while the origins of it are really really cloudy and we're gonna talk about that, there have been plenty of books written on the subject in the last two hundred and fifty years, many of which are very charming and sort of funny from the modern perspective. So to start, let's cover just the basic rules of croquet as its played today. The regulation size for a court is a hundred by fifty feet. That's roughly thirty by fifteen metres, although for casual play, the dimensions can be altered to suit the available space I hang out with a lot of casual but very dedicated croquet players at boy. Oh boy, do we have some non standard play sizes in nice? The social The space is usually marked out with stakes or stirring and wickets are placed in the space to create a pointed figure, eight shape with a wicked at each port. Give at the top and the bottom of this figure. Eight there to croquet wickets placed close to one another, with a stake at the very top and bottom of the arrangement. This arrangement,
This is a total of nine wickets that play starts at the bottom of this figure and every ball needs to move through each wicket first along the right side of the diamond up through the double wicked at the top hitting mistake. That's there and then turning in moving back down the figures. On the opposite side, two teams compete taking turns to move all their croquet balls through this configuration by tapping the balls with the ends of the mallet, not the sides the first team to successfully get all the croquet balls through the course wins, and there are of course, more rules than that and a lot of house rules. If you know a lot of room players, but the basic lay is how that's how they gave works today, however, there is another variation in the. U S: a version of croquet exists using only six wickets. These are arranged so that they form to triangles that point toward the center of the established court and
these can be that court can be a just fifty by forty feet, that's roughly fifteen by twelve metres, so much smaller. Game play in the six wicked arrangement has the balls played in kind of a spiral that starts at the outside edge to work. In word, for the first six points of play and then restart from another point on the exterior of the wicked some moves: inward for the last seven points in it Eighteen, ninety seven book on crow case history, author our third lily, opens with a story about a friend whose doktor told him that the crazy work work work. Lifestyle of the eighteen sixties was making people ill. We can have a moment of aside to just laugh at how they would be terrified at the workload of most people, in twenty twenty. In this particular case, though, the explanation was that quote: work keeps the mucous member. Of the brain in perpetual irritation. Many use that excuse all the time
fresh air was the recommended treatment and, after unsuccessfully trying out things like long walks. What really helped the patient, who was where'd you, man named Dunbar Isidore Heath was croquet. He went on in his writing to proclaim quote croquet according to many medical men as the healthiest game in the world, seeing that it furnishes the great does that Iraq M of the over worked nineteenth century, the maximum of daily fresh air and amusement with the minimum fatigue. You also points out that the beauty of the game is its accessibility, Thomas. Anyone to play it can be intellectually simulating, as the player has two strategies, but it's not actually taxing thirty years prior to Arthur Lily, a man named Walter Jones Whitmore, similarly extolled the virtues and noted the appeal of croquet in his one thousand eight hundred and sixty eight book croquet tactics- writing quote
it simply as an outdoor amusement, affording healthy exercise and excitement to a number of people who only got their exercise. Formerly and the dull round of a constitutional walk. We are back to confess that it has conferred an immense boon to society which Boon society gratefully acknowledges by its attachment. Then it is a game suited to every age and both sexes. This was, of course, rate element of success from the first, the same right He also mentions that croquet has an edge over both billiards and cricket, because the financial barrier to entry is pretty low by comparison. It's not a luxury sport, but it's one that during nice weather can be found almost anywhere as long as there's a spot of greenery, but for hard enough, you just need a little little open, fairly flat piece of law. Anybody can play
Arthur. Lilies book also quotes the Reverend J Woods explanation of the name of this game in his work quote, the word croquet Is derived from a french word croquet to crunch, with the teeth This word is used to describe the sound caused by eating anything very hard and bring all the work. Is used to distinguish the game in consequence of the crackling sound of the malady against the ball. However, though, that It is very charming lilies at this, Mrs, this entire explanation is complete nonsense and explains that the product ballots in the games that predate croquet were themselves called crow case and that that derive from the old french word crush, which translated to crooks. So the origins of games are almost always a little. Murky because a lot of these diversion start out pretty organically. They evolve over time as people make up things to do. Historically, people haven't just documented the moment when they came up with a game for the most part
yeah. It's not like codes of Densher or or any of of the sort of gaming trend of today where people are like I'm going to come up with a game, and it is well documented this Definitely more of a casual. We could hit that thing with. That thing speaks rules While there are variations in how the game spread, and Its rules were refine. It is general we believed to have originated in western France. Britain me specifically as early as the thirteenth century players in this protocol, croquet entertainment according to the Croquet Foundation of Amerika quote: used crudely fashioned methods to whack wooden balls through hoops made of willow branches and the mid. Sixteen hundreds, the english lexicographer Thomas Blunt, described the game sway quote a game wherein around bowl is with a mallet struck through a high arch of iron standing at either end of an alley which he can do. We at the
waste blues or at the number agreed on wins. The game is heretofore used and the long alley near Saint James is and vulgarly called Pell Mell on April second, sixteen sixty one during the restoration Reign of Charles. The second Samuel Peeps, recorded an instance of watching the Duke of York play a game. That he calls Pell Mell. He spells it p. L e dash Emmy only the king himself, was said to love the game, and two years later, peeps interviewed the man who looked after what pizzas by time calling the Pell Mell. That's the yard used play the game and spell the way it sounds p. L, L Emmy allow and the area that used for playing was made up of a mix of earth covered with powdered cockle shells and then the name Pall Mall is another variation of the two that are already noted in pieces. Writing an there, others, it is possible,
that the mall in this case is an angle accusation of my yea, which is the french word for mallet, we're going to talk a little bit more about how pall mall Malware pie my was played, but first we're going to pause for a quick sponsor break. Hey listeners. I wanted to tell you about a new podcast from my heart radio called the women hosted by we read it is. Fascinating and deep dive interview show, where rose talks, to change makers and disruptors, and she finds out what really drives them. So she will ask to that. What was your first stand and how do you navigate success and failure, and really the cost of fighting for others. These interviews are really personal and their candid answer those there a little bit crass, but they are always really enlightening. You can lose these firebrands, and take away lessons that will help you navigate your own life and for your own path. The debut season includes women like Valerie Plain, the former CIA agents, who is now running for Congress and
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it seems like it should be easy, but it's not just getting out of bed and getting your day started. Trying to accomplish everything you need to do in your day that to do list as a lot easier when you're getting news stories and music to lift your mood and preparing for the day ahead connected to the things that make you laugh and make you think or make you want to reach out and share with a friend every morning with us. It's Elvis Doran in the morning show listen to us on cue, one or two or anywhere in the world on the Iheart Radio, APP. So this game with many names but we'll go pall, mall or Pell Mell was played as essentially along alley. It is sometimes described as being something between golf and modern. Ok, unlike croquet, we did a ball mallet with curved heads and an arch that players to
to get the ball through the arches in one thousand seven hundred and seventeen a book titled is good to me, written by masseur. Look ye offered instructive advice on playing Make quote the body ought not to be either to straight or too much curved but moderately incline so that in striking it may be supported by the strength of the loins. While we turn it gently back from the waste upwards, raising the head, without ever losing sight of the ball, so user core strength with this and not just Your arms yeah Lucky also shared a story of a unique bald that was used for this game. So at this point Pell Mell balls were normally about six inches in diameter. They are made from a substance called dudgeon, and that is the route of the box tree and that It was then beaten carefully into this ball shape quote. There was a ball of great renown, the history of which will perhaps not be useless.
Disagreeable and will show what importance in the game of mall is a good ball. A ball merchant of Provence brought a large bag of them to axe the players who were in Greece number in this town bought them all at thirty Sou piece except one only which not being so pretty as the others was rejected, a good player named Bernard, came the last and bought this waste ball, for which he would not give, but fifteen suit Wade, seven houses into two drams and was of ugly wood and half of it reddish he played it. Long time finished it, and it became so excellent that when he had along stroke to make it never failed him at his need and lead infallibly to his winning the match. This ball became famous became known as the Bernard, and it was so covered the M renown that its next donor refused numerous offers to purchase it, including a proposed trade in which would be. Buyer offered thirty pistols clearly
the very valuable ball. It was, however, occasionally low down to famous players for matches, though so, in addition to this point, version of Pall Mall the Lahti a text also describes to, there are various options. The first of these was something called Chicago Pall Mall, which was a lot like gulf. It was played in an open field with specified targets, usually naturally occurring obstacles like trees and rocks and instead mallet they used crooks when the third version was played. A lot like billiards other accounts, These games suggests that they were completely different sports in his one thousand. Eight hundred and ninety seven history of croquet, Arthur Lily, made the point that many sports, in addition to Pall Mall, including hockey and polo hat version in their history, which was called shook or you'll see, it sometimes called she came. So they may have all had some sort of commonality from which they branched evolved in
In some cases, combined with other games, a makes the case that this may be in part due to the changing seasons and Brittany where the rudimentary game started, they would have played a version of the game that evolved into hockey in the winter and one more like golf. Spring and as the summer got hot than movement was a lot more arduous. The limited range version that was played within an alley or a court would have become the standard. Now suggests that on the most uncomfortable days, the players might have just simply practice their pudding. So hot. I only want to put Paul fella. Favour in England over time, but as it declined there, it seems that some version of it was introduced to Ireland. Clear exactly how this sport migrated from France, but by the eighteen thirties. It was popular in the areas around Dublin and the rules had started to become more uniform and the early eighteen fifty's,
game, as had evolved in Ireland, included the basic rules that were developed there. They were exported to Poland, where the modern version of the game was first played with the name cookie yeah, I m. Unclear on whether that is just an Englishman. Writing a snooty phonetic of how he thinks irish people speak, but because it's literally see our o o k Y know the version retail croquet, says, were also introduce during this time the eighteen these by Jacques of London, which still exists after some name shifting as Jacques of London, there croquet set Briggs on their website, which they still offer include copy that states that the company invented the sport should a matter of some debate were even early on in croquet is modern era popularity. The origin of the game was still debated in a letter
penned by a doctor prior in the late eighteen. Hundreds on this matter, he wrote quote, who invented croquet or who improved our rustic game into one fit for polite society is a question that has often been asked and has never been answered. One thing only as certain it is from Ireland that it came to England and it was on the lawn of the late Lord Lonsdale. There was first played in this country. How long it had been practised in Ireland or in what year his lordship introduced it. Nobody knows it may be praised, but that it did not occur to anyone and it's perfect form as we have it now, but was built up so to say bit by bit with hence and contributions from many different people, which is exactly how most things devolve. History. Priors position, though, was that croquet did not evolve from Pall mall as that game hadn't been And so long that no one probably even remembered it enough to revive it in any sort of revised version, but one thing about
Kay was entirely clear to prior. He wrote quote nothing, but tobacco smoking has ever spread as quickly croquet eventually made its way to the. U S from Europe in it quickly became very poppy here too, from the MID eighteen, hundreds up until them. Eighty nine b that state side appeal grew, but in the last decade of the nineteenth century it was lumped end with drinking and gambling due to its popularity on Boston Common, where there's other entertainments were also popular. After that its popularity decline for several decades now had a little low smear on its identity. I am I'm trying to think if I've ever seen people playing croquet on Boston, common and I'm liked- I don't think I've seen anyone do is it allowed it's because of my eighty nineties. They now Craig, I soo much trouble with the croquet on Bosnia rides the associated with vices that were not healthy,
the beginning in the nineteen twenties croquet. In the U S once again became popular as it was embraced by various celebrities at their other rings and gained a fresh wave of cachet. The United States, Croquet Association, was founded in nineteen. Seventy seven, took a little while by Jack Osborne and the east, which the rules for that six wicket kind of abbreviated style of play that we mention at the top of the show. That association still exist today, in nineteen. Eighty, seven, the American Croquet Association was born to support gameplay with the international rules. So with more wickets, though the USA, now oversees most events that feature international rules, gameplay and there's a pretty significant overlap in May. Worship, the verb diagram has a big such next. We're going to discuss two interesting figures
her case history and one significant organisation that has shifted away from the sport of croquet in favour of another game. I will get to that after a word from our sponsors, allowing we have some excel big news yeah, I am wildly excited and people will have another opportunity to watch. We cry at art, yeah, you sounded so calm and it's not a calm situation at all. Our trip to Paris last year was really successful, so we're doing another similar trip this year, but this time to Rome and Florence, its May fourteen through twenty first twenty twenty and like last time it is with a company called defined destination.
Two is planning out this ultra for us yeah and during that week long trip. We are gonna to see some of the great art that we have talked about on this show many times, including Michelangelo's David. We are going to go to Tuscany, we're gonna visit Saint St Peter's. We are going to the Sistine Chapel, so it's going to be a fantastic trip, even get the whole list of places that we are going and information about information at defined destinations, dot, com, scroll down to the roman foreign Strip, Florence Stuffy, Miss than history glass or come over to our social media,
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now on the only hope, of course, network to listen to all episodes of Tuna Bay Seasons, one until now for free on the heart, radio, up apple pie, costs or wherever you get your pull costs. One of the most prominent figures encroaches. History is Walter Jones Whittemore, who we mentioned earlier. We was born in eighteen, thirty one and became acquainted with croquet in eighteen sixty when he was still young. Twenty nine. He was working at the time as a government clerk, and he pick up the game casually playing with the people in his neighborhood of mortal
in March and Glister Sure England. At this point there wasn't a standardized set of rules for the game beyond a very friendly version. Different companies were producing croquet sets for recreational use than every company had its own version of the rules that was included with the set Whittemore recognise that if the sport was going to be taken seriously, there needed to be a clear. Standardized rules that for competitive play, so he wrote some. Yet there were rules that have been developed, but of them the latter house rules for everybody, the plain and, as we said, different different companies that made sets made their own shifts the rules, and he thought like this is a sport that could be like a pro sport, but it's gonna need some more structure. These rules that he came up with were published by a periodical called the field and they came to be known the field rules or real, sometimes see them listed as the field laws, and they did shift public thinking on sport
dinner it as more than just a backyard pastime. The same you that the field rules came out, which was eighteen. Sixty six Walter Whitmore, also publish a book which uses a lot of the articles that have written to establish these these rules, and that was called the science of croquet and one thousand eight hundred and sixty seven Whitmore established England's first croquet tournament, which she also one that championship status led to his book. Croquet tactics he explained to the introduction quote: the present volume is a compilation My articles, which appeared in that journal, the field, although considerably enlarged and with the addition of several points which have sense, occurred to me. He next established the all England, Croquet Club and after failing to secure a permanent home for the easy he next founded a seconds. All England Croquet Club, which became the National croquet club. Both of these clubs works together with Whittemore leadership to
find the sport rules further in subsequent years, and then he died in eighteen. Seventy two at the age of forty one women's well then in the game of croquet, has been touted almost as long as the sport. His exists under that name one of the selling points of croquet, as we mentioned at the top of the episode, is that it is something that many people can do, because it is not especially physically demanding caricaturist John Lead, made engravings in the 1860s featuring ladies playing croquet alongside gentleman and his one thousand eight hundred and sixty two etching a croquet match. A large group of people is playing including Sir women of the women are leaning forward playing the game. Their large caves crinolines lift their dresses. They slightly expose the petticoats that are underneath leeches one thousand eight hundred and sixty five piece titled at nine game for two or more shows a guy and party with a woman preparing a shot ass. She looks one of her male opponents. The caption for this image reads
fixing her eyes on his and placing her pretty little foot on the ball. She said now Am I going to croquet you and croquet? He was completely Arthur Lily history we referenced several times even mentions and interpreting a pole about croquet that lists a number of other sports quote. All these games are inferior to k for they exclude Ladys, and there was, incidentally, a nickname for an adaptation of the game which was called crinoline. Croquet I didn't really have anything to do with women, so it just like clarify our man in case you come across it. This was just a game, played on a smaller scale with smaller implements these views, was apparently considered far less serious by more devoted players of the game, but also the reason that its popularity spread so quickly as it could be played even on tiny backyard lawns. It was also, here. According to lilies estimate, ninety percent of enthusiasts were playing. This is again not be professional tournament version
the more casual version, and it is really that version that came across the Atlantic and became popular in the. U S. I bet there's one woman in particular, who had a surprising rise to fame is a croquet player. Her was the Lily Gower when she was wealth in eighteen. Ninety, eight, at the age of twenty one, the relatively inexperienced Gower entered a tournament in bodily, which is a coastal town in EAST Devon. England she had never played in public before and after a fairly boring run of the beginning of the tournament. It ended up that the Comer Gower was up against Mr C E Willis a champion player for the finals. The finals were best of three situation. Billy had been categorized as having beginners luck by most people in attendance, but in the first round of playing the veteran will ass. She beat him and then the second, which was heavily attended after Gower success in the first game, Willis came back and play the credibly well, beating the young.
And easily appeared the lilies luck had run out, but in the third game she trounced Willis, winning in just thirty five minutes with a twenty six point lead. So while they were still detractors that shocked all this. To just good luck on her part. That was really the beginning of a successful career in sport for her we got our went on to win a lotta championships. Yes, she also ended up married to another croquet player to love There is also another name encroaches history that I would bet is very familiar. To our listeners, which is Wimbledon the support that you probably think of when you hear that name is tennis with good reason, but what when was actually associated with croquet. First we're going to jump back first to the Walter Jones Whitmore story. He had, as we just mentioned, sound of the all England Croquet Club in eighteen, sixty eight for years before his death.
We mentioned, that he had some difficulty finding a permanent home for the club and once that was finally secured, it was near. The Wimbledon train station station name in the club became totally intertwined and one thousand eight hundred and seventy five, the club in an effort to stay relevant and to capitalize on another sport that was gaining in popularity, changed its name to the all England, croquet and lawn tennis club by eighteen, eighty croquet had vanished from the name as Teghmus which a wider appeal because it was a little bit more of a spectator sport made use of the clubs lawns. It is now accident, the two Wimbledon tennis courts, fit just about perfectly into one croquet court, because the space was converted from to the other, but Croquet and Wimbledon divorce did not stick. Croquet once again became part of the
England Club in eighteen. Ninety nine. Although the order was reversed so that it became the all England lawn, Tennyson, Croquet Club elbowed, all England Club is commonly used when the club moved in the nineteen twenties. Croquet did not move with it, although it stayed in the official name in the nineteen. Fifty ease the once again picked up croquet, but it has remained a secondary aspect of Wimbledon had only one croquet court until two thousand seven, that one was removed and then three new ones were installed in two thousand aim during high time. A season Croquet players have to play elsewhere they usually I'd turn described they they do like for a kind of open tournaments, the club easier and far away in the Away Windsor scheduled when tennis is in itself. Then, because those lawns there would be used,
croquet are used as practice areas for the more prevalent sports. The very brief glib set crook Hitler. History will talk about the fact. Here's the thing. I know that if you are in England they do the accent differently suits croquet rather than croquet like whether its Mary Out or Marriott Rights, precisely but yeah, it's fun little Thinking of spring already. So it was a fine adventure to consider going outside and playing on the lawn here. I am as as I was reading through this outline. I read a really interesting article about the spread of England or the spread of croquet through, like places that England or Britain had colonized and, like its introduction into
and then Egypt becoming like the dominant home over Kirby Irish. So like it's a game that has had a whole trajectory beyond its origins. Oh yes, yeah. We I stuck to the very european kind of developmental rules because once a year passed out of their it exploded and became like a worldwide, for I definitely do not get into the more competitive. There are not very many, but there are professional group Cape Layers today that that is their full time. Thing is just one of the many evolutions of any sport, difficult popularity think there they have them listener. Mail Also. I do this and is very exciting to me, because I am selfish for this.
From our listener, Erika who writes a low alley Tracy. I am grateful for your work, researching rating and talking I'm a public school english teacher and how a fax Nova Scotia my views your Prague Castle about the Halifax exclusion as a mentor text. Thank you for being an entry Erika. I know that Holly appreciates fashion. So here is a unique book related to clothing and costumes from three areas with a taste of Nova, Scotia and influence of Paris enjoy. She sent is beautiful book called Transatlantic and it is the art of fashion, a costume design in Paris. In fact, there is a lot of really fabulous arts in here there's a lot of porridge
she's, going on it's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and it makes you wanna Rehnhjelm men make pretty outfits. So thank you so much Erika, it's absolutely gorgeous. I'm in a poor over it may take it. I mean ex trips. I can just ghak at eight inflate. I always love it when I get will fashion, but she also had some cute the postcard that she said that she read the note on ashes. A p s, arms that, on the front, is a doctrine which reminds me my dog, Duke he is a mix of dioxin go abroad, Hound, which, to me seems like the cutest combo on the planet so dupe. I hope Feminine great day, if he would like sure I do, as you could do so at history pie cast an eye heart radio, dark com. You can also find us everywhere and social media as missed in history, and we encourage you to We subscribe to the show you can do that on the Iheart radio, app Apple podcast, it is who like to listen step even than Israel, the production of Iheart radios. How stuff works for my party?
for my radio, bigger by her radio apple pie, guests or work You listen to your favorite shares. The richest most powerful place on earth of fiction. Podcast two men based on an epic scale, powders everything powered, gives everything we have to get away from this place to man by his our destiny. Now, on the help of course, network through money, I listened to all episodes of Tuna Bay Seasons, one until now for free on the heart, radio, up apple pie, costs or wherever you get your pockets
it seems like it should be easy, but it's not just getting out of bed and getting your day started, trying to accomplish everything you need to do in your day that to do list as a lot easier when you're getting news stories and music to lift your mood and preparing for the day ahead connected to the things that make you laugh and make you think or make you want to reach out and share with a friend every morning with us, it's Elvis Joanne in the morning show listen to us on cue or two or anywhere in the world on the Iheart Radio, APP.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-19.