We have a mission: to follow the route of an old 1940s board game around Great Britain, sticking to the instructions as closely as we possibly can. Along the way we will look at the history of the places we visit, with a particular focus on how things have changes since the tour was created around 70 years ago. Let’s start with a bit of explanation first:
My mum had kept from her childhood a board game called Tour of Great Britain. Players had to move around the board as if following a tour around the country, starting and ending at the Houses of Parliament in London. My wife and I came up with the idea of how much fun it would be to do the route for real, but before we could do that we needed to find out a little bit more about the game itself.
All my mother had kept was the board itself, so we were missing the game instructions. This would be important as there would obviously be more information in the instructions about what we were supposed to do on the tour. After much searching I managed to track down a complete game for sale on Ebay, and snapped it up. The box revealed that the full title of the game was Coaching Tour of Great Britain. So from the word go, we knew that although we were going to follow the rules as closely as possible, we could not be completely strict about this – we were not going to ride round the country in a coach and horses for two reasons (1) it would take forever and (2) we are not millionaires. Also in the box were the original instructions, the board in amazing condition, far better than my mum’s board, and even the original dice (sorry, I know it’s “die” but can we just dispense with that and accept that the English language has moved on, as it always does!)
Pinning down the date of the game is tricky. We will look at that in the next blog post and also something of the history of Chad Valley, who made the game.
So we will be following the route and writing about our adventures and any interesting historical information that is appropriate for each location. There will be a photo of the game board at each location. All of this will be included on the Windows into History blog. I realise that this is far beyond the original remit of the blog and should really have its own blog but (a) creating a new blog is actually quite hard work and (b) Windows into History already has a decent size of readership with plenty of loyal readers, who I think will get some enjoyment from reading about this, particularly the history side of things. The locations are of course some of the most important sites in the country, at least from the perspective of the game creator in the 1940s.
This is quite an undertaking and will be an occasional feature of the blog for a long time to come. We can’t do this all in one hit. Whilst that is theoretically possible, the route includes 55 locations, with a total mileage of somewhere in the region of 3000 miles (Google maps plots all the locations at 2940 miles). Maybe we could do that all in one go comfortably in six months, keeping it as an enjoyable and unrushed experience, but we can’t be travelling the country for six solid months due to work commitments and, again, not being millionaires. So we will be following the route in sections for now, as and when we can. Maybe one day in the distant future we could retire and buy a mobile home, and do it all over again in one hit!
I hope you enjoy reading about our Tour of Great Britain!
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