A Summer of Play with The National Trust
Visitors to National Trust properties in Nottinghamshire are being invited to step back in time and enjoy traditional games and past-times this summer, just as those once lived and worked there did many years ago.
Games such as tennis, bowling and archery became hugely popular amongst the upper classes from the late 1700s, and were avidly played at many of Nottinghamshire’s great houses and estates. There were also a few games which didn’t catch on, such as ‘Push Ball’. This was played at the 1906 Clumber Park Show and involved two teams on horseback and a giant ball.
Visitors to Clumber Park today won’t be offered a game of ‘Push Ball’, but there will be lots of fun on offer as the ‘Summer of Sports’ gets underway. There are different sports and games to play each day, including tennis, archery and badminton.
Life at The Workhouse in Southwell was a long way from grand country estates like Clumber Park. Pauper children here had few opportunities to play, although National Trust records show that some provision was made for shuttlecocks and battledores for the girls and hopscotch and pole ropes for the boys. Over the summer, visitors can experience Victorian play for themselves, with traditional games such as hopscotch, the game of life, sack races, crafts and a lawn maze.
Nicky Boden, Visitor Experience Consultant at the Trust said: ‘Whilst many things have changed over the years, the ways in which we like to relax and enjoy our free time have stayed remarkably the same. Whether that’s playing a traditional garden game; or just getting out into nature and building a den or climbing a tree.
‘Each place in our care is unique so we design the activities, trails and games to reflect the history of the place they’re in. This allows us to bring the stories of the people who once lived and work there to life, in hands-on and fun ways’.
This summer, visitors to National Trust places in Nottinghamshire can have a go at playing games old and new. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/midlands for details of events and activities across the county.