Another, as yet unexploited, aspect of the archive are the scrap-books and ‘Childrens Games and Hobbies’ books. In a time before mobiles, gameboys, ipods, ipads and the ubiquitous playstation games consol, children required either organised entertainment (in the form of a clown or magician for birthday parties etc.) or the gumption to get up and amuse themselves.
This particular Book Of Party Games and Hobbies dates from the mid-thirties and includes not only this item on photography (unashamedly aimed at boys) but another on ‘how to build-your-own valve radio’ (also for boys) and another on ‘sewing new clothes for a favourite doll’ (purely for the girls)
Blatantly sexist it is also aimed, quite shamelessly, at the middle-class aspirant family. The language is that of the prep school teacher: informed and unemotional with the intention of providing clarity and understanding.
There are also a series of ‘snakes and ladders’ style games which are quite interesting in their layout and design and probably the best ‘pen & paper’ test match (cricket) game I think I have come across.
Come to think of it, it’s probably the only pen & paper cricket game I’ve ever come across!