Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pushpenny

Pushpenny is a game similar to Shove Ha'penny, though not nearly as widely played. The object of the game is to propel coins or discs up a highly polished wooden board, landing three in each of nine beds to win. Old Victorian pennies are used in Pushpenny, and the boards are all locally made, and therefore all slightly different. The last remaining centres of Pushpenny play are Stamford in Lincolnshire, and to a lesser extent Hastings in Sussex, though there are surely other boards in regular or occasional use. The Royal Oak near Rugely in Staffordshire is a good example of a pub which proudly boasts a Pushpenny Board.
A Pushpenny Board, probably from the Stamford area originally, but now in my ownership. The playing surface is highly polished Mahogany, with a softer, coarser grained wood used for the scoring areas at the sides. This board has a slightly shallower piece of hardwood screwed to the end of the playing surface to collect over-hit coins, as well as a vertical stop bar. The beds on a Pushpenny Board are designed to accommodate an old Victorian Penny, as opposed to the smaller Half Pennies used in Shove Ha'penny.

My own Pushpenny Board in use on the cider bar at the Leicester CAMRA Beer Festival in 2012

This board is housed at the Jolly Brewer in Stamford. The design is similar to my own, though the slightly shallower run off at the end of the playing surface has been created by planing the wood a little more rather than fixing a separate piece to the main playing board.

This shows the line separating the playing surface from the scoring area,. The attractive worked grooves indicate that these boards are often made by local craftsmen, and with a good measure of skill and pride in the job, not merely as functional pieces of polished wood.
There is a short feature on the Stamford Pushpenny game here: http://www.bestlocalliving.co.uk/2011062310114/Activities-Culture/push-penny.html

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