Friday, 17 August 2012

A Compendium of Pub Games Images - Cribbage Board Special

I think it's safe to say that Cribbage Boards are entirely functional items, having little or no value outside of their basic use, which is the scoring of games, and pub games in particular. However, looking at the small selection of Cribbage Boards shown below, and others I've featured on this blog, it's perhaps easy to see why they might stimulate the latent instinct for 'collecting' which lies in the heart of all men (and a good few women too I guess).

The variety available is literally endless, and therein lies the appeal to the collector. A huge number of simple manufactured boards exist, including those provided by tobacco and drinks companies to advertise their products (and which provide useful sub-categories for the keen collector). But this is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the enormous number of home made and locally crafted boards which still exist in profusion. It's worth remembering that it wasn't so long ago that practically every pub and club would have had a few Cribbage Boards available for Cards, Dominoes, and other games. With many pub games now in serious decline, it's no surprise that so many of these old boards are now available to buy from wherever old and unwanted things are sold, and usually at very little cost.

So Cribbage Boards are both common and (mostly) cheap, and exhibit the kind of limitless variety which makes them ideal for collecting. They can also be quite attractive, tactile, and perhaps best of all, still very useful for their original purpose of scoring games, for which you'll need a set of four Cribbage Pegs. Original Cribbage Pegs are somewhat rarer than the boards, but being (mostly) inexpensive, and exhibiting a wide variety, are also ideally suited to collecting...

I'd like to make it quite clear at this point, that whilst I'm certainly a sucker for any bit of old polished Mahogany or Brass, I don't actually collect Cribbage Boards (or pegs) myself...

These boards are just three of the several available for use at the Prince of Wales Feathers at Castor near Peterborough. The Mahogany board in the middle was presumably for the slightly unusual occasion of a three player game, the one on the left designed to hold a deck of cards.

Triangular Cribbage Boards for a three player game are not uncommon, and are still made today, but I believe this unusual Crib Board may have started life as a Snooker Triangle. The basic construction is of quite a high quality and finish, and yet the scoring holes have been added in a very rough and ready fashion suggestive of local adaptation rather than manufacture or crafting. It's a nice bit of wood nevertheless.

Cribbage and Dominoes are popular at the Devonshire Arms, a pleasant back-street local in Bedford. There seems to be as many branded Crib Boards as there were brands of cigarette, tobacco, and drinks producers. The licensee of the Devonshire Arms is keen to get other pub games, and has reserved a corner of the bar for a slate Shove Ha'penny when he can acquire nice one.
A lunchtime game of Cribbage on the bar-top of the Masons Arms, Bourne in Lincolnshire. The pub has an abundance of games available, including Domino Sets, Darts, Pool, and a Shut The Box; with a similar glut of trophies displayed around the bar from league play.

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