Sunday, 7 September 2014

More Northamptonshire Table Skittles Images

Fetes and Galas in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire villages rarely come without a skittles game of some description, and more often than not this takes the form of a traditional pub Skittles Table. A Northants or Leicester Skittles Table is often the best choice for events like theses as it requires less space than Long Alley, is an easy game for players of all ages, and the rough ground of a village green presents no obstacle to play. A table can even be moved indoors on the rare occasions when the British weather might otherwise stop play! The skittles table shown above and below is earning its keep in the grounds of St Mary the Virgin church in the village of Weston-By-Welland, Northamptonshire. The table is similar in build to a W T Black & Sons model, though not marked as such, and like so many of these old tables, is now in private ownership. The current owners told me that it was originally located at the former White Lion pub in nearby Market Harborough, a former hotbed of skittles play which is now down to only five venues for the game at the last count.

Another village fete, another skittles table raising funds for local causes. This one is my own W T Black & Son table, installed for the day at Cottingham & Middleton Village Fete, no great distance from home but some effort and helping hands are required to move these heavy tables around (right). The table is a 1956 model rescued from a long-closed Royal British Legion club in Rugby, though given that the table was reconditioned at a later date by A R Pinckard of Kislingbury, it may well have had a previous life closer to home.

The venerable old Skittles Table shown above and left was earning a charitable 'shilling' at the Harringworth Village Fete in the hot Summer of 2014. This ex-pub table is missing its 'hood' of netting, and apparently came from a long-closed pub in the village of Deene near Corby in Northamptonshire. The only reference I've found to a pub in Deene is the Sea Horse (below), a rather grand looking stone building and a good example of how almost every pub in the area, no matter how upmarket, would have had a skittles table at one time. The Sea Horse closed for good some time in the 1970's and is now a private residence. The village, like so many in this part of rural Northamptonshire, is now entirely pub-free.

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Northampton Museums and Art Gallery
The slightly home-made looking and, extensively renovated, but undoubtedly old Skittles Table shown below, has been in use at the Benefield Church Fete in Northamptonshire for a good few years. These vintage, sometimes antique tables are kept in playable condition by enthusiasts, usually men of a certain age, and it's great to see them still in use at events like this.

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