Marbles (game)

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Hand-made marbles from West Africa
Different glass marbles from a glass-mill

Marbles is a game played by children with small, round glass balls called 'marbles'.

The balls vary in size. Usually they are about 1/2 inch to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.6 cm) in diameter, but they may range from less than 1/30 inch (0.111 cm) to over 3 inches (7.75 cm).

As the photographs show, the little glass balls can be most attractive, and they are often collected by children. In the North of England the objects and the game are sometimes called 'taws'.

The games has been played in many countries, but the rules are made up by the players, and there are many variations. One standard idea is to have a target marble. Players flick their marbles with their thumbnail, and try to hit the target. Another version is where players try to hit each other's marbles out of a target zone.

Marbles were found in the ancient civilisations of Mohenjo-daro, Ancient Egypt and Rome.

Tinsley Green[change | change source]

Marbles has been played in Tinsley Green, West Sussex, England for many centuries:[1][2] TIME magazine traces its origins to 1588.[3]

The British and World Marbles Championship have been held at Tinsley Green every year since 1932.[1][4][5] The first championship in 1932 was won by a team from the Black Horse public house in nearby Charlwood.

Traditionally, the marbles-playing season started on Ash Wednesday and lasted until midday on Good Friday: it was thought playing after that brought bad luck.[4] More than 20 teams from around the world take part in the championship each Good Friday. German teams have been successful several times since 2000.[1][2][6] Often, local teams from Crawley, Copthorne and other Sussex and Surrey villages also take part.[1][3][7]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Losing your Marbles". BBC Inside Out programme. BBC. 9 June 2003. http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/south/series3/marbles_world_championship.shtml. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sandy, Matt (7 April 2007). "Village rolls out a welcome for World Marbles Championships". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1624160.ece. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Sport: At Tinsley Green". TIME magazine. 17 April 1939. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,761077,00.html. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Collins, Sophie 2007. A Sussex miscellany. Alfriston: Snake River Press. ISBN 978-1-906022-08-2
  5. Aitch, Iain (4 April 2009). "Event preview: British And World Marbles Championship, Tinsley Green". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2009/apr/04/british-world-marble-championship. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  6. Pearson, Harry (26 April 2003). "Going under in the marble halls of Tinsley Green". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2003/apr/26/comment.harrypearson. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  7. Gwynne, Peter 1990. A history of Crawley. Chichester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-718-6