"Pale-maille is a game wherein a round box ball is struck with a mallet through a high arch of iron, which he that can do at the fewest blows, or at the number agreed upon, wins."
The game of mall was a fashionable amusement in the reign of Charles the Second, and the walk in Saint James's Park, now called the Mall, received its name from having been appropriated to the purpose of playing at mall, where Charles himself and his courtiers frequently exercised themselves in the practice of this pastime.
However, whilst Pall Mall and various games bearing this name may have been played in France and Italy and popularised in the UK in the 1800s, there is also the suggestion that the croquet games were popular in England as early as 1611. Some early sources refer to Pall Mall being played over a large distance (as in golf), however an image in Joseph Strutt's 1801 book The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England clearly shows a croquet like game (balls on ground, hoop, bats and peg) being played over a short (garden sized) distance. The description under the image above of 'A curious ancient pastime', suggests that croquet games were not new in early nineteenth century England, and is likely the same origin as Billiards
John Jaques was the major manufacturer of croquet equipment, and indeed Jaques of London still supplies much of the equipment used today. Jacques also played an important role in popularising the game, producing various editions of the rules.
Croquet became highly popular as a social pastime in England during the 1860s; by 1867, Jaques had printed 65,000 copies of his Laws and Regulations of the game. It quickly spread
By the late 1870s, however, croquet had been eclipsed by another fashionable game, tennis, and many of the newly-created croquet clubs, including the All-England club at Wimbledon, converted some or all of their lawns into tennis courts. There was a revival in the 1890s, but from then onwards, croquet was always a minority sport, with national individual participation amounting to a few thousand players.
But the game would not be complete without Pimms No. 1 Cup...
This refreshing mixture originated in 1823. It was concocted by James Pimm, an oyster bar publican, who developed the recipe for flavouring the vile gin ubiquitous in London to make it more palatable. He also added herbs and spices to it to aid digestion.
- Pimm's No. 1 Cup is based on gin
- Pimm's No. 2 Cup was based on Scotch.
- Pimm's No. 3 Cup is based on brandy.
- Pimm's No. 4 Cup was based on rum.
- Pimm's No. 5 Cup was based on rye.
- Pimm's No. 6 Cup is based on vodka.
Pimms No. 3 cup is no longer available, but a very similar mixture, known as Pimms Winter is now being marketed...