This week for their group project students at OISE Cambridge are presenting a ‘major event’ to be held in Cambridge. There is talk of film festivals (we already have one of those) and of an Olympiad of Games – chess, backgammon, Monopoly, Scrabble, and of course Tiddlywinks.

Cambridge is pre-eminent in tiddlywinks. The game was invented in the late nineteenth century and was marketed under the name Tiddledy-Winks, but it remained a mere children’s pastime until a group of undergraduates met at Christ’s College in 1955 with the explicit aim of identifying a game at which they – none of them notable sportsmen – might represent the university. Tiddleywinks it was.

The game has since spread throughout the UK (mainly the universities) and and the USA, and has seen some notable encounters – for instance between a Cambridge team and the Goons, nominated as champions by Prince Philip in 1958. The Goons lost. And in that time it has developed a rich (or anyway characteristic) jargon of its own – squidger, gromp, squop, crud and Penhaligon are all recognised terms.


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