Croquet is an outdoor game of strategy played on grass usually between April and September (in the northern hemisphere) and is played on an equal footing by both sexes.
The game has its origins in France in about the 13th century. Like tennis it has a predecessor game. This was Paille Maille with an Italian or French entomology which was believed to have been played by James I and Charles II. the name gave rise to the street name “Pall Mall” in London and the word Mall as used in Shopping Mall.
The modern Croquet game was introduced to England via Ireland in the 1850s. According to the Jaques of London website John Jaques II invented the game and sold sets and copies of the rules at the Crystal Palace Great Exhibition in 1851. He harmonised the rules printing editions of the rules in 1857, 1860, and 1864 producing about 65,000 copies of his rules and regulations by 1867. The Jaques family company invented several other indoor and outdoor games and still manufactures many types of games equipment.
The Croquet Association was formed as the United All England Croquet Association in 1897 and is the governing body of the game. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club was formed in 1868 as the All England Croquet Club, the first Wimbledon tennis event was 1877.
There are several variations of the game particularly for lawns smaller than the standard size which is 35 yards by 28 yards. This compares to a tennis doubles court of 26 yards by 12 yards.
At Roberts Park in William Gays 1870 plan the layout on the upper terrace to the north of the promenade the 3 largest lawns were designated. West Lawn – Bowls, Central Lawn – Croquet, East Lawn – Bowls. The East lawn was later used for tennis. Bowls and Tennis in Saltaire are now at the Salts Sports Club between the River Aire and the Leeds Liverpool Canal.
As part of World Heritage Weekend 2016 we are holding an introduction to croquet event with the hope if sufficient interest exists of founding a Croquet Club in the Yorkshire Federation where 9 other clubs exist.
See also http://roberts-park.org/croquet-history regarding Croquet and the Salt family.
References and Bibliography
Yorkshire Federation http://www.yorkshirecroquet.org.uk
Jaques of London http://www.jaqueslondon.co.uk