From the collection of the late Victor Hugo Watson Junior, WYAS Leeds (WYL1164)


Waddingtons is a company almost synonymous with the city of Leeds as well as with MONOPOLY but was also a printer of playing cards, and other renowned games including Cluedo, Subbuteo and Top Trumps.


MONOPOLY was developed in 1933

It originated from a game called The Landlord’s Game, with Parker Brothers launching the game in the USA in 1935.


MONOPOLY was introduced into the UK in 1936

The very first game was played in England by Norman Watson (the then Managing Director of John Waddington Ltd playing card division and son of Joint Managing Director Victor Hugo Watson) at his home in Horsforth, Leeds. Following that Waddingtons was granted a licence to manufacture MONOPOLY, which it did from its factory on Wakefield Road, Hunslet.


A taxi ride was taken around London to choose place names

The place names on the board were chosen during a taxi ride around London, with The Angel, Islington the only place on the board which is not a street – it was a tea shop.


MONOPOLY is played far and wide

MONOPOLY has been sold in 114 countries and translated into 47 languages. Over 300 different editions of MONOPOLY have been created, including Star Wars, Pokémon, Super Mario and Game of Thrones alongside Yorkshire and Leeds editions.


Escape gadgetry was hidden in MONOPOLY sets during WWII.

Special MONOPOLY sets were manufactured by Waddingtons during World War II to help POWs, with silk and linen escape maps, compasses and metal files inserted into the boards, real currency replacing MONOPOLY money and tokens made of gold and silver to be used for exchange purposes or bribery.


MONOPOLY went out of this world

Special MONOPOLY sets were made for use by American astronauts on long space missions.


Crowning MONOPOLY champions

The first international MONOPOLY Championship was at Washington DC in 1975 to mark its 40th Anniversary with John Mair, a merchant banker from Dublin, taking the first world title.

Prior to this Waddingtons had organised a British Championship followed by a European Championship, with winners of both taking part in the Washington event.


Leeds has its own MONOPOLY edition

Only 500 original sets of Leeds MONOPOLY edition were produced for the Lord Mayor of Leeds Charity Appeal in 1989, making Leeds the second British official location to have its name on a MONOPOLY board.

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