Uppies and Downies
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Workington in West Cumbria is home to a tradition known as "Uppies and Downies", a version of Medieval football and with roots in even earlier games. The modern incarnation of Uppies and Downies was rejuvenated some time in the latter half of the 19th century. Workington still holds annual Uppies and Downies matches every Easter, raising money for various local charities.
The game 
The object of the game is to "hail the ball" (throw it up in the air three times) at the opposing team's goal. The Downies goal is a capstan at the harbour and the Uppies is the gates of Curwen Hall. There are no other ostensible rules of play and the game is primarily a rough and tumble scrum interspersed with break-away sprints by members of one team or the other (with some similarities to rugby). There are about 1000 players on each team.
A player drowned in the Derwent River in 1983.
The owner of Curwen Hall awards a sovereign to the player who hails the ball.
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'Uppies' and 'Downies' refer to the residents of the top (East) and bottom (West) of the town, which slopes down East-West towards the sea. In the modern incarnation of the game, the 'downies' were originally residents of the marsh and quay, a large important working class area of the town demolished in the early 1980s. Hence the definition of who is a 'downy' is now changed from the original.
The modern incarnation of Uppies and Downies, for decades after its inception, in effect contained strong elements of rivalry between the seafarers around the marsh and the colliers of the top end of the town, and significant class undertones, the marsh and quay traditionally being looked down with somewhat disdain on by the more affluent top of the town, where the local petty bourgeoise were generally located.
The game is under threat, as the building of a Tesco Extra store looks set to get the go ahead on the playing area of the Uppies and Downies.
- A brief history of the Uppies and Downies (www.uppiesanddownies.info)
- "Police issue Uppies & Downies warning". North West Evening Mail. 21 April 2006. Retrieved November 27, 2012.