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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

IndustryBoard & card games
Founded19th century (as a printing firm), 1922 (gaming company)
HeadquartersLeeds & London
Waddingtons Christmas Jigsaws
Playing cards

Waddingtons was a British manufacturer of card and board games. The company was founded by John Waddington of Leeds, England and the manager, actor and playwright Wilson Barrett, under the name Waddingtons Limited. The name was changed in 1905 to John Waddington Limited, then Waddington's House of Games, then Waddington Games, and finally just Waddingtons.

Founding and history[edit]

The company was established as a printing business, and at first 'practically all its business related to the theatre'.[1] It entered into game production in 1922, due to a boom in demand for playing cards around World War I.[2] Waddingtons subsequently sold both original games (especially tie-ins for UK television programmes) and games licensed from other publishers.

Waddingtons became the UK publisher of the US Parker Brothers' Monopoly, while Parker licensed Waddingtons' Cluedo.[2] In 1941, the British Directorate of Military Intelligence section 9 (MI9) had the company create a special edition of Monopoly for World War II prisoners of war held by the Germans.[3] Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money and other objects useful for escaping. They were distributed to prisoners by fake charitable organisations.[4]

Victor Watson, the grandson of Victor Hugo Watson was its chairman from 1977 to 1993.[5][6] While well known for games, they never provided more than 15% of profit; Victor continued his father Norman's emphasis on improving packaging technology, such as folding cartons and microwave trays. From the 1970s the popularity of video games hurt game sales, and after Victor's retirement,[7] the company was bought by Hasbro in 1994.[8]

Beginning in 1994, Christmas-themed jigsaw puzzles were released annually until 2007. The first twelve in the series depicted a scene from a Victorian-era Christmas. The final puzzle depicted a scene from the fairy tale Cinderella. The small number of puzzles, combined with them being limited editions, has made these puzzles highly collectable.[9] Further jigsaws have been produced since 2010 by a new company, using the same brand name.[9]


Among the games published by Waddingtons were:


  1. ^ David Thornton, Leeds: A Historical Dictionary of People, Places and Events (Huddersfield: Northern Heritage Publications, 2013), s.v. WADDINGTONS.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Jason M. (November 2006). "The Tabletop Trio". Knucklebones. Jones Publishing.
  3. ^ Brian McMahon (29 November 2007). "How board game helped free POWs". Mental Floss magazine. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  4. ^ Martin Hickes (8 January 2013). "How Monopoly boards got second world war prisoners out of jail free". The Guardian.
  5. ^ 'Obituary: Master of Monopoly who twice trounced Maxwell', Financial Times, 28 February/1 March 2015, p. 11
  6. ^ Death of Mr Monopoly, Yorkshire businessman Victor Watson, at 86, The Yorkshire Post, 26 February 2015
  7. ^ "Victor Watson, businessman - obituary". The Telegraph. 8 March 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  8. ^ "Tunbridge Wells Borough Council".[dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Waddington's Limited Edition Christmas Puzzles".
  10. ^ "Waddingtons board games archive reveals wacky finds". 27 May 2018 – via www.bbc.com.
  11. ^ "Lexicon | V&A Explore The Collections". Victoria and Albert Museum. 4 March 2000. Retrieved 24 May 2022.

External links[edit]