Waddington's Monopoly

Contributed by Leeds Museums and Galleries

Limited edition Leeds Monopoly set c.1993, printed by John Waddington Ltd. © Leeds Museums & Galleries

In 1935 Monopoly was first patented in the USA and Waddington's published a British edition based on London streets.This special limited edition based on Leeds was published by John Waddington Ltd., possibly to celebrate the centenary of the City of Leeds in 1993. John Waddington started off as a theatrical printer in Leeds in 1896 and the firm began printing playing cards in 1921. The game "Monopoly" owes its genesis to an American Quaker woman who believed in the common ownership of land. By 1935 when the Parker Bros in Philadelphia acquired the rights to the game, it had become the embodiment of capitalist speculation. The British rights to the game were acquired by the Leeds firm of Waddingtons in 1935 and the slightly bizarre choice of London streets was based on a flying visit to the capital by one of the firm's employees. Since then the game has been customised to many cities and institutions, including this Leeds edition. Waddington's are also reputed to have smuggled silk escape maps to British prisoners of war inside Monopoly sets. Waddingtons were taken over by the US firm of Hasbro in the 1990s.

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