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Oxford's Bodleian Libraries board game collection on display

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image copyrightBodelian Libraries
image captionA collection of the games are featuring in a display in the Weston Library

A collection of board games spanning two centuries has gone on show.

Almost 1,500 games dating from 1800 to 2000 have been donated to Oxford's Bodleian Libraries by collector and historian Richard Ballam.

A selection of them are featuring in a display in the Weston Library.

The exhibition - Playing With History - focuses on how games were used to teach children about topics including kings and queens, and war and conflict in the early 20th Century.

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image copyrightBodelian Libraries
image captionThe display focuses on how games were used to teach children about topics including kings and queens

The games, which are being catalogued by the museum, were collected by Mr Ballam, from Melton in Suffolk, over 40 years.

The exhibition features games including Tar of All Weathers, which shows Queen Victoria at the head of her colonies in Africa and Asia, Suffragetto, which describes itself as "an original and interesting game of skill between suffragettes and policemen", as well as World War One games such as Krom and British v Germans.

image copyrightBodleian Libraries
image captionSome of the games look at the view of the world at the time, including the British Empire, trade and slavery

"Games are fascinating because they hold a mirror to society," said the display's curator Julie-Anne Lambert.

"History was presented to children through the view of adults, so it was completely impossible to be impartial.

"Some of the games which include monarchs highlight events from the reign which you wouldn't necessarily associate with them - there is no reference to Henry VIII's wives, for example."

image copyrightBodelian Libraries
image captionWorld War One games, including Krom and British v Germans, feature in the exhibition

She added: "The games reveal much about the attitudes and perspectives that were prevalent at the time."

The museum said the wider Ballam collection, which also includes modern day classics such as Trivial Pursuit, Dingbats and Pictionary, represented a new resource for scholars interested in social history and the history of games.

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