Hopscotch or “beds”: Boyne St. Westland Row, Dublin

Strumpet City hopscotch

When I was a child sent out on licence from Goldenbridge Industrial “School” to the Boyne’s at Boyne St. Off Westland Row, Dublin in the late 50s, I learned to play Hopscotch. However, the latter name was never used by children. The game was colloquially known as ‘beds’. In the picture one of the harder game of ‘beds’ is being played. From reading google I’ve learned that the game was also called “beds” in Glasgow. It was such a validation having one’s very young mind confirmed regarding the nickname. I wonder did the Irish who emigrated there have anything to do with calling the name by ‘beds’ at all?

An old large empty polish box was used to play the game. It was filled with sand, thus making it secure for the game at hand. The box was then expertly and neatly dinged with a hammer by a man of the household, as it prevented the box from opening during the course of the game of ‘beds’. There could be up to a few players in the game.

The heavy polish box was then cast onto the main ‘bed’ box. See: child’s tricycle. The player then had to hop on one foot and gently kick the heavy box into the first ‘bed’, and work their way through the whole eight ‘beds’ without kicking the box out of play. A great skill was needed to know how much power to use with the foot, in order to gauge it correctly as it slid into the next box. Sometimes the side of the foot needed to be swirled and aimed at the box in either a gently of fierce fashion according to how near the latter was to the next box. The foot being kind of used like a golf stick. Some children simply had the knack to get the box neatly into the next bed, whilst others were very awkward. I found as a small child that it took a lot of concentration, and got really absorbed in the game. The trick I found was to aim the box into the centre of the bed, so there wouldn’t have been too much trouble with maneuverability into the next box.

When round one was finished, the next player came in and so it went on and on. If one of the players was unfortunate to not aim the box correctly, or was not able to balance properly on one foot, they could lose out badly, as it meant that by the time it was their turn the second time around they had to play from scratch, Whereas if a child had had a neat round they went on to throw the box into the next number until they reached all eight. They were then declared the winner.

(photograph courtesy of Dublin City Public Libraries)

Wiki states that there was game called “beds” or Peever(s) in Glasgow. Am glad to have the “beds” recollection confirmed by that source.

Hopscotch – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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