Very-trivial trivia item: Stations on a Monopoly board

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Calthrop

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In traditional British editions of the game “Monopoly”, the board’s four London stations are all termini formerly of the LNER: Fenchurch Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, and Marylebone (in editions from the pre-nationalisation era, these stations are specifically labelled on the board, “LNER”).

With the game having been invented and come on the market in the 1930s -- and with its being set in its British form in London, and involving four railway-terminus “properties” – one feels that it would have seemed apposite and pleasing, for the game to feature one important terminus in the capital, from each of the Grouping’s “Big Four” railway companies. Instead, only the LNER was thus honoured; it has occurred to me to wonder why this was, and has remained, so. My best guess would involve matters of copyright, and / or fees charged to the makers by the railway companies – hence, an arrangement being made with just one company, the LNER: perhaps because they offered the financially cheapest deal ! If anyone knows more about this admittedly not earth-shaking matter, I’d be interested to hear.
 
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bradford758

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It was an American invention, actually inventor Charles Darrow stole the idea from an earlier, patented game called the landlord's game from 1906 (if you're in Baden-Baden the next few weeks it is on show in the local museum). The British edition was originally manufactured by Waddington's of Leeds that's of course in LNER territory. What happened was the designer of the British edition just hopped on a train to London and looked around for local landmarks.

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Calthrop

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Thanks -- so, as simple (if slightly odd) as that !

Your mention of Baden-Baden leads me away from railway topics; to a thing concerning Germany and "Monopoly", which I can't help finding rather comic. I gather that the game was marketed in Germany for a while in the late 1930s, with a Berlin-themed board. One of the most-up-market (dark blue) properties, was the then select quarter in Berlin, of Insel Schwanenwerder.

It appears that quite a number of the Nazi bigwigs owned luxurious residences in this highly-posh part of the city. It was widely rumoured that engaging in financially corrupt doings, had made this possible for them -- according to the official ideology, their position required of them selfless service to the Party and the nation, not seeking material gain. Because of their featuring this part of the city, the makers of "Monopoly" were thus suspected of making a satirical dig at the regime. "The powers that were" suggested very strongly to the makers, that they take the game off the market; which they promptly did.
 

30907

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It perhaps helped that the LNER happened to have 4, and only 4, termini (not that many of its trains actually used Fenchurch St), whereas the SR had at least 5 and the LMS only 3.
 

theageofthetra

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Waddingtons started off as a printers and only branched into games following the popularity of playing cards after WWI (worth remembering that cards were regarded with occult connections and being '52 helpers in the devils army'for many years) - Did Waddingtons being based in Leeds print posters and other publications for the LNER and its pre-grouping constituents?
 

Calthrop

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Err, the LMS had 4 - Euston, St Pancras, Broad Street & Fenchurch St

My understanding is that the LNER actually owned Fenchurch Street station and the lines leading immediately out of it: the LMS (London, Tilbury & Southend section -- acquired IIRC by the Midland Railway not all that long before the Grouping) used Fenchurch Street, by a running-powers arrangement with the LNER.

Waddingtons started off as a printers and only branched into games following the popularity of playing cards after WWI (worth remembering that cards were regarded with occult connections and being '52 helpers in the devils army'for many years) -

I've always liked the lighter, and ironic, reference by religious folks to playing cards, as "the fifty-two-page hymn book".
 

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I read a book a few years beck which said that someone from Waddington's took the train to London to research the streets that were to be used in the British version of the game. As they arrived at King's Cross, all they saw in relation to stations were the LNER posters referrign to their own stations, so these were the ones that were chosen for the board.

I don't know how true this is, but it does make for a nice tale!
 

AndrewE

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It was an American invention, actually inventor Charles Darrow stole the idea from an earlier, patented game called the landlord's gam...

I seem to remember a TV programme that said it was originally invented by a (US) socialist couple to demonstrate to their children that capitalism (aka "the market") inevitably led to one player cleaning up and reducing the others to beggary...
Then patented and exploited by someone else...
 

DarloRich

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In traditional British editions of the game “Monopoly”, the board’s four London stations are all termini formerly of the LNER: Fenchurch Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, and Marylebone (in editions from the pre-nationalisation era, these stations are specifically labelled on the board, “LNER”).

With the game having been invented and come on the market in the 1930s -- and with its being set in its British form in London, and involving four railway-terminus “properties” – one feels that it would have seemed apposite and pleasing, for the game to feature one important terminus in the capital, from each of the Grouping’s “Big Four” railway companies. Instead, only the LNER was thus honoured; it has occurred to me to wonder why this was, and has remained, so. My best guess would involve matters of copyright, and / or fees charged to the makers by the railway companies – hence, an arrangement being made with just one company, the LNER: perhaps because they offered the financially cheapest deal ! If anyone knows more about this admittedly not earth-shaking matter, I’d be interested to hear.

I read in a book on Monopoloy that when the Waddingtons director and secretary came up to London from Leeds to discuss the game with the American rights holders they arrived at an Kings Cross by LNER. As they often used LNER trains they picked stations they were familiar with from LNER publicity.

Apparently the Angel, Islington appears because they stopped there for a cup of tea!

EDIT: Greenback got there first!
 

Calthrop

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Interesting that the general picture which seems to be got, is that the Monopoly "LNER connection" stems from Waddingtons being Leeds-based, and their folks having used the LNER for travelling between there and London.

I've always felt, "four London termini in the game -- what with the 'Big Four' companies of that era, the obvious thing would have been to have one station for each (I'd envisage Kings Cross, Euston, Paddington, and Waterloo)"; but reckonably, that's because I'm a railway enthusiast. I'd envisage that in those times, an overall majority of the population -- those who had no particular interest in this issue, or didn't have it thrust in their faces by the circumstances of their lives -- didn't have the "Big Four" thing prominently on their radar. With the LMS also having a presence in Leeds, the Waddingtons guys would (one feels) at least have been aware of the LMS as well as the LNER; but likely enough, the Great Western and the Southern were -- with their not having a specific interest in this stuff -- pretty much outside their ken.
 

70014IronDuke

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Interesting that the general picture which seems to be got, is that the Monopoly "LNER connection" stems from Waddingtons being Leeds-based, and their folks having used the LNER for travelling between there and London.

I've always felt, "four London termini in the game -- what with the 'Big Four' companies of that era, the obvious thing would have been to have one station for each (I'd envisage Kings Cross, Euston, Paddington, and Waterloo)"; but reckonably, that's because I'm a railway enthusiast. I'd envisage that in those times, an overall majority of the population -- those who had no particular interest in this issue, or didn't have it thrust in their faces by the circumstances of their lives -- didn't have the "Big Four" thing prominently on their radar. With the LMS also having a presence in Leeds, the Waddingtons guys would (one feels) at least have been aware of the LMS as well as the LNER; but likely enough, the Great Western and the Southern were -- with their not having a specific interest in this stuff -- pretty much outside their ken.

I'd like to start a new thread on this not-trivial-at-all subject - not sure of the decorum for that. But anyway, I'm going to do it.
 

61653 HTAFC

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There have been limited-edition regional versions of Monopoly, with appropriate properties/landmarks/stations. I'm not sure which four stations appeared in the Yorkshire version but I'll hazard a guess at Leeds, York, Sheffield Midland and Pontefract Baghill (one of these is not a serious guess, can you guess which?)... Liverpool I believe had Lime Street, Central, Moorfields and (for some reason) Hamilton Square. I think Manchester had Piccadilly, Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly Gardens.
 

Calthrop

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There have been limited-edition regional versions of Monopoly, with appropriate properties/landmarks/stations.

Indeed, any number of regional or otherwise-thematic versions of the game -- some on themes which pose problems as to how to work railway stations in ! Our family has a connection from some decades back, with Guernsey; which island some of us (me, not so much) visit frequently. I gather that there is a Guernsey-specific version of Monopoly (I've never actually seen a set). I wonder how the railway-station matter is handled there? One-time halts on the former Guernsey Railway, running not quite three miles from St. Peter Port the capital, to St. Sampson's -- in fact a tramway, electric for most of its lifespan, abandoned 1934 ??
 

bradford758

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There was a Yorks edition with only two stations, Doncaster and Halifax, plus LBIA and Humber Bridge (guess it dates from when new).
Btw the Leeds edition has Crossgates, Horsforth and New Pudsey.

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JamesRowden

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The London 2012 version has:
  • Stratford
  • Stratford International
  • St Pancras International
  • Heathrow Airport Station
 

Calthrop

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And some “specialised” Monopoly editions get IMO into rather silly and geographically-inapplicable realms – though of course: if it will sell, the makers will be eagerly onto it. I’ve encountered a Monopoly edition on the theme of The Simpsons, set in their fictional town of Springfield. The railway-station element here, was furnished by un-named stops on the town’s monorail system. I had trouble seeing the point of this particular exercise in “theming” – prejudiced maybe, by my not being a big Simpsons fan -- but obviously, enough people liked it to make it a paying proposition.
 

Greenback

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I reckon the only point is making money from Simpsons fans or Monopoly fans who want to collect every edition ever produced.
 

MarlowDonkey

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In traditional British editions of the game “Monopoly”, the board’s four London stations are all termini formerly of the LNER: Fenchurch Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, and Marylebone (in editions from the pre-nationalisation era, these stations are specifically labelled on the board, “LNER”).

Is it plausible that Waddingtons got a fee from the LNER for product placement?
 

cin88

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Is it plausible that Waddingtons got a fee from the LNER for product placement?

If memory serves me correctly, Waddingtons actually had a contract to supply the LNER with playing cards, so them being paid to have LNER stations on the board is quite plausable.

Sadly I can't back this up as the antique pack of LNER playing cards my dad bought me has gone missing so I can't go check the Ace of Spades for the maker's mark.
 

Calthrop

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Is it plausible that Waddingtons got a fee from the LNER for product placement?

If memory serves me correctly, Waddingtons actually had a contract to supply the LNER with playing cards, so them being paid to have LNER stations on the board is quite plausable.

Sadly I can't back this up as the antique pack of LNER playing cards my dad bought me has gone missing so I can't go check the Ace of Spades for the maker's mark.

An interesting fresh angle on the subject. I had dimly -- and perhaps not very sense-makingly -- envisaged things as being the other way round: the railway requiring payment from the game-makers for the use of their name and, "fictionally", their premises.
 

Greenback

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I could easily be wrong, but I always though that payments for product placement were a more recent development than Monopoly!

From books I;ve read about the period before WW2, I've formed the impression that things were far too gentlemanly in those days, and far less bottom line orientated than in recent times.

Besides, I don't think that the LNER were ever mentioned by name on the Monopoly board, so I reckon that if money had changes hands it wouldn't have been a very good deal for the railway company!
 

Calthrop

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Greenback, I'd beg to differ with you regarding "LNER-mentioning-by-name-or-not". I own a "nostalgia" modern facsimile of Monopoly in one of its earliest British forms: on the board, the letters "L.N.E.R." appear under the name of each station. If I recall rightly, post-nationalisation the letters in the spots concerned, were altered to "B.R.". I have also a fairly recently-produced set of the classic London Monopoly; on the board of this one, the names of the four stations are just given, with no indication of ownership.
 

GrimsbyPacer

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Grimsby Town station is on both the Grimsby, & Lincoln Monopoly boards. Can't be many stations like that.
 

backontrack

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There have been limited-edition regional versions of Monopoly, with appropriate properties/landmarks/stations. I'm not sure which four stations appeared in the Yorkshire version but I'll hazard a guess at Leeds, York, Sheffield Midland and Pontefract Baghill (one of these is not a serious guess, can you guess which?)... Liverpool I believe had Lime Street, Central, Moorfields and (for some reason) Hamilton Square. I think Manchester had Piccadilly, Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly Gardens.

Sheffield Midland.

Obviously it's Sheffield Victoria.

(Just kidding, most likely Bradford Interchange or Hull Paragon.)

No idea why Manchester picked Piccadilly Gardens and not Deansgate! As for Canterbury, it has four stations: Canterbury East, Canterbury West...the bus station...and the bus stop at the University. Surely Chartham and Sturry would have made more sense?
 
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61653 HTAFC

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I think Piccadilly Gardens was on for Metrolink and buses, might even have had a tram symbol and GMPTE logo. Come to think of it the Airport may have been on rather than Oxford Road.
 

Calthrop

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As for Canterbury, it has four stations: Canterbury East, Canterbury West...the bus station...and the bus stop at the University. Surely Chartham and Sturry would have made more sense?

Or how about -- seeking for rail-within-city purism, rather than making sense -- Canterbury East, Canterbury West, Canterbury South on the long-abandoned Elham Valley line to Folkestone; and Canterbury's very first station, the Canterbury & Whitstable's terminus from 1830 to 1846, when the South Eastern Railway arrived in town?
 

backontrack

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Or how about -- seeking for rail-within-city purism, rather than making sense -- Canterbury East, Canterbury West, Canterbury South on the long-abandoned Elham Valley line to Folkestone; and Canterbury's very first station, the Canterbury & Whitstable's terminus from 1830 to 1846, when the South Eastern Railway arrived in town?

You mean Canterbury North Lane? I guess so.
 
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