Jaques’ Games

Jaques' Games established 1795

The firm operated at 102 Hatton Garden since 1838. To allow for expansion, larger premises were later acquired at Kirby Street, London E.C.1. After enemy bombing in 1941 new premises were found at Whitehorse Road, Thornton Heath in Surrey.

John Jaques & Son (established in 1795) has been a family business for the last six generations. In the early days the company specialised in ivory, hardwood, bone and Tunbridg Wware. The firm was to specialise in the manufacture of wooden items, notably for chess and croquet. Over the years the company has also published a large range of popular parlour games, board games and beautifully illustrated card games, many of which have become classics. After Ogilvy ceased trading in 1879 many titles were taken over by John Jaques. Jaques is possibly best-remembered for being the company that invented Happy Families, the game containing a series of “Grotesque Characters”.

Snap, 1866

Snap published by John Jaques & Son, London

Above: 1870s edition of Snap published by John Jaques & Son, London.   See more →

Happy Families

1880s edition of Happy Families published by John Jaques & Son, London

Above: 1880s edition of Happy Families published by John Jaques which included 11 families of four members each.   See more →

The Sovereigns of England

The Sovereigns of England, c.1875

Above: cards from The Sovereigns of England, c.1875.   See more →


The Streets of London

The Streets of London, c.1880

Above: cards from The Streets of London, c.1880. The complete street cry is printed along the top of each card in the set.   See more →


On Guard

Jaques' On Guard game, c.1880

Above: cards from Jaques' On Guard, c.1880.   See more →


Quits

Jaques' Quits game, c.1885

Above: cards from Jaques' Quits, c.1885.   See more →


Illustrated Proverbs

Jaques' Illustrated Proverbs, c.1885

Above: cards from Jaques' Illustrated Proverbs, c.1885. The complete proverb is printed along the top of each card in the set.   See more →


London Post

Jaques' London Post, c.1895

Above: cards from Jaques' London Post game, depicting important buildings from London in the Victorian era, c.1895.   See more →


National Gallery

Jaques' National Gallery (British School), c.1895

Above: Jaques' National Gallery (British School) game, c.1895.   See more →

Jaques' National Gallery (Dutch School), c.1895

Above: Jaques' National Gallery (Dutch School) game, c.1895.   See more →


Counties of England

Jaques' Counties of England card game, c.1880

The most popular of Jaques’ geographical card games, Counties of England, was published in four series which saw several editions over the years. The cards in each set contained key facts about the town, its history, local industry and inhabitants, etc. The first series comprised the Northern Counties, the second series Midland Counties, the third series Eastern Counties and the fourth series Southern Counties

Jaques' Counties of England card game box, c.1930 Jaques' Counties of England card game box, c.1910

Right: two different boxes and four cards from the 1st series of Jaques' Counties of England card game, depicting Northern counties served by the London and North Eastern Railway. The left-hand box has the original retail price of 1/6d marked in pencil. The sides of the orange box describe the game as "Of Highly Instructive and Educational Value". An advertising leaflet reads: "...containing exquisite illustrations in colours of the chief towns in each county, their products, notable buildings, etc. 1s. 6d."  See more →


Skits

“Skits”, c.1900

Above: “Skits” is a card game published by Jaques & Son, c.1900.   see more


NOTE: J. Jaques & Son became a limited company around 1900 and by 1904 was named John Jaques & Son Limited.

The Chastleton Patience Board

For its time and function, the Chastleton Board is a rather clever design, and beautifully realised by Jaques & Son Ltd (22½ x 15¼ x 2 ½ cm)   more

the Chastleton Patience Board produced by John Jaques & Son Ltd

Above: the Chastleton Patience Board produced by John Jaques & Son Ltd. 61 cm x 14 cm x 6 cm.   more


On Spec

“On Spec”, c.1900

Above: “On Spec”, a round game based on selling stocks and shares, c.1905  see more


Light Refreshment

“Light Refreshment”, c.1905 “Light Refreshment”, c.1905

Above: “Light Refreshment”, c.1905. 42 cards made up of 24 slices of bread, 5 knives, 12 fillings and 1 bones card. Based on pass a card to the next player rules the object is to make sandwich tricks out of your hand, the higher the value the better, but you can't make a sandwich without a knife in your hand. The bones card is the old maid of the deck as you cannot make a sandwich with a bone. Images courtesy Nick Thomas.


Candid Confessions

“Candid Confessions” published by Jaques & Son, Ltd, c.1905

Above: “Candid Confessions” published by Jaques & Son, Ltd, c.1905  see more


Weights and Measures

“Weights and Measures” card game published by John Jaques & Son, Ltd., London, c.1910

Above: “Weights and Measures” card game published by John Jaques & Son, Ltd., London, c.1910, a reminder of some of our more archaic units of measurement.   See more →


Salute!

Salute! The Four Services promotion game by John Jaques & Son Ltd, London, c.1930s

Above: Salute! The Four Services promotion game by John Jaques & Son Ltd, London, c.1930s  see more

After the destruction of their 20-21 Kirby Street premises in 1941, new premises were found at Thorntom Heath in Surrey and production continued there although the Happy Families and Snap games were produced under licence by Castell Brothers Ltd.


NOTES & REFERENCES

“Happy Families Games” by Mary Gardiner & John Hayter (3 volumes) privately published April 1999.

Note: For further reading see: The English Playing Card Society Newsletters, Vols 12/13, Nos 48-51, May 1995-Feb 96.

See also:  Golden Egg Game   Anno Mundi   The Wedding   SAM   Safety First   Jaques advertising pack   Learn more about Jaques of London - the oldest games company in the world

Last Updated July 14, 2020 at 11:56am

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