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Published January 06, 2011 Updated June 12, 2023

Jaques’ Games

John Jaques & Son (established in 1795) published a large range of popular parlour games, many of which have become classics.

United Kingdom Jaques Counties Proverbs Card Games Happy Families Add to Collection
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”.

List of Jaques’ games

extra card with list of new games, c.1880

Most of Jaques’ parlour games were of considerable educational and instructional value, involving skills such as numeracy, general knowledge or spelling and promoting conviviality. From amongst the dozens of games published over the years, the following are mostly card games:

Anno Domini, Anno Mundi, Backgammon, Birds of a Feather, The Book of Books, Bowls, The Bride, Brides of all Nations, Candid Confessions, Characters from Charles Dickens, Chess, Comic Races, Counties of Britain, Counties of England, Countries of Empire, Croquet, Deck Quoits, Devil Among the Tailors, Dominoes, Draughts, Dr Busby, Enfield Skittles, Entente Cordiale, Epsom Races, Faces, Fireside Fun, Floral Loto, Floral Snap, French for Fun, Frogs and Toads, Geographical Loto, The Golden Goose, Gossima, Great Guns, Halma, The Great Galumphus, Happy Families, Her Majesty's Privy Purse, Hide & Seek with the Kings & Queens of England, Historical Loto, Hook-it, Hunting the Hare, Illustrated Proverbs, Irish Scenery, Kick Off, Kingdoms of Europe, Lawn Tennis, Loading the Donkey, The London Post, Lotto, Ludo, Manifesto, May Day, Minoru, The Moorish Fort, National Gallery: British School - Dutch School, Old Soldier, On Guard, Oppo, On Spec, Parole, Patchesi, Picture Pumblechook, Ping Pong, Poker Roulette, Pontoons, Pumplechook, Quits, Quinks, The Realm, The Reason Why, Reversi, Robin Hood, Russian Draughts, Safety First, Salute!, SAM, Shearing the Sheep, Shove Ha'penny, Skits, Snakes and Ladders, Snap, Sol, Solitaire, Sovereigns of England, Spelka, The Spider and The Fly, St Andrews, Stock Exchange, The Streets of London, Table Billiards, Table Croquet, Table Tennis, The Whitworth Gun, The XVI Century, The XVIIth Century, The XVIIIth Century, The XIXth Century, Tiddley-Winks, Tints, Tip, Tap and Take It, Trente-Six, Ujiji, The Wedding, Weights and Measures, The White Cat, Who Knows, Who’s Sir Roger?, World’s Parliament, Zoological Snap, etc.

The lists of new games included with most game sets offer clues regarding the dates of issue of new games, when titles were added or dropped, etc.

list of new games, c.1875 list of new games, c.1875 list of new games, c.1895

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

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 White Cat

The White Cat, c.1865

Above: cards from The White Cat, c.1865.   See more →


The XIXth Century

The XIXth Century game published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875

Above: the XIXth Century game published by John Jaques & Son, c.1875.   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 →


Kingdoms of Europe

Jaques' Kingdoms of Europe, c.1895

Above: cards from Jaques' Kingdoms of Europe, c.1895.   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


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 →


On Spec

“On Spec”, c.1920

Above: “On Spec”, a round game based on selling stocks and shares, c.1920  see more


Counties of Britain

“Counties of Britain”, c.1930

Above: The Game of “Counties of Britain” served by the London and North Eastern Railway, c.1930  see more


Countries of Empire

“Countries of Empire”, c.1930

Above: “Countries of Empire” educational card game, c.1930  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

French for Fun

French for Fun, c.1930s

Above: French for Fun, c.1930s  see more

After the destruction of their 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   Shearing the Sheep   The Wedding   SAM   Oppo   Safety First   Jaques advertising pack   Learn more about Jaques of London - the oldest games company in the world

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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