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Board game - Despatch Runners

Despatch Runners

  • Object:

    Board game

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1910-1915 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Miss R.H.A. MacDougald

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This board game, named Despatch Runners, was produced in England in the early 20th Century. The game involves players trying to make their way from London to Edinburgh while their opponents travel in the opposite direction.The first one to reach their destination is the winner, however, players must watch out for the squares that will send them backwards.

The board has bright graphics and features sketches of the towns and cities that feature on the route from London to Edinburgh, such as Cambridge, York, and Durham.

Physical description

The board is printed on card and has been cut into a square shape, although rectangular when folded up. The outside of the board, when folded, has a blue checked pattern on both its front and back, accompanying the printed title and instructions. On the inside, there is a board printed in colour with drawings of both London and Edinburgh in the corners. There is a snaking pathway with numbered squares connecting the two drawings of the cities. On the pathway there are other cities and sights such as Cambridge, the River Derwant, Newcastle, and Dunbar. The board is illustrated with soldiers around the pathway, aiming shots at eachother.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1910-1915 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Marks and inscriptions

Despatch Runners
Title on front of board

Directions for playing the game of Despatch Runners.

The game is played by two or four players. If two players, one starts from Edinburgh and the other from London, both using two pieces; if four runners the one piece each.
Throw the dice for order of playing, the highest starting first.
Should a runner should alight upon a space occupied by an opponent the opponent must go back two towns.
If any runner arrives at any of the following towns: Cambridge, Grantham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Tynemouth, on Dunbar, they must rest and lose their next turn.
If any runner plays on to the spaces River Derwent or River Tees they must start again from their starting point.
Any runner arriving at Peterborough, York, Durham or Berwick moves forward 3 spaces.
The first runner to reach the destination wins the game, but the exact number (97) must be thrown.
Instructions located on the back of folded board.


Width: 26 cm Board when open, Height: 26 cm Board when open, Width: 13 cm Board when folded, Height: 26 cm Board when folded

Object history note

This may have been part of a compendium as it is similar to those games produced by Chad Valley for Misc. 102-1983.

Historical context note

No. of Players: 2 or 4
Equipment required: 2 or 4 markers, playing board, a dice

For instructions see 'Inscription' details.

Descriptive line

Card playing board for board game, Despatch Runners, made in England between 1910 and 1915






Games; War; Military; Scotland

Production Type

Mass produced


Museum of Childhood

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