© Copyright 1990 - G.M. Clark & E. Dixon; reproduced here by kind permission


Children's Games in the 1920s and 1930s - Ball Games

Ball games were played all year round. Apart from organised ball games such as netball, football, cricket, rounders and stoolball, many ball games were devised by children to increase their skill and agility with balls.

Types of Ball games played
Sevens French Cricket
Piggie in the Middle End Ball


The player could play this alone, or compete with others. The ball was thrown in a series of different ways seven times:

Against the wall and caught
Against the wall, the player turning round once before catching it
Patting against the wall seven times
Bouncing the ball seven times
Bouncing the ball under the leg and catching it
Throwing the ball against the wall, letting it bounce then catching it
Throwing the ball against the wall with one arm behind the back

There were many variations of this game, and they all developed ball skills.

Piggie in the Middle

This game was played by three children, two of whom stood apart at a set distance with the Third in the middle. The children at either end passed the ball to each other and the one in the middle tried to catch it. If she was successful, she changed places with the one who had thrown it. Small children were at a disadvantage, and often stood in the middle for a long and frustrating time.

French Cricket

A player had to defend himself (feet and up to his knees) with a bat. The other players tried to hit him with a ball in an undefended spot. He could not turn round, but had to move his bat to field the ball from whichever angle it might be thrown by the other players. If he was hit on the lower leg or foot, he was declared ‘out’ and the striker took over the bat. I am afraid there was a lot of cheating in this game.

End Ball

This was a game that was usually organised by a teacher, and which could take a large number of children.

A rectangle was chalked on the ground and divided by three lines, giving four courts.

Plan of the court used for playing Endball

The children in the back court marked '0' tried to pass the ball back over the heads of the 'X's. If the 'X's caught the ball, they passed it to their own team. The aim was to pass the ball so high that the opposing interceptors needed to be good jumpers to reach the high balls. A point was gained each time the ball was passed from '0' to '0' or from 'X' to 'X'.