Titch and clackers


One of the most dangerous things in a London school playground in the 60s and 70s wasn’t the chance of getting cholera from the school fountain, it was clackers.

How did this get past any research group and actually make it into production?: “You get two, heavy when moving at 100 mph, plastic balls and bang them together”.  The noise was one thing, the potential wrist breaking a mildly bigger problem.

But these “toys” life didn’t last long within playgrounds, although during its reign of terror made the Eton Wall Game look like a cream tea with an elderly aunt.   They were soon banned; not by schools directly, the local hospitals were running out of supplies of plaster of paris.

During these times clackers were not the only life-threatening injury one could get in a playground: a hoop and a stick could, if out of control, crash into ankles and if not treated in time could easily turn to gangrene;  I was a connoisseur of cards inside bubble gum packets and here a paper cut courtesy of Alan Tracy coming out of the Roundhouse was always lurking when flicking said card up against the playground wall; conkers was always potentially dangerous if your opponent had a violent allergy to acetic acid.

I’ve not been in a primary school playground since 1968 but I’m assuming hop scotch is now played on an app; one potato, two potato is deemed offensive in case any participant in the playground’s relatives lived during the 1845 Irish famine and marbles are things you tend to lose now rather than play.

Three and in, anyone?

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