HERE’S snakes and ladders as you’ve never played it before – in a version inspired by the times of Charles Dickens.
The new limited edition board game, What the Dickens of a Game, has been inspired by stories from the Portsmouth-born author’s era in the city’s history archive.
It takes the form of the traditional game, but when players land on a Guilty or Not Guilty square they pick up a card featuring real-life crimes and punishments from 19th century Portsmouth – most of which are food related.
Cases include 18-year-old Charles Collins who was found guilty of stealing half a pound of veal pie and a pound of pudding in 1859 and William Lampert, found not guilty of stealing four sacks of oats in 1857.
It was created as part of A Tale of One City – a Heritage Lottery-funded project with the community group Southsea Friends and artists Julie Graves and Jane Kilford.
And it’s available for all to play in A Tale of One City, an exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum, Museum Road.
Southsea Friends member Brenda Seymour, 74, of Laburnum Grove, Copnor, said: ‘We were looking through the city’s archive and were shocked to see how many crimes there were in Dickens’ time to do with stealing food.
‘It’s something we would consider to be quite a small crime now, but some of the punishments were quite horrific at that time.
‘It was all very interesting.
‘We wanted to share what we’d learned with other people and thought it would be a good theme for the game, and the results are great.
‘It looks really good fun, I can’t wait to play it.’
Each of the Southsea Friends were given a copy of the game and the one in City Museum will be accessible to the public until the exhibition ends on November 4.
Anna Delaney, from the museum, said: ‘The game provides a fun element to the exhibition and hopefully it will encourage the community to use the city’s archive more.’
For more information see portsmouthcitymuseums.co.uk