Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

“Knocking Down Screws. This was a game played especially in London and its environs in the the first half of the twentieth century. In 1957 a boy from High Laver, near Ongar in Essex, provided the only post-1950 description. A screw was stood on its head, the missile preferred being a cherry-stone—a marble or pebble being looked on as a poor substitute because it made the game too easy. The screw might itself be the prize, in which case the owner in recompense pocketed the cherry-oggs which were cast at it; alternatively, he who made the successful shot won the stones as well. Long screws were considered more valuable than shorties; and brass screws, known as ‘brawnies’, more valuable than steel screws or ‘milkies’. The boy from High Laver explained that ‘the number of threads’ on the screw were first counted and ‘the same number of paces were taken from the screw’ before the cherry-stones were bowled at it. An alternative was to flick cigarette cards at the screw.”

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Grant Barrett