A Cultural History Project for 2021

As I mentioned last month, I wanted to introduce the ‘The 2021 Project’ to you all. We began discussing it in 2019 (believing that to be plenty of time!) and subsequently started meetings with relevant parties and even applied for some funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which seemed to be going really well. Fast forward to Spring 2020 and we were faced with no games, a cancelled funding application and not much of an idea of when normality might resume. Nobody really knows whether or not we’ll be able to host the games again next year, but we can certainly crack on with the 2021 Project.


It is an art, history & cultural project so named because 2021 will mark the last revival of Dover’s Games. Back in 1951, the year of the Festival of Great Britain, it was staged by the Scuttlebrook Wake committee as part of the week-long Whit week celebrations, it was the first time this had happened since the cessation of the games in 1852 when the land was partitioned between farmers and landowners as part of the Enclosures Act. The Robert Dover’s Games Society was established in 1965 as a separate committee and the event has been held continuously ever since (with a few forced breaks).


Times – and Chipping Campden – have changed since then and the need to document the modern history of Dover’s Games and Scuttlebrook is more important than ever, so that both events may endure for many years and generations can add to the story each year.


The first stage of the project was begun in 2019 and hopes to capture as many people as possible in picture, video and audio, that have been involved with Dover’s Games and Scuttlebrook Wake over the last seventy years. So far we have many Robert Dovers and Endymion Porters, we have a couple of Scuttlebrook Queens, we have John Robbins who was involved in the 1951 games and still farms the hill today and many more. But we know there are scores, probably hundreds of people yet to capture, each of whom have a story to tell.


Another part of the project which we were able to get started was the brand-new award which is a beautiful silver replica of the market hall, given to us this year by Bill Buckland in memory of his mother and wife and awarded for “The Spirit of Dover”. It was awarded for the first time this year to The Campden Hub who sprung into action during the first lockdown. Hopefully this will be on display at some point in the near future for all to see.


So if you would like to know more, get involved, suggest a person, place or event or even if you have any fascinating memorabilia from the last seventy years of either event, we’d love to hear from you. Work will re-commence on the project in January 2021 and hopefully we can create something educational, inspiring and useful. To subscribe to our mailing list, please visit the homepage and sign up.


In the meantime let’s hope for a better 2021, stay safe, look after each other and have a wonderful festive season.


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The home of the Shin Kicking World Championships:

Copyright 2020 Robert Dover's Games Society

The Games are only able to go ahead with the kind permission of The National Trust & John Robbins esq.