The Ocean and National Magazine, 1935: Why Doesn’t Someone Localise our ‘Snakes and Ladders’ Board?

The Ocean and National Magazine collection is an amazing resource for discovering what life was like for people living in the south Wales coalfield in the 1920s and 1930s. Published by the Ocean Coal Company Ltd and United National Collieries Ltd, with contributions by and for the workforce, this magazine series contains a wide variety of articles on the coal industry and its history, including industrial relations, employees, technology, culture and sporting events. Andrew Booth, one of our volunteers has recently completed the indexing of this fantastic collection. This is the eighth of a series of blog posts in which Andrew highlights stories from the Ocean and National Magazines.


In 1935 The Ocean and National Magazine printed a series of articles with the question ‘Why doesn’t someone…?’ In August the subject of this article was the idea of a localised version of the board game Snakes and Ladders. A plan of the board is shown on one of the pages, and there were also 20 locations with instructions as to what to do when they arrived there. Anyone who knows the area around the Rhondda valleys might find the locations and their instructions quite amusing.

Snakes and Ladders_edited 

  1. Stag Hotel – Hard to Start. Must score six or ask for a glass of water. Otherwise miss two turns.


  1. Red Cow – Meet a friend and stop. Miss one turn and go back to 1.


  1. Swamp – Save sheep’s life but run over goose. Jump over one (number).


  1. Lungi’s Ice Cream – Forget the game, discuss Abyssinia and have a cornet. Miss two turns.


  1. Pentre Police – Absent-mindedly wish the Sergeant ‘A Merry Xmas’. Go back two.


  1. Prudential Office – Arrested by agent who pushes you back three steps – for life.


  1. Bridgend Hotel – Meet old friend who tells you about his operation. Miss four turns.


  1. Ystrad Station Exit – You are run over by an ‘Echo’ boy. Go back six to get your breath.


  1. Estate Office – You pay your ground rent before time. Leap 4 for joy.


  1. Ton Co-op – Mistaken for football coupon-seller. Arrested for three turns. Move back to No.5.


  1. Windsor Hotel – Stop to recover. Withstand temptation to have a ‘Corona’ and move forward three steps.
  2. Ton Police Station – Miss three turns through forcible attendance at court. Details censored. Go back two, and watch your step.


  1. Ton West End – Invigorated by odour of river. Move forward three – quickly.


  1. Pentwyn Hospital – Make detour down the marble steps. Meet young probationer. Lose twelve turns, but take short cut to No.3.


  1. Nantymoel Junction – Withstand temptation to take a girl-friend along new road. Skip six.


  1. Cwmparc Junction – Invited to a pithead bath. Shock entails loss of four turns.


  1. Ocean Offices – Mistake it for a Salvation Army headquarters and miss two turns reviving.


  1. Pengelli Hotel – Enter in error. Fall in river (hidden trap) and go back to 14.


  1. Surgery – Having plenty of time you sit to wait for your next bottle of medicine. You are taken back to 12 feeling better.


  1. Park & Dare Institute – Home at last! Fall asleep. See Mae West and call and see her some time.


Andrew Booth, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

One thought on “The Ocean and National Magazine, 1935: Why Doesn’t Someone Localise our ‘Snakes and Ladders’ Board?

  1. The Ocean and National Magazine, 1935: Why Doesn’t Someone Localise our ‘Snakes and Ladders’ Board? - Glamorgan Archives

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