Pre-industrialisation

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Popular recreation

Popular recreation – recreation for the masses, involving violent, unruly ‘mob games’

  • The upper classes – the aristocracy – played refined games with complex rules, such as real tennis and fencing
  • The working classes – the peasants – were limited to so-called ‘mob-games’
  • Peasants lived a rural life based on the farming year
  • Church’s holy days and festivals provided little recreation time
  • Popular recreations were occasional happenings
  • These early games had no clear rules, more like a free-for-all kick-about

Popular recreations e.g. mob football characteristics:

  • Local, often rural
  • Disorganised/unstructured/Few or simple unwritten rules
  • Working/lower-class involvement
  • Based on force not skill/Violent – many injuries
  • Participant base rather than spectators
  • Used limited equipment/facilities
  • Played only occasionally on festivals/holidays
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