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In around 1900, John Waddington and Wilson Barratt started a printing company in Leeds, which originally printed posters for the theatre, but later diversified into producing playing cards following a boom in demand during World War 1. This expanded further, into game production, in 1922.


The company started out as Waddingtons Limited, but in later years was known variously as Waddington's House of Games, John Waddington Limited and Waddington Games before finally simplifying the name to Waddingtons.

In the UK it was most famously associated with the game of Monopoly, the biggest selling game in the world, which it produced under licence from the US company Parker Brothers. Monopoly was originally based on the street layout of Atlantic City in New Jersey, but for the UK market, Waddingtons decided that sales would be better if it was based on London. The rest, as they say, is history!

During World War 2, the Secret Service even had the company produce special versions of Monopoly for prisoners of war, with hidden maps, compasses and real money to help them escape.

Waddingtons grew steadily over the years and was easily the biggest board game publisher in the UK. The factory in Leeds had around 2,700 employees by the time the company was bought by Hasbro in 1994.