Skittles is a quintessentially English game that is forever linked with beer – and all the more noble for that!
As Thomas Hughes famously wrote in his 1857 novel, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, ‘Life isn’t all beer and skittles; but beer and skittles, or something better of the same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman’s education’
Skittles has been played at The Black Lion for many years and was at its most famous when the current alley was a separate room from the pub and was regularly played on by the author, playwright and sometime MP – AP Herbert. He popularised the game through his novel –The Water Gypsies and invited Douglas Fairbanks Jr – the world’s biggest film star, at the time, to play here. It fell into disuse in 1960 and has been waiting for a revival ever since.
Re-opened in 2011 the skittle alley is a perfect place to spend a few hours – pint in hand – for relaxation or competitive purposes. James May and Oz Clarke recently played here in the BBC feature on the 2012 Boat Race and one of England’s finest fast bowlers, Bob Willis – is a regular.