Russian visitors fail to find flamingoes or hedgehogs at Chester Croquet Club
Chester croquet club played host on Friday 26 June to a group of journalists from Russia, organised by VisitBritain. The group of six from Moscow were on a cultural tour based on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The book is very popular in Russia with adults and children alike.
The group had flown into Manchester on Thursday, then Friday morning visited Daresbury, the home of Lewis Carroll’s family, before coming to Chester on the way to North Wales. After a visit to Llandudno (via a stay in Portmerion), they will make their way to Oxford to see Christchurch College where Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll was tutor of mathematics and where he most probably saw and played the newly popular game of croquet. The tour finishes in London at an Alice exhibition at the V&A and afternoon Mad Hatters tea party at a leading hotel.
Croquet is largely unknown in Russia and they wished to see what the game was and how it was played because it was mentioned in the book.
Led by Dasha Motyagina from Visit Britain, the journalists Martha, Alexandra, Christina, Vadim and Elena were given lunch at the club, followed by a brief history of croquet from David Guyton, past chairman. They were then given mallets and had a go at playing the game, assisted by club members Paul Watson, John Dawson and Sally Slater. The journalists all represented different publications in Moscow, ranging from Cosmoplitan to an on-line magazine for women and an airport magazine, and intend to write about the tour when they return home.
The game of croquet proved great fun and very popular. Martha thought they should definitely set up a club in Moscow!
Since the above post was published, Federation Secretary Paul Rigge has informed this website that Russia is a member of the World Croquet Federation and there is a croquet club in Moscow. You can find more detail, especially if you are a russian speaker at: www.croquet.ru or www.croquet-club.com