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Darts in Quorn and the Quorn Charity Darts League

Darts used to be very popular in Quorn and below Sue Sharpe has kindly recorded some of her memories. Sue’s grandma was Kate Burton, former landlady of the Royal Oak and a keen darts player.

The Quorn Charity Darts League was started during the war to raise money for the soldiers when they came home on leave. A raffle was drawn each week and the money put aside for the soldiers to have a pint of beer and packet of cigarettes.

After the war most of the Pubs in Quorn had at least a couple of darts teams. The Royal Oak had two teams an A team and a B team, the Conservative Club on Station Road had three or four teams and all the pubs in the village participated. The season began mid-September, certainly after Quorn Wakes, and finished about March/early April. During April and May the play offs for the pairs, the 4’s, as well as playing for the RAF Shield and Beardsley Rose Bowl took place. The finals of these tournaments were held usually in the back room of the pub, and it is thought that the pubs probably took in in turns to host the event. Each week during the season the Echo would give a report together with the league table. At Christmas time, elderly people in the village would get a voucher or a small box of groceries from the darts league.

In this post war period Quorn was still a small village with a tight knit community, the members of the darts teams had a lot in common, with a lot of the men having been to school together and shared village life in football and cricket teams. Also they and their families had been through so much during the war and there was a strong camaraderie.

During the summer months quite a few pubs would participate in the Loughborough League, and the Ladies Quorn and Mountsorrel darts league played on Wednesday evenings.

The main darts matches took place on Monday nights at 8.30pm, and Sue Sharpe, granddaughter of Kate Burton from the Royal Oak, thinks it was the best of 3 legs starting at 501 - and then the beer leg, which might have been 301. The scoring was usually done by one of the players. There was a league dart board, that was always kept for matches and had to be changed from the usual one, and Sue thinks that the mat may also have been changed on Mondays. The players in all the darts teams were very competitive and of course after a match a ‘post mortem’ was held!

Suppers were provided by the various landladies with no charge and usually comprised of several plates of cheese sandwiches, bowls of sliced onion, sliced beetroot, bowls of pickled cabbage and piccalilli. Kate Burton, landlady at the Royal Oak, made all her own piccalilli, pickled cabbage and pickled shallots with vegetables supplied by customers from their allotments.

Over the years the popularity of darts dwindled and pubs in Quorn changed, especially in the early 1970’s. The White Hart became meeting place for students from Quorn Hall and Soar House, the Bulls Head became the Fantasia (bar and nightclub) before becoming a restaurant when Thelma and Derek Davies took over, the Pig and Whistle closed in 1972 - plus the darts players of the 1950’s and 1960’s were getting older and people’s lifestyle was changing.

 Submitted on: 2020-12-27
 Submitted by: Sue Sharpe
 Artefact ID: 2430

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