MONOPOLY to takeover Leeds this summer - Chapter 81
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April 18, 2024

MONOPOLY to takeover Leeds this summer

MONOPOLY to takeover Leeds this summer MONOPOLY to takeover Leeds this summer
Words by: Simon Fogal

A world-first is coming to Leeds as it prepares for MONOPOLY to take over the city centre, paying homage to the place which has become synonymous with the iconic game. Mark your calendars for 27 July – 1 September 2024. 

Leeds was home to Waddingtons, Britain’s leading manufacturer of board games and playing cards, which produced the UK version of MONOPOLY from the 1930s and was responsible for the now famous London properties in the game.

Waddingtons Games was sold to Hasbro in 1994, and MONOPOLY is now enjoyed by more than one billion players in 114 counties across the globe.

MONOPOLY Leeds Takeover, brought to the city by LeedsBID and under license from Hasbro, is a first-of-its-kind city-wide version of the iconic board game. This free, family-friendly immersive experience brings the best-selling property trading game to life, using key locations and landmarks as the board and giant tokens, clues, and puzzles around every corner.

People can roll the dice, get out of jail free and pass go, with key sections of the city colour-coded into zones, each with a series of visual, mathematical and word puzzles to solve in a bid to buy back the city.

Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive of LeedsBID said:

“In our tenth year, we are delighted to bring a world-first to Leeds which reflects the heritage of our place. Working in association with global toy and game company Hasbro, MONOPOLY is the placemaking boardgame and this summer we’ll bring it to life on a city-wide scale, as a free event for all to enjoy. With its home in Leeds, Waddingtons was instrumental in bringing the London streets to many homes – we look forward to families seeing Leeds’ own Old Kent Road, Pall Mall and Mayfair.”

With only 100 days till the MONOPOLY Leeds Takeover, April sees the start of months of MONOPOLY-themed activity in the city.

This week, the excitement builds with the opening of a special permanent display in Leeds City Museum, focussing on the story of Waddingtons, with a particular emphasis on MONOPOLY.

Entitled Waddingtons and the MONOPOLY Story display, there are a number of special exhibits to see, including an original 1935 edition of MONOPOLY, a 1940s wartime set (used to help POWs escape), a 1960s Deluxe set with silver and gold cast tokens and one of the 1990 MONOPOLY Leeds limited editions. There is also the inclusion of some of Waddingtons other iconic games such as Cluedo and Scoop as well as an assortment of MONOPOLY merchandise from the 1980s/90s. Many of the items have been donated by the Watson family, who had a three-generation connection with the company spanning 80 years with members of the family involved in running the company.

The exhibit aims to be fun with an educational element, putting the spotlight on a major Leeds-rooted brand which became known across the world while illustrating the rise (and decline) of a Leeds company in the 20th century.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said:

“Being the source of some of the world’s most popular board games is a fascinating chapter in the city’s story, and one of the many things which makes Leeds such a unique and historic place.

“Our museum’s collection includes some incredible examples of games from around the world, and bringing that story to life this summer will be the perfect chance to celebrate the city’s proud place in board game history while enjoying  a programme of fantastic, fun events.”

In addition, Leeds Civic Trust is to mark the heritage of Waddingtons and MONOPOLY’s connection to the city with one of its famous blue plaques.

The civic trust’s blue plaques mark the heritage and legacy of the city, commemorating its people, events and buildings; each plaque telling a story which shapes the history of Leeds. 

The plaque is to be placed at Layton Grange in Horsforth, where Norman Victor Watson, the then Managing Director and, later, Chairman of John Waddington Ltd, resided between 1941-1969.

He was the first person to play MONOPOLY in the United Kingdom before it was launched with London landmarks in 1936 by Waddingtons.

The plaque will be unveiled in September as part of the Heritage Open Days Festival which will include a range of events highlighting the Waddingtons heritage in Leeds. In the meantime, the plaque is to be on public display in the museum alongside other Waddington and MONOPOLY exhibits.

Leeds Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton said:

“Waddingtons is a brand with national recognition and MONOPOLY is a game with a global reach.  The fact that both have such strong associations with the Leeds is something that deserves to be celebrated.”

“It is amazing to think that the first game of MONOPOLY was played in Horsforth, Leeds.”

Waddingtons and the MONOPOLY Story display will be at Leeds City Museum, Leeds Story gallery, from Thursday, April 18th. Opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday. Visit HERE for further details.

MONOPOLY Leeds Takeover comes to the city from 27 July – 1 September. Keep an eye out for more details released over the coming months at monopolyleeds.com and across social media platforms @monopolyleeds or Facebook


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