Up Jenkins - Who was he?

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James Brandon

Senior Member
English + French - UK
This is a fairly futile query, probably well suited to Xmas day: Up Jenkins being a game played by groups of people (do a search and this is one source among others you can have a look at: http://www.childrenparty.com/partygames/printversion/upjenkins.html), I was wondering whether we know who Jenkins was, whether he was anyone, and where the name of the game came from...

Anyone who knows can have the privilege to write the 1st entry for this in Wikipedia in English.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello James,

    Here is a fairly futile answer. I just consulted with a friend of the BE persuasion. In the course of our futility, I mentioned that, to the average AE speaker, Jenkins would sound like the name of a British butler in an old film or book. My friend replied that it would evoke the same image for many BE speakers, and that the name brings to mind a butler stereotype.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Haven't we had a very similar question recently? Jenkins is a common Welsh name. A large proportion of Welshmen are called Jones or Pugh or Jenkins or Williams, as anyone who follows rugby knows. For some reason these party games seem to like using proper names. I remember once being forced against my better judgement to play a game called 'Are you there, Moriarty?', as pointless a way of passing the time as I have come across.
     
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    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I had always assumed it was related to the Jenkins of the War of Jenkin´s Ear fame. He was the master of one of the many brigs in the 18th century trading (well, smuggling) in the West Indies with the Spanish colonies.
    The Spanish coastguards boarded his brig and cut his ear off which started a war between Spain and England.
    The game involves hiding a coin and finding out which side has it and the war was to do with the valuable silver trade so I suppose there is a logical connection there.
    Don´t know if that helps; I have no proof, just was told it as a child.
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello James,

    Here is a fairly futile answer. I just consulted with a friend of the BE persuasion. In the course of our futility, I mentioned that, to the average AE speaker, Jenkins would sound like the name of a British butler in an old film or book. My friend replied that it would evoke the same image for many BE speakers, and that the name brings to mind a butler stereotype.
    I was just about to say that the stereotypical British butler in The Remains of the Day was named Jenkins ... but he wasn't:eek: Still, the actor who played him was Anthony Hopkins, which is close.
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Hopkins plays the person in charge of all domestic staff at the stately home where he works in the film, based itself on the novel; I do not know what the title of such a person would have been - but 'butler' seems close enough, or maybe 'chief butler' :D.

    Thanks for all suggestions and the same thought had crossed my mind - 'Jenkins' as some funny-sounding name that does make you think of a low-ranking civil servant in 1930s Britain, or a butler round 1920. I was wondering whether there was a closer connection or way to identify the origin of the name of the game, but I do not suppose that can be done. It was just idle curiosity.

    I can add that I did do a fairly in-depth search on Google, including the Search-Books function. But the books that come up are not histories of games and their origins, but just compendiums of games, as it were, giving the rules without any further explanations ("This is how you play this game" - never mind where it originated etc.).

    And in case you were wondering why I suddenly focused on the name of this game as opposed to thousands of others - yes, there is logic in my madness: I was re-reading "Decline and Fall" by E Waugh and the game is mentioned in the book, but in sarcastic mode, since the character referring to the game is in a prison ("So, it's just like Up Jenkins, then!").
     
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