Volume 6 Number 3
  • ISSN: 2468-2187
  • E-ISSN: 2468-2195



Pall-mall was a popular lawn game in the 17th century. The oldest pall-mall in the Netherlands was built in The Hague in 1606. Leiden was one of the universities with such a facility. In 1581, Leiden University already had several courts for ball sports. Some manuscript maps show their locations outside the city walls. The building of a pall-mall in Leiden coincided with the digging of the canal for horse-drawn boats to The Hague and Delft. The first plans for a boat canal probably date from around 1633 and the canal was completed in 1637. Alongside, between the boat canal and the Leiden city walls, a pall-mall was built, about 700 meters in length. The university bought some plots of land from the Leiden orphanage, on which the lawn was built. The history of the building of the boat canal and pall-mall is documented in several property maps and town plans that have survived. In the university’s archive, a concept of regulations of the Leiden pall-mall is kept, which gives insight in how the game had to be played and into the rules that the students had to adhere to. The pall-mall remained in use until at least the end of the 18th century. On the cadastral plan from the early 19th century (1811-1832) the strip of land is still owned by the university but indicated as ‘economic garden’ and the heyday of pall-mall was over.


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