North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • Editor: Rick Tucker
  • Initial publication date: 28 September 2022
  • Update date: 7 February 2023
  • Gerry Albertini
  • Chris Brasher
  • Denis Compton
  • Guy Consterdine
  • Peter Downes
  • F. John Furlonger
  • P. Jefferson
  • Frank G. Kershaw
  • J. MacCormack
  • David William Anthony Blythe Macpherson, the 2nd Lord Strathcarron
  • Kevin McClory
  • J. Patrick
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Stephen Sedley
  • John Snagge
  • Jocelyn Stephens
  • General Sir Hugh Stockwell
  • Peter Taylor
  • Terry-Thomas
  • Lord Valentine Thynne
  • Lord John Wodehouse, 4th Earl of Kimberley

The Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club challenged Prince Philip to a winks competition once again in 1959, around a year after the highly publicized Goons vs. CUTwC match on 1 March 1958 that was so splendidly described by Guy Consterdine in Winks Rampant.

In 1959, Prince Philip nominated members of the Empress Club of London to compete against CUTwC.

While the 1958 Goons vs. CUTwC match resulted in an astounding amount of publicity, the 1959 Empress Club vs. CUTwC match resulted in only a smidgeon of publicity in contrast.

Match Summary

Date Played

24 March 1959. Cocktails were provided at 6:30 pm, and squidge-off for the match started at 7:30 pm. The match lasted two hours. Following the match, a Gentleman’s Dinner was held in the Crystal Room of the Empress Club, according to the official programme for the event, shown below.

Curiously enough, at this match the Cambridge team played with Blue and Green winks and the Empress Club with Red and Yellow winks. That’s of course not at all the norm nowadays, where Blue partners with Red against Green and Yellow.


This royal match was held at the Empress Club’s Sportsroom at 15 Berkeley Street in Mayfair in London, England, W.1.

[+template:(Tucker Tw ID • [+xmp:title+] — publisher • [+iptc:source+] — title • [+xmp:headline])+]

Empress Club Winkers

The following members of the Empress Club played in the match:

Also present was heiress Bobo Sigrist.

CUTwC Winkers

The following members of CUTwC played in this match:

  • Peter Downes, Esquire, Captain of the team (Christ’s College)
  • F. John Furlonger, Esquire (King’s College)
  • Peter Taylor, Esquire (Christ’s College)
  • P. Jefferson, Esquire (King’s College)
  • Stephen Sedley, Esquire (Queens’ College)
  • J. Patrick, Esquire (King’s College)
  • H. MacCormack, Esquire (King’s College)
  • Frank G. Kershaw, Esquire (Christ’s College)


The Official Programme

photographer • Rick Tucker ∎ source • Anonymous Z ∎ public domain

Transcription of the Rules of Tiddlywinks from the official match programme.


In some reports, Cambridge was said to have won by a score of 86½ to 25½ for the Empress Club. Other reports noted the result as Cambridge 15½, Empress Club ½.

While the general's team including LORD STRATHCARRON, LORD VALENTINE THYNEE, DENIS COMPTON, the EARL OF KIMBERLEY, and TERRY-THOMAS battled against a determined Cambridge, a cable arrived from the Royal yacht Britannia.

It was from PRINCE PHILIP—whose pet charity the Playing Fields Association got last night's proceeds.

It said:

I expect this contest to be played in the usual thoroughly unsportsmanlike manner of all great tiddlywinks matches.

"I chose the Empress Club as my champions because they are capable of an even dirtier game than the Goons.

"They had better win or I shall withdraw their winking licence."

Cambridge winked home easily.

The continual efforts to repeat the success of the Goons match came to fruition on 24th March 1959. Billed as the World Championship Tiddlywinks Match, Cambridge University (‘Champions of the Universe’) played the challengers, The Empress Club (nominated by Prince Philip). The latter celebrated team included Denis Compton, Terry-Thomas and three Lords, and was led by General Sir Hugh Stockwell. The fame of this match, which raised £496.11.6d for the NPFA, resounded round the world; thus a report of it appeared in a Western Australia newspaper, which added that ‘Tiddlywinks is the most upper-class of games in England. Its patron is the Duke of Edinburgh, and its players include the intellectual cream of the universities, titled young men, and the Goons.’ Yet this game, which Cambridge under Peter Downes won by a huge margin, didn’t create quite the same stir as the immortal Goons match.

Encouraged by a message from the Solomon Islands by the Duke of Edinburgh, the tiddlywinks clubs of Cambridge University and Empress Club met last night and fought it out for the tiddlywinks championship of the world. [...] The place was like a cockpit. Benches rising to the ceiling surrounded the tables and supported hundreds of roustabouts and celebrities in dinner jackets, who sucked cigars, roared advice, clapped, and laid their bets. Down on the floor, tobacco smoke and the hellish heat of film camera arc lights oppressed the players so badly that they undressed and struggled on in shirtsleeves.The tiddlywinks snapped and twinkled. Cambridge continued to win. [...] The match—in aid of the National Playing Fields Association—ended after two hours with an overwhelming victory for Cambridge who retained their title by 15½ points to half a point. I crawled out onto the street feeling that tiddlywinks should be declared a blood sport for bloods only.

More than 200 members paid three guineas for cocktails, the match and dinner to follow. A guinea of the fee went to the National Playing Fields Association.

General Stockwell produced his winking set. He said, "I've had a little time to practice at the War Office, but not much. There is a lot of interesting tactics, you know." Winking commenced. "General, I've lost two winks," cried his partner, Lord Valentine Thynne. "Find 'em, lad," said the general. Then he leapt on to the table to make a squopt (the action of covering a wink), but missed. Lord Valentine squidged (fired his wink), and also failed. "Oh, you idiot," cried the general. Peter Downes, the Cambridge captain, then ran into some "dirty" play—a barge from the general. [...] Incidental information: Cambridge won by 86½ points to 25½.

Tucker Tw ID • G4B6GW — AGPI ID • G4B6GW — publisher • — title • Tiddlywinks - World Championship Tiddlywinks Match - Cambridge University v The Empress Club - Empress Club, London — notes • G4B6GW Tiddlywinks - World Championship Tiddlywinks Match - Cambridge University v The Empress Club - Empress Club, London — keywords • Sport, Unspecified, Sport, 301-archive-341296, s&gsportedit, game, playing, general, view, b/w, black, and, white, mangab, archivenewscansmay2011, Captain, of, the, Empress, Club, Sir, Hugh, Stockwell, with, jacket, off, uses, both, hands, to, squidge, his, wink, to, the, pot, while, anxiously, biting, his, finger, nail, is, his, partner, Lord, Valentine, Thynne
24 March 1959 • Sir Hugh Stockwell (famed British military General) playing tiddlywinks in a match against CUTwC as a member of the Empress Club. ∎ photographer • unknown ∎ stock photograph source • Alamy.
Tucker Tw ID • E0RDC2 — AGPI ID • E0RDC2 — publisher • — title • Mar. 03, 1959 - Worlds ''Tiddlywinks'' Championship.: What has been termed as the world ''Tiddlywinks'' championship - between the Duke of Edinburgh's Empress club team - and the champions Cambridge - University - was held this evening at the Empress club — notes • E0RDC2 Mar. 03, 1959 - Worlds ''Tiddlywinks'' Championship.: What has been termed as the world ''Tiddlywinks'' championship - between the Duke of Edinburgh's Empress club team - and the champions Cambridge - University - was held this evening at the Empress club in of the national playing fields association. Photo shows Dennis Compton C. B. E. - in play for the Empress club team this evening. — keywords • Worlds, ''Tiddlywinks'', Championship, What, has, Historical, history, historic, archive, archival, zselect, zkeystone, zagency, press, agency, scanned, zwire, historical, black, white, zbw, historic, event, zarchive
1959-03-24 Famed cricketer, Denis Compton, winking for the Empress Club against CUTwC. ∎ photographer • unknown ∎ stock photograph source • Alamy.