The Tiddlywinks Anthem was written by the Reverend Edgar Ambrose Willis in early 1958 in England. It was written to be sung on 1 March 1958 at the beginning of the seminal Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC) vs. Goons match, which is described in splendid detail in Guy Consterdine’s historical booklet, Winks Rampant. The song is sung to the tune of the better known song, The Men of Harlech.
The Goons vs. CUTwC match came about after winkers at Cambridge noticed an article in the national political magazine, The Spectator, that had the title, “Does Prince Philip Cheat at Tiddlywinks”. CUTwC dutifully sent a letter to Prince Philip’s secretary, inviting the Duke of Edinburgh to defend his honor against such a false claim. To CUTwC’s surprise, Prince Philip’s secretary replied in the affirmative, and he subsequently nominated The Goons, a well-known radio comedy troupe, as his Royal Champions to compete against CUTwC. The match took place on 1 March 1958, garnering considerable publicity. This match substantially magnified the public’s knowledge about the noble game, and thereafter, triggered immense expansion in the establishment of tiddlywinks clubs and winkers throughout the UK.
Once the plans for the Goons vs. CUTwC match were firmly in place, the Reverend E. A. Willis wrote the words to the Tiddlywinks Anthem.
Here are the words to the Tiddlywinks Anthem:
- This song was originally sung on 1 March 1958, at the opening of the CUTwC vs. Goons match at the Guildhall in Cambridge, England, first by Harry Secombe and then again, as invited by Secombe, also by the assembled crowds.
- Another version of this song was recorded shortly thereafter, and was also sung by Harry Secombe of The Goons radio comedy troupe. The edition was aired on the radio on 10 March 1958 as part of The Goons series 8, episode 24 named “Tiddleywinks”.