Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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28 January 2009

See The Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen is probably the oldest chess set in Britain and was carved in Norway from Walrus or Whale Teeth in the 11th Century.

Whilst the Chessmen have a colourful history, (see also here - with thanks to the blackheath bugle) it is unclear how they came from Norway to Scotland, where they were discovered in a sandbank at the head of the Bay of Uig on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in the 19th Century.

Over the past few years there has been some dispute by Scottish Nationalists over whether it is appropriate that, of the 93 pieces, only 11 pieces are in Scotland, at the National Museum in Edinburgh, whilst 82 remain in the British Museum. For the time being however, they remain here, as a testament to how the aristocracy of Early Modern Europe loved a good game of chess.

The British Museum is free and is open daily from 10am - 17.30pm, and later on Thursdays and Fridays. For more information visit the Lewis Chessmen page on the Website.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of sergis blog ^


  1. They look great! Like Noggin the Nog!

    More on the suspicious tale here: http://textualities.net/geoff-chandler/not-even-from-lewis-mate-2/