Autumn
2023
Welcome to the online edition of Autumn 2023. 
I am a UK-based lifestyle and portrait photographer and I make seasonal zines throughout the year, dwelling on themes of community, environment and sustainability. 
This one is all about the game of conkers.​​​​​​​
The horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) was introduced to the UK from Turkey in the 16th century and has become a stalwart in parks and gardens around the country.
 The origin and history of the game are not as clear as you may think, but the seeds of the tree, once used as equine medicine, have become a right of passage for children in communities up and down the British Isles.
“One very odd amusement, which I never saw or heard of elsewhere, was greatly in vogue at this school. It was performed with snail shells, by placing them against each other, point to point, and pressing till the one was broken in, or sometimes both. This was called conquering; and the shell which remained unhurt, acquired esteem and value in proportion to the number over which it had triumphed, an accurate account being kept.” 
Robert Southey, poet
 “Memoir: Recollections of Corston,” 28 December 1821, recalling his school days near Bristol in 1782.
From its core material to its rules, rhymes and songs, the game has grown throughout the country, taking on regional traits and personalities as it has evolved over the years. 
“Obbly, obbly onkers, my first conquers;
Obbly, obbly O, my first go.”
Alice Bertha Gomme, British folklorist
Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1894
My huge thanks go to all of the organisers and competitors at The Vale of Belvoir Conker Championship.
Graham Clark and George's Horse for permission to use their wonderful recording of Trunkles on the soundtrack.
In particular Amy for her support and assistance in helping to make this happen.
And of course Robin, otherwise known as Prince Conker!
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