‘Action’ according to its creator or author Author Lubran is a ‘thrilling’ war or chess variant game played on a draught board of 64 squares.
First make your own pieces; after all this is one of six games in his booklet, Let’s Make a Game!
I can find no obvious publishing date on this booklet by Bairn’s Books, Imperial House, Dominion Street, London EC2 (B/300/16 68copyright printed in England) but the style suggests 1940s. The style of tanks suggests early British tanks, the Spitfire style monoplane and British soldier also suggest early 1940s.
The style of front cover is surprisingly bright but the children look 1940s enough.
The Do It Yourself scrap modelling “make your own games and toys” approach in the first place also suggests as war time shortages there were not many toy manufacturers in Britain left in production and obviously no toy imports from Germany or the continent.
In the introduction there are a couple of clues to its wartime origin – Lubran suggests that you: “Make the games … Share them with friends in shelters, billets, hostels, clubs, schools, hospitals, at home or wherever else they may be.”
Shelters and billets sound very wartime. He also suggests that “when the games become worn out or broken, save them for the salvage collector“, another wartime clue.
Pen knives, saws and hammers are required, so maybe this is something an older child or adult might make for younger children. However in the 1940s no such health and safety culture existed and these would be within the capability of many a boy (or girl). When you see (below) where Lubran worked, it would be little problem for a boy to knock up these makeshift games with the right tools and materials.
Occasional copies of this 17 page booklet turn up on EBay. Most of this Educational and Instructional Series games in the booklet are quite mathematical and complex.
Players of Hex and Grid war games will find it an interesting version of what Donald Featherstone called Wargames as “Chess with a thousand pieces”
Behind this little booklet is an interesting story of Jewish emigration, wartime evacuation and a highly prolific author.
Who was Alfred Lubran?
I can find no obituary or website for Alfred Lubran.
A UK Teachers’ Registration record exists for 1934-36 for his role as his art and handicraft teaching at the Bayswater Jewish School (now http://SinaiSchool.com ) and later Principal in The Jewish Orphanage in West Norwood, the building of which closed in 1963.
Part of its work merged with a Jewish organisation for learning difficulties, maybe reflected in some of his education / psychology titles https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwood_(charity)
During World War II, the children were evacuated to homes in Worthing and Hertford and the Jewish Orphanage building in Norwood was used by the London Fire Brigade as a training centre.
Alf Graham in his reminiscences recalls http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.movinghere.org.uk/stories/story249/story249.htm?identifier=stories/story249/story249.htm&ProjectNo=9
“In the winter months in the short evenings we had to pursue hobbies under supervision. There was a large choice like crafts, leatherwork, painting, drawing, and other things … It was compulsory to take up some activity. You were not allowed to opt out and had to stay with it once chosen. I must say that having a hobby of some sorts stayed with me for the rest of my life. I have never been without one.”
A photograph of the carpenters shop can be found at Jewish Museum of London Norwood files http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.movinghere.org.uk/stories/story249/story249.htm?identifier=stories/story249/story249.htm&ProjectNo=9
Alfred Lubran, prolific author
As for Alfred Lubran (not to be confused with author Alfred Lubrano), apart from his teaching role , appears to have been a highly prolific author and compiler of small press publications on an impressively wide and eclectic range of themes including words, the British Printing Society http://www.bpsnet.org.uk, Special Educational Needs, teaching, printing, world poetry, heraldry and children’s poems and stories. He seemed very fond of the word ‘abecedeum’ in his many titles, maybe an alphabetical ABC compilation.
A family history search suggests he was born in 1913, possibly not in the U.K., married a Beatrice Bennister in 1949 and he died in Christchurch, Dorset in May 2001. Lubran is quite an unusual name. Two other Lubran names crop up in recent times, the marriages of a Timothy Lubran and Robert Lubran. Possibly sons?
Assuming they are all the same man, there are currently around 108 Book listings for Alfred Lubran on worldcat.org
Similarly he is well listed as out of print on Amazon
and many limited edition copies on Abe Books.
Some of his illustrated early reading books for children such as I Can ‘Phone are published by Brimax in 1957. Many of these other prolific publication are short limited editions by his own private press Narbulla Press or Agency of London (anagram or spell Narbulla backwards and you get his name ‘Al Lubran’) throughout the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when Narbulla seems to have moved to 12 Fitzmary Avenue, Westbrook, Margate or Deal in Kent.
Margate incidentally was the holiday home area for the Jewish Orphanage in summer. He was then published by (his own?) Thimble Press of Christchurch, Dorset throughout the 1990s until 2001 where he lived until his death in 2001.
Lubran’/ prolific writing career seems to have taken off in the late 1960s, after his Jewish Orphanage school building closed or moved out into the community.
His 1980 book A List of Mini-Book printers in Herne Hill (London) is catalogued on world cat.org as “An advertisement for Lubran’s Narbulla Agency, which is the only firm in the list. Edition limited to 160 copies, “produced for distribution to members and guests at the Wynkyn de Worde Society’s luncheon.” This society http://www.wynkyndeworde.co.uk/# still exists, dedicated to the art and history of printing and typography. Other listings for Narbulla list it in the 1970s at 4 Stradella Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24, possibly where he lived.
Lubran has an impressive collection of letters after his name – FRSA, Fellow of the RSA, M.B.Ps.S, Member of the British Psychological Society, M.R.S.T. Member of the Royal Society of Teachers? and A.Coll.H ? Associate of the College of Handicraft possibly?
Some of his ‘wordy’ books can be downloaded including this reprinted list (see link below) of the names for collectors of different things including the name for collections of ammunition, swords, bows, old guns, spears, muskets (Percussophily) and naval and military uniforms, Nautemephily and Sambatohphily.
An impressively long and varied publishing career.
Who knows what Alfred Lubran would have done if he had survived into the Age of Blogging?
If anyone knows more about Alfred Lubran, I will be happy to add it as a postscript here.
More incidental hobby learning.
Posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, October 2016.