The number system on the board is often credited to Brian Gamlin, a carpenter from Bury, Lancashire, who is said to have invented it at the age of 44 in 1896 but he died in 1903 without patenting it. But alas after extensive research viewing the English and Wales Census no trace of Brian’s existence can be found. This is not to say he didn't exist, as some reports say that Brian was also attached to a travelling circus and may have missed the census at the time.
According to another source, Thomas William Buckle invented the dartboard in 1913. The source in question is his son, Thomas Edward Buckle who made this statement in Darts World Magazine 1992 (issue 234).
To read more about the dartboard numbering system and Bury Councils flower display click here
Did you know the length of a dart can not exceed an overall length of 30.5 cm (12ins) nor weigh more than 50 grams. No rules on the length of your moustache!
The most commonly used dart boards are known as bristle boards, but they are in fact made from compressed sisal a material used in rope making. Not pig or horse bristle that some like to believe.
In 1978 Leighton Rees from Wales became the first World Darts Champion. He received a trophy and a cheque for £3,000. In 2007 Raymond van Barneveld won the PDC World Darts Championship and received a trophy and a cheque for £100,000. It is reported that the PDC World Championship first prize for 2010 will be £250,000
John Lowe from England recorded the first televised 9 dart 501 game in the 1984 at the MFI World Match Play.
The height of the dart board is 5’8” to the centre of the bull although there is no real evidence to establish why this height was chosen. It is believed that this was the average height of a man during the 1920’s and therefore this height was used.
Why 501? Originally darts was played over 301. When darts was introduced to the public houses of Great Britain there was no easy way of scoring a game so a cribbage score board (card game) was used. A cribbage board has 60 holes in it and you score by moving a peg along the holes. You have to go around a cribbage board 5 times to score 300 however in order to win a game of cribbage you have to score an extra 1 thus 301.
Why is the standard darts throwing distance set at 7’9 ¼”? When the British Darts Organisation (BDO) was set up in the 1970’s there were two recognized throwing distances. The National Darts Association (no longer in existence) used 7’6” and the News of the World darts championship 8’0”. To compromise the BDO set a length of 7’9” but at this time the UK was becoming part of the European Union and metric was being introduced; 7’9” didn’t convert easily, therefore the distance was extended to 7’ 9 ¼” which is exactly 2.37m
Did you know besides sisal, dart boards have been made from many different types of materials: various woods, paper and even clay!
There are 62 scoring segments on a dart board. That is a single, double and treble for each number (counting the inner and outer single segments as one), plus the inner and outer bull giving you 238,328 possible scoring combinations using three scoring darts.
Where does the word Oche come from? 'Oche' as a word meaning the throwing line which a dart player stands behind to throw his or her darts is comparatively recent, being introduced by the British Darts Organisation in the mid-1970s. The actual word is believed to be derived from Old Flemish (or similar) meaning a notch or nick. Before then, the truth is that, since the 1920s, the word was ‘Hockey’ and not ‘Oche’ was used in competition rules. This word was used by the News of the World for their individual darts competitions from the late 1920s onwards. References to 'Hockey and Son' Brewery and the throwing distance being created by putting beer creates end to end has always been a nice theory but it is totally untrue. No such Brewery every existed in the UK
Over the years many myths have repeated as regards how the Hockey / Oche length came to be but why 7’ 9 ¼ “ / 2.73m it is rather a weird length isn’t it! Why not 7’10” or 2.8m? It basically comes down to trying to standardise the Oche length across the Country and in Europe. In the UK several setups where commonly used however two of the most prominent were 7’6” and 8’, The News of the World Championships was played at 8’ so why the change?Before and after the 1939-45 war a 9ft throw was popular Hockey (Oche) length. However that was to change. From 9ft, the throwing distance gradually crept nearer the board until 7ft 6in was the rule for most major competitions in UK with exception of the News of The World Completion that remained at 8ft. Players from outside the UK were not happy with the 7ft 6in because they felt it was too short and during a meeting with in December 1977 with the World Darts Federation a compromise was met. The Federation worked in meters not imperial measurement used in the UK for dartboard set-up; 7ft 6in is 2.28 meters, and 8ft is 2.44 meters. To make an agreed length a compromise was made halfway between the two, but wait a minute, halfway between the two is 7’9” so where does the extra ¼” come from? 7’ 9” didn’t equate nicely into metric so the addition of ¼” made the distance fit nicely at 2.37m hence the standard Oche length of today. Did you know darts is a recognized sport and not a game! Recognized as a sport by Sports England on the 25th March 2005. The Crucible of Darts! Opened in 1970, Leeds Irish Centre became the social and cultural heart of the city’s Irish Community but it was the arrival of Yorkshire Television pub game series ‘Indoor League’ in 1973 presented by Fred Trueman that draw millions of viewers to watch televised darts. The first series darts was played on a traditional ‘Yorkshire Dartboard’ a board that doesn’t feature a treble ring or outer Bullseye. Fred Truman would say it was ‘proper darts’ he would coming from Yorkshire. The standard Clock board soon replaced it in later series. Dave Lanning and Sid Waddell also feature as commentator and producer. Jocky Wilson is reported of saying the Bronze Bully was harder to win than an actual Professional Darts Tournament. All dart professional want to win this unique prize and only a few can say they have. The highest nine dart score during the TV shows is held jointly by Eric Bristow and Mike Gregory both scored an impressive 380*. However during the 2011 Bullseye Theatre Tour Bob Anderson topped the leader table with an incredible 420! Making this the new highest score thrown for the Bronze Bully. The charity for the theatre tour was Help for Heroes and they received £840. Did you know that the Bullseye TV Gameshow has been on British TV for more than 30 years! It was first broadcast in 1981 and repeats are still being broadcast on Challenge TV. In December 2006, after more than ten years part-time, self-funded research Patrick Chaplin was awarded a PhD by the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. For his thesis on ‘DARTS IN ENGLAND 1900-1939 – A SOCIAL HISTORY’ He is fondly known as ‘Dr Darts’!