A street in the City of Westminster
, England. It is the main thoroughfare of St. James's district. St. James's Palace, Marlborough House
, and a number of private clubs
are on Pall Mall. The name derives from the game
pall mall or paille maille, which was played in front of the palace in the 17th century.
Known originally as Paille-Maille in French, and later as Pall-Mall in English, the name of this game means "ball and mallet
". Like many games dating back in history, the exact origin of this game is difficult to determine. It was mentioned as early as the 13th century in French
texts. It perhaps came into its highest popularity in mid-1800s when the rules developed a set course, started being played on manicure
d lawns, added more wicket
s and became known as Croquet
. Most likely this name came from the Old Norman
-French word that meant the crook
on a shepard
's staff, referring to the original shape of the mallets.
The game of Billiards
also evolved during the 15th century from Pall-Mall in Northern Europe (probably France). Play of the game moved indoors to a wooden table with green cloth
draped on it to simulate grass
, and edges added to keep the balls in play. The balls were shoved rather than struck with wooden sticks called "maces" that looked very similiar to modern hockey stick
s with small blades
. Originally there was a six-pocket table with a wicket (hoop) for the balls to pass through and a stake
used as a target
to hit before sending the balls into the pockets
. These were removed from use in the 18th century, leaving only the pockets.