for Joost, ‘Where does the word ‘Mall’ come from”
source wikipedia:Pall mall
Pall mall (pronounced pal-mal) or palle maille was a game played in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a precursor to croquet. The name comes from the Italian pallamaglio, which literally means “-mallet-ball”. It was played in a long alley with an iron hoop suspended over the ground at the end. The object was to strike a boxwood ball of about 1 foot (30cm) in circumference (about the same size as a modern croquet ball) with a heavy wooden mallet along the alley and through the hoop with the fewest hits possible.
Pall mall was popular in Italy, France and Scotland, and spread to England in the 17th century. The name “pall mall” refers not only to the game, but also to the mallet used and the alley in which it was played. Many cities still have long straight roads or promenades which evolved from the alleys in which the game was played. Such in London are Pall Mall and The Mall, in Hamburg the Palmaille and in Utrecht (NL) the Maliebaan. When the game fell out of fashion, some of these pall malls evolved into shopping precincts, hence the modern name of shopping centres in the USA: shopping malls; others evolved into grassed shady promenades, still called malls today.
The game, and its gentler descendent lawn billiards, is administered by the Hampstead Lawn Billiard and Skittles Club, and it has recently been revived by the Village CC who have been asked to play it in the 2012 Olympics as a demonstration sport.