Billiard & Snooker Cue making in the
Peradon -Weildings -
MacMorrans -E.L. Fletcher
A short history of the firm with mention of
the other firms (J.Nidd, MacMorram, Weildings & E.L.Fletcher
& Son) that help make it as it is today.
This article has been assisted by the book
compiled by Mr. J.R. Mitchell titled ' A Trade History' addition
information has been added and the story brought up to date, also
the pictures have been added.
The development of Snooker & Billiard cues is
covered in Norman's article - 'the Days of Old No.9 Mace to Cue'
- in the UK the principal firm involved in making cues from the
early 1880's that still survives today is
Prior to the mid 1880's most cues were imported
from France in the rough state and were then hand finished by the
Billiard firms that existed at that time.
It was in 1885 that the Peradon business was
founded by Leopold George Peradon, whose father, a skilled cabinet
maker specialising in church furniture, had come to England from
France some 20 years earlier.
Leopold Peradon began making cues in the finished
state, the first were plain ash followed by one point, two point
and then four point hand spliced cues. It was some years before the
solid butted four point machine spliced cue was introduced which
later became the standard type of butt, generally used today,
although superior hand spliced cues are still being
The founder of
the firm - Leopold G. Peradon
In the early days the
cues were made by Leopold Peradon at his home in Linacre Road,
Willesden, with the assistance of his wife, who helped with the
polishing and packing of the cues. He then delivered the cues by
pony and trap at the same time he was able to accept orders with
exact requirements from the various London billiards traders.
information is taken from an early Peradon catalogue -
A director of one
of the oldest Billiard Makers, who had seen his work, invited him
to make some cues for them. At that time he was employing three or
His work proved so satisfactory that cue
making subsequently became the predominant line of his activity, so
much so that in 1885 he concentrated solely on making
In 1890 a move was made to Neasden in North
west London and in that year the famous "Peall Record" cue was
Leopold Peradon's two sons Fredrick George and
Louis Fraser, were brought into the business. They were sent to work in France in order to gain
further experience and then worked back in Willesden in the family
business making both machine and hand spliced billiard cues
supplying them in the complete finished state to the billiards
Early in the 20th
century the first cue lathe was invented which allowed for the
tapered turning of the cues so that the output of one man was
increased from ten or 12 cues per day up to almost 140 cues per
Ash & Maple
stock in the square seasoning before being worked on
Hand finishing of
Auto cue lathe
Finish turning of
Billiard cue - (by the shape of the lathe legs it is lathe
made by Fells of Cumbria)
So great was the demand
for Peradon cues that at this time another factory was opened near
Beauvais, in France. The additional output being shipped to the
United Kingdom until World War I commenced in 1914 which put an end
to this operation.
During the 1914-18 war
Peradon's made vast quantities of sticks for signalling flags were
supplied to the Ministry of Munitions as wireless communication was
not in use between units of the military forces.
At sometime after
the War Peradon's acquired the stock in trade of J. Nidd & Co.
Ltd. another small cue maker (note -
another John Nidd business was set up in Kentish Town again in the
Billiard trade and the 'collection' has a record of this business
in 1934 and another in 1959)
catalogue shows that Peradon had already incorporated Nidd
After World War I
during the period 1929-30, there was a tremendous increase in the
demand for billiard cues, brought about by the opening of several
thousand public billiard halls, and later still came an
unprecedented demand for small cues, required to equip the of
thousands of under sized home tables which were so very popular in
the 1930s. A lot of the cues
offered by the different billiard firms with their own brand names
were made by Peradon or by their competitors namely MacMorran or
Weilding. So the majority of the cues now appreciated by collectors
were made by these firms.
Front cover of a
MacMorran catalogue circa 1935 - Note their trade mark of
the World with a Crown on top
advert from 1930
It was during the 1930s
that Mr. Fredrick Peradon, ventured into the export market, and
then in order to oblige the overseas customers commenced a
wholesale distribution service for balls-cloth-rubber and most
other accessories for the billiards and snooker trade. In this he
was assisted by his sons Mr. L. L. F. (Bill) Peradon, who succeeded
to the control of the business following World War II .
Front cover of
Peradon's 1956 catalogue
Some of the
professional endorsed cues listed in the 1956 catalogue-
Walter Lindrum, Fred Davis, Joe Davis & Clarke
It was during the post
war period that the entire stock-in-trade, plant, goodwill, etc.,
of two other cue-making companies was acquired, namely MacMorran's
of Chalk Farm and Weildings of Acton. Each after the death or
retirement of the respective proprietors. This left the Peradon
Company as the only surviving manufacturers of billiard cues in the
entire British Commonwealth and it is to their credit that they did
not exploit the situation but served the trade faithfully
throughout many difficult years.
still trading as a separate business as late as 1957
Note the their trade mark - the Cannon - in the bottom left
Their range of
endorsed 'Professional' cues list quite a few of the top players of
as shown in these two pages from the 1957/7 catalogue they
Sydney Lee, Clark McConachy, Fred Davis, Walter Donaldson, Joe
Davis & Horace Lindrum. It would seem that the endorsed cue
ranges were made by several firms as the 1956 Peradon catalogue
also list cues of the same model by some of these players
It was in January 1958
that Peradon and Weilding came together in peradon's Willesden
factory. The Weilding customers were sent the letter announcing the
change as shown below.
After the businesses
were brought together the UK. Sales to the Billiard & Snooker
trade were made under the Weilding name with the export sales using
the Peradon name.
The Peradon price list of 1958/9 was issued in June 1958 and
on the inside front cover mentions the bringing together of Peradon
The list of the top players of the day who
had endorsed cues that were made by Peradon's is like a who's who
of Snooker & Billiard players of the era. Probably the most
famous Billiard player being Walter Lindrum who signed over the use
of his name on Cues to Peradon. His nephew Horace Lindrum also had
cues as well as such players as Joe Davis - some of these
professional endorsed cue ranges must have come with the take over
of Weildings - see their 1956/7 catalogue.
letter allowing Peradon to make and sell cues with his name on
without any royalty payment! This letter was as a result of a visit
to Australia by Mr. Peradon and according to a later letter written
in in April 1954 to Walter Lindrum's agent seems to relate to
monies owed to Peradon.
In 1966 the company was
'disturbed' as the result of local planning arrangements from their
premises in Willesden and so the company was moved to new modern
factory premises at Andover in Hampshire, where Mr. Bill Peradon
aided by Mr. Charles Gage continued the successful operation of the
An 'air brushed'
aerial picture of the factory - Southway, Walworth Industrial
It was hoped that Mr.
Bill Peradon's son David would join the business, and so carry on
the family tradition of cue making to the fourth generation, but
although David worked and gained all the necessary practical
experience working in the company for several years he finally
decided to follow another career. In preparation for retirement Mr.
Bill Peradon who was not enjoying the best of health decided to
sell his interests, but he did not want the company to be
controlled by people outside the billiards trade, and so
negotiations began early in 1976 with Mr. Norman Clare, of E. L.
Fletcher & Son Ltd.(also E.A. Clare & Son), and quietly
progressed but unfortunately Bill Peradon died in April 1977 before
final arrangements had been completed. The amalgamation with E. L.
Fletcher & Son, finally took place on 1st August 1977. with Mr.
Charles Gage, who had been with the Peradon company for over 40
years, being appointed Managing Director.
Part II - E. L. Fletcher & Son Ltd.
It was in the year 1920
shortly after World War I that Mr. E. L. Fletcher, an industrial
chemist started to manufacture a special type of wafer for fixing
the leather tips to the billiard cues.
Mr. E. L. Fletcher had
been severely gassed during the war and at times was only able to
supervise production from a couch situated within the works. His
special wafers proved to be vastly superior to the gelatine type of
wafers usually of French manufacture which had been previously used
for cue tipping. The new type English wafer was originally a light
yellow colour and Messrs. Thurston & Co., the London billiard
table manufacturers had the sole marketing rights.
A box of the
The above picture shows a few of the
Thurston 'yellow' wafers and the instruction leaflet that was
included in the box.
Once the wafer
production was well established Mr. Fletcher then successfully
experimented with the production of billiard cue tips and again the
first tips were marketed through Thurston & Co. Ltd., as sole
As the quality became
firmly established and as production methods became more efficient
the demand for Fletcher tips and wafers within the United Kingdom
and the Commonwealth, was so great that Thurston,s were approached
and agreed to allow their sole agency to lapse so that Fletcher
products could then be supplied direct to billiard table makers
throughout the world.
retained sole right to distribute the 'yellow' wafers, whilst for
the rest of the trade the colour was changed to green.
Typical box of
tips using the brand name Baldock
The Baldock tips
were the only Billiard tips made in the UK and as tips had been
invented in France the sizes have always been quoted in metric so a
size 10 is 10mm. Joe Davis endorsed the Baldock tips as shown by
the letter used by E.L. Fletcher & Son to promote their Baldock
During all this period
as the result of Mr. Fletcher's ill health it had been necessary
for his wife, Evelyn and his son Evan Fletcher to assist with the
practical work and with the administration.
Thus they then
possessed all the necessary practical skill and knowledge that
subsequently enabled the company to continue in the years after the
death of Mr. E. L. Fletcher. Evan Fletcher was tragically killed in
a shooting accident in the early 1950's.
The following items
give some idea of how important E.L.Fletcher & Son was to the
Billiard Trade, shown by thearticles inthe newspapers and the
magazines associated with the trade.
The business then
continued under the control of his mother Mrs. Evelyn Fletcher
until she was joined in 1954 by her son in law Mr. Arthur Ashmole
and his wife Mary (Mrs. E. Fletcher's daughter). Most
unfortunately, Mr. Ashmole died suddenly in 1971 leaving his wife,
Mary to operate the company.
Mary Ashmole is the
third from the right with Mrs Gentle to her left and Mrs. Bird on
She was very
resourceful and took a practical hand in the manufacture of the
billiard cue tips, but temporarily the production of the now famous
Fletcher English green wafers had to be abandoned, but the closely
guarded secret formula was safely preserved. In 1972 Mrs. Ashmole
decided to retire from the family business so the company's trading
interests were sold to the Directors of E.A.Clare & Son Ltd,
but production continued at the factory premises in Baldock, and
the manufacture of the green wafers was immediately recommenced,
under the control of Mr. Peter Clare as managing director.
The entrance to the
E.L. Fletcher factory is through the blue gates - No. 8 Hitchin
Street, Baldock, Herts.
The factory was from
the first section of brick built building on the right of the
The entrance to
the factorywas through the double blue/green doors
A new trade mark
for E. L. Fletcher & Son Ltd was designed
The tip boxes
were also re-designed
Later in 1975
following a considerable expansion of the company's trading
interests the company was moved to larger factory premises in
Liverpool, where the full range of high-class billiard cue tips and
the famous green wafers together with brass ferrules, screw tips,
continued to be produced and a completely new range of moulded
nylon accessories including cue clips, rest heads of all types,
pocket plates for miniature billiard tables, a range of rest hooks,
etc., was introduced and immediately became a successful addition
to the Fletcher range of products.This now also included the
wholesale distribution of snooker balls, billiard cloth, cushion
As mentioned in the
earlier 'Peradon' section it was during the early part of 1976,
negotiations for an amalgamation with Messrs. Peradon & Co.
Ltd., of Andover commenced which resulted in the establishment of
the new company Peradon & Fletcher Ltd., during August
Part III - Peradon & Fletcher Ltd.
The new trade
mark incorporated the earlier trade marks - The world with the
crown on top had originally been the MacMorran's and was modified
by Peradon to have the combined name Permac in the band, the Cannon
was Weildings along with Fletcher's Elf.
Peradon & Fletcher
Ltd. is an amalgamation of Peradon & Co. Ltd., (including their
subsidiaries) the leading manufacturer of billiard cues, with E. L.
Fletcher & Son Ltd., the leading manufacturer of billiard cue
tips of all types, resulting in a powerful combination offering a
first class service to the billiards trade in the United Kingdom
and with a world wide export trade. Mr. Charles Gage who has been
with the Peradon Company for over 40 years is now the managing
director of Peradon & Fletcher Ltd., supported by Mr. D. Owen,
previously with Fletcher's at Baldock and Liverpool, who joined the
Board of Directors responsible for sales and marketing. The
administration offices and the billiard cue factory are based at
Andover in Hampshire.
a 1978 picture of the
Liverpool staff - Norman Clare is sitting
The branch factory
continues the manufacture of the cue tips and other products at
Liverpool. Stocks of all the other billiards and snooker
accessories being carried at both factories so that a quick and
efficient distribution service is available to the entire billiards
The 1985 Peradon
& Fletcher catalogue promoted the trade counters at the factory
sites. The early 1980's were a time when Snooker was expanding
quickly and numerous small business set up and were happy to
collect their requirements direct from the factory.
The trade mark
was updated in about 1983 using a stylised version of a 'crown'
keeping the association with the crown from the 'Permac'
During these years cues
were made for many of the top players and endorsed cues sold
through and for the Snooker & Billiard trade. Cues were made
for such well know names as - Ray Readon, Rex Williams, Jack
Karnhem, Eddie Charlton, Terry Griffiths, Willie Thorne, Mark
Wildman, Steve Davis and John Parrott to name but a few. Examples
of the butt plates from these cues are on display in the Billiards
& Snooker Heritage Collection at Thurston in Liverpool
signing with Charlie Gage holding one of the 'new' designed
One of the
Peradon & Fletcher adverts - circa 1980
Many overseas snooker
business had cues made for them by Peradon, so the name is known
from South Africa to New Zealand, from Hong Kong to Australia,
Malaysia to Canada and Europe in other words any where the game of
Snooker is played. Again cue butt plates are on display
On Mr. Gage's
retirement, Del Owen became the M.D. And when he resigned in 1988
Vince Bendon, the works director, who had been with the cue making
side of the business since before the move from Willesden., became
the Managing Director. Vince had a vast knowledge on cue making
from complete hand work to use of the lathes and his experience was
a strength to the cue manufacture.
Vince Bendon (on
the left) showing Terry Griffiths round the Andover
George Hampson who had
worked for E.A. Clare & Son in Liverpool and had gained further
woodworking knowledge in France joined the cue making business in
Andover as the Works Director.
admiring his Snooker Cue range on the Peradon & Fletcher stand
at the Sports Trade show circa 1986
John Parrott and
Willie Thorne Professional Snooker Cue range as shown in the 1986
Peradon & Fletcher catalogue
In the 1980's there was
boom in the interest of snooker and the demand for cues especially
for the expanding Snooker Hall market was great. Peradon &
Fletcher's re-fitted the factory to mass produce cues to meet this
demand. With rapid copy lathes and conveyor spray finishing the
production of snooker cues was greatly increased to meet the
demand. Also at that time UK based competitors as well as overseas
cue makers entered the market. So when the boom in demand came to
an end and the market was requiring 'hand made' quality Peradon
& Fletcher's had to rapidly adjust. Especially as the demand
for the UK made tips had dropped as imported 'blue tips' were in
demand. Also the wafers for sticking the tips onto the cues had
been replaced by more modern adhesives.
In 1985 a
celebration dinner was held to mark the 100th Anniversary of the
founding of Peradon's.
The Andover and
Liverpool staff at the 100th Anniversary Dinner
Later that year, in
November 1985, the Andover warehouse suffered a major fire,
fortunately the factory and offices were not effected other than by
smoke and the staff rallied round to get production back very
The Liverpool branch
was closed in the late 1980's with all the stock and administration
moved to the Andover site.
In February 1993
Peradon & Fletcher's were proud to sign up Steve Davis to
endorse a range of their cues.
L - R - J.
Poulton (Peradon Sales); Peter Clare (Peradon Director); Steve
(Peradon M.D.); John Hines (Sales Director Matchroom)
& Fletcher Catalogue which feature the Steve Davis
Part IV - And back to - Peradon
Later in 1994 when the lease on the Andover factory was up for
renewal it was decided to move the complete factory to new premises
in Liverpool and at the same time the business name reverted to
Peradon dropping the "& Fletcher." Tom Brophy who had been the
Bowls production Manager for Drakes Pride took over the running of
the Liverpool factory . The official opening of the Liverpool
factory was by Robin Squire M.P. - sponsor Minister for Merseyside
- on 2nd November 1994. The following year the directors and staff
were delighted to have a Royal visitor H.R.H. The Duke of Kent who
came to the factory on 25th September 1995.
HRH The Duke of
Kent examining a Cue with Tom Brophy, Works Director of
Shortly after the move
the business became the trade and wholesale department for
Snooker,Pool and Billiards of E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. and Mike
Eggington the great grandson of the founder of E.A. Clare, took
charge of the sales.
pages from the
1998 Peradon Cue & Accessories brochure
In 1998 John Parrott
again selected to endorse the Peradon range and a further range of
cues were developed. He also wore a Peradon patch on his waistcoat.
So two famous names in Snooker had a Liverpool connection.
The current trade
mark - only a slight change made in 1998 from the 1983
The Peradon range
of cues made in the U. K. is recognised as being reliable and
consistent with a full range of hand finished cues, four point
butted cues as well as hand spliced cues made in their Liverpool
factory. They only supply to the trade (Peradon do not sell
direct to the public so for any Peradon Snooker cues or accessories
visit - www.thurston.co.uk ) throughout the UK
and export worldwide. They do offer the public the chance to buy a
bespoke cue direct from them via www.cuewizard.co.uk - see offer below for a discount on a bespoke
The hand made and
finished cues rely on well seasoned selected timber and a dedicated
staff who have a feel not only for the final product but also for
the parts that are brought together to achieve a well balance and
finished cue for Snooker, Pool or Billiards.
Selecting the season
Wood planes for
shaping the cue shaft
Fitting the first two
Fitting the butt
The shaft having the
finish applied by hand
The pictures show just
a few of the stages the a hand made snooker, pool or billiard cue
goes through during its production at Peradon's. Their cue making
tradition go right back to the very earliest development of the cue
and they make sure that that tradition is as important today as it
has always been.
The keen Snooker, Pool
or Billiard player can design their own Peradon made cue on the
selecting, for example, the shaft timber - the butt timber and
veneers - the cues length - tip size etc. and will give you a price
for the cue you have designed - if it is acceptable you can then
place it on order. The "normanclare" site has negotiated a deal
with Peradon to save you some money - all you need to do is mention
the normanclare web site in the 'Other Information' box on the
cuewizard order form and get a 5% discount off the price
© E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. 2009 - All items
displayed are from the N. Clare collection. Reproduction of article
allowed only with permission from E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.
Please do not hesitate to ask should any advice
on snooker, billiard or pool or wish to make a purchase. Thurston
has the most comprehensive range of tables and accessories
available see our -
e-shop - www.thurston.co.uk
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