Thos. Padmore & Sons

Billiards, Snooker & Pool in Birmingham.

 

This famous Birmingham Billiard (Snooker) business now trading under the name of Thurston has a long and enviable reputation not just in the UK but also anywhere the sport of Billiards has been played. It seems that like some of the other significant Billiard (Snooker) businesses that money could be made in the mid 19th Century in the billiard trade. The family house Thomas Padmore built as mentioned in the article is quite impressive.

Thomas Padmore's Home

The family house of Thomas Padmore, the founder of the firm, and the report about it in 2006

002_gordonpadmore

Letter from Gordon Padmore concerning the article about the 'old' family house published in the local newspaper

It was Thomas Padmore, who moved from London to Birmingham, established the business in 1830 in Little Charles Street as an ivory, wood turning and cabinet makers. As a result of demand for Billiard equipment he turned his hand to Billiard tables and accessories. After his death in 1871 his sons' John and Edwin, who had joined the firm some years earlier, continued to expand the business and built their factory and offices in 1871 at 118 Edmund Street in Birmingham. In time the third generation joined the partnership and the cousins Frank & Douglas Padmore increased production of Billiards equipment. These premises were almost destroyed in March 1910 by a major fire.


003_118Edmund Street

The Edmund Street premises 1910-1940

 Fire at Thos Padmore & Sons

From the front cover of the album of pictures after the fire

Report on Billiard Company Fire

fire story Padmores

Padmore's Fire

Some of the Newspaper articles about the fire

Fire damage in Padmore's offices 

 Internal views of the office and factory after the fire

 Damaged Billiard tables 010_afterfire

fire damaged factory 012_afterfire

after the fire at Thos Padmore & Sons

They were able to reopen after the fire and survived the 1930's depression. During the WW1 Edgar Padmore joined up leaving the older generation to run the business. During this period it was mainly involved in the war effort. The early Padmore catalogues show that the business was heavily involved with the production of the metal accessories for Billiards, from the gas lighting units to the brass rest heads and other brass items such as Billiard Cue clips and Cue ferrules, which they not only retailed but also sold to the rest of the trade.


Brass Billiard Fittings

015_cuecases

Billiard Pocket Plates, Rest Heads

Padmore were also suppliers to the Billiard Trade for brass table fittings as this early catalogue shows

 

Thos Padmore exhibition stand

picture from their catalogue showing the stand at the 1925 British Industries Fair

It seems that in the late 1800's and early 1900's the promoter of Billiard Championships started to get the Billiard firms to pay for the privilege of installing a table, still true in the late 20th century and early 21st.. So for the 1909 Billiard Association Professional Championships played at the National Sporting Club, Covent Garden in March 1909, between Melbourne Inman (who won) and A.E. (Albert) Williams, a Manchester professional. It is reported that championships suffered a heavy deficit, even when the gate receipts were included in with the amount obtained from the table maker for the privilege of erecting the table!

Melbourne Inman letter to Thomas Padmore & Sons


The above reference and copy letter is taken from another of the early Padmore catalogues. It is worth noting that the Padmore name at the top of the left hand page has the 'P' extended over the rest of the name. This is one of the earlier uses of this trade mark introduced by Edgar Padmore in the 1920's, which eventually was became the accepted way the Padmore name was shown on all their stationary.

Thos. Padmore Bagatelle Table Plate

An early T. Padmore & Son plate which is on a folding bagatelle table

In 1933 the World Billiard Championships between Walter Lindrum, Joe Davis , Tom Newman and Clark McConachy was played on a Padmore Table. Padmore's were able to publish a letter from these players in subsequent catalogues.

Padmore catalogue 1933 

Walter Lindrum from Australia, probably the greatest exponent of the game of English Billiards, endorsed Padmore Billiard Tables and equipment. As can be seen from the catalogues of the time.

Padmore catalogue Walter Lindrum

Walter Lindrum in Padmore catalogue

It was during the 1930's that Terence Padmore joined the business but when he and his cousin Neville Padmore enlisted it left Edgar to manage the business during World War II. During the war years the metal working side of the business made amongst other things parts for bicycles and stacking units for gun shells!

022_Pad Cat 

Thos Padmore Billiard Table Price List

023_Padmore _cats 0007

Padmores Accessories Price List

Padmore edorcement by top billiard players

The top Billiard Players of the day endorsed Padmore Billiard Tables

Tudor TABLE

A very fine Padmore designed Billiard Table The 'Tudor'

Tudor Billiard Table

A Tudor table in a very fine setting

Padmore bagatelle & Small Billiard tables

Padmore did the full range of Billiard & Bagatelle tables

Thos Padmore building 1940

118 Edmund Street on 26th October 1940

In the blitz of 1940 the St. Edmund Street premises were destroyed. The business then moved into temporary accommodation until after the war when premises at 3 Coleshill Street, Birmingham were obtained. Prior to moving to Coleshil Street the business was temporarily housed in rooms at the Grand Hotel 95 Colmore Street. the following two items are associated with that address.

The picture is taken from the Padore Leterhead printing plate (We have mirrored it so it is easier to read) and has the 95 Comore St. address added at the bottom right of the plate. It is also possible to see that the date section has had the figure 3 (from 193(0's) crossed through.

 Tps2

Also showing the Padmore tempoary address in 1941 is the following letter

Thos Padmore Letter 1941

After the war Snooker began to be the game played on Billiard tables and slowly the equipment and tables became snooker cue, snooker chalk, snooker tables etc. In 1951 the business became a limited Company - Thos. Padmore & Sons Ltd..

Padmore premises Coleshill Street

Thos. Padmore's premises at 3 Coleshill Street

Thos Padmore catalogue 1954

Padmore's 150 years

Front of 1955 catalogue celebrating 125 years

 

Padmore 1955

a cutting from a 1955 newspaper reporting the sale of a Billiard table to Russia and also mentioning their special Anniversary Cue celebrating 125 years.

In the 1950 the Coleshill Street premises were compulsory purchased and the Company moved into 8-12 Cheshire Street, Birmingham. Edgar Padmore died in 1958 leaving Terence, his cousin, and Neville Padmore, his son, to run the Company.

 

In 1966 Terence retired and Neville, then the Company's Managing Director joined with E.A. Clare & Son Ltd and Thurston to form the Clare - Padmore - Thurston Group. In the 1960's the Cheshire Street premises were compulsory purchased for the building of the Aston Express Way and so it was that in 1969 premises at 180/182 Lozells Road were purchased.

Neville Padmore 1830_1980

In 1980 Thos. Padmore & Sons celebrated 150 years in the industry and the picture below of Mr. Neville Padmore in the shop in Lozells Road was taken by the local Birmingham newspaper.

In August 1983 the self proclaimed 'most recognised man in the world', Muhammed Ali was in Hansworth opening a social and sports centre named in his honour. On walk about before hand he paid an unexpected visit to the Padmore shop in Lozells Road. Neville Padmore was delighted to be able to have his picture taken with him when he was in the shop.

Muhammad Ali & Neville Padmore

Neville Padmore shaking hands with Muhammad Ali in the Padmore shop in Lozells. You can see in the picture that Muhammad Ali was mobbed by the crowd who had welcomed him in Handsworth

Padmore catalogue

Padmore Bowls catalogue

Example of catalogues at the time of the move from Cheshire Street to Lozells Road

During the 1970's the three businesses of E.A. Clare & Son, Thos. Padmore & Sons and Thurston trade under their separate identities but in the early 1980's they traded as the Clare - Padmore - Thurston Group with a common national and international identity.

In 1969 the BBC broadcast the first of the 'POT BLACK' programmes Clare - Padmore - Thurston were involved from the beginning installing the Snooker table in the Birmingham studios.

Pot Black early days

Pot Black circa 1970

Ted Lowe the famous 'whispering voice of Snooker' commentator standing to the left of Eddie Charlton who seems to be giving John Pulman some advice on his shot(!). On a Clare-Padmore-Thurston Jubilee Model Snooker Table

In 1988 the Clare - Padmore - Thurston Group amalgamated to trade under the historic, to the Billiard & Snooker trade, name of THURSTON. The Birmingham office being run by Neville's son Gordon Padmore the great, great, great grandson of the founder ensuring the continued family association with trade and commerce in the great UK City of Birmingham.

In 1990 the premises in Lozells Road were sold and the current (2008) premises at 273/275 Lichfield Road, Aston were acquired.

Padmores Shop

The Thurston, Padmore House shop and office are just across the road from Aston Railway Station. Parking is available just along the road and at the rear of the premises. (In 2012 the shop premises were closed as sales were mainly being made via the www.thurston.co.uk e-shop. The office remains in Birmingham)

   Bham Shop pre 2012 Bham Shop2 pre 2012

The interior of the shop showing the extensive selection of cues and snooker/pool tables on display. A comprehensive range of Crown Green Bowls and accessories as well as darts and bingo tickets etc. are also stocked.  (In 2012 the shop premises were closed as sales were mainly being made via the www.thurston.co.uk e-shop. The office remains in Birmingham)

 Gordon Padmore

Gordon Padmore the great, great,great grandson of the founder Thomas Padmore
Director of the Company based at Padmore House

Nowadays the business offers not only a full service for Snooker, Pool and Billiards tables and accessories but also a centre of excellence for Crown Green Bowls as well as a darts, bingo and trophies. Well worth a visit to 273/275 Lichfield Road, Aston or shop on line at www.thurston.co.uk.

Please do not hesitate to ask should need any advice on snooker, billiards or pool or wish to make a purchase. Thurston has the most comprehensive range of tables and accessories available.

© E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. 2009 - All items displayed are from the Billiard & Snooker Heritage collection. Reproduction of articles allowed only with permission from E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.

Visit our e-shop - www.thurston.co.uk

email - thurston@eaclare.co.uk

Phone - 0151 482 2700

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