Norman's Lectures


Norman Clare - Chairman of The Clare group of businesses

Additional information that has been added to Norman's 1979 lecture are shown in italics. All photographs have been added but most are taken from the items Norman took with him or photographs he used during his lectures. Norman mainly gave his lecture on behalf of the Billiards & Snooker Control Council at the training weekend for Billiard & Snooker coaches at the Sports Councils Centre at Lilleshall. He was also frequently asked to be the 'speaker' at many other functions.

Billiards & Snooker Control Council

I am sure we will all agree that we should not just consider the existing design and construction of Billiard Tables and their accessories, but that first of all we should look back into history so far as we reasonably can, so that we can understand something of the way in which the Billiard Tables and their Accessories have developed.
Many people probably think Billiard Tables have never really altered in design or construction since the game was first invented. However, like many other very old games, the Billiard Table and its equipment has slowly evolved in construction and design over a very long period of time.
Various different games, all enjoying the name of "Billiards" are played throughout the world. At some time in the past they probably had a common origin, but in different countries they have each developed in a different direction, with the result that games of Billiards as played in countries as near to us as France and Germany' are totally different from the game as played in the United Kingdom and there are very great differences in the design and construction of the Billiard Tables and Accessories.
In the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, there is now something of a tendency for players to call the tables "Snooker Tables" and to purchase 'Snooker Cues", and to even ask for "Snooker Chalk".
The game of Snooker is of comparatively recent origin (see Article on 'Origins of Snooker'), and we will have something more to say about it later on in the series of lectures. Let me at this point say that when ever we refer to a Billiard Table or any Billiard Accessories you can generally take it that we are also at the same time referring to Snooker Tables and Accessories., and also including the many other different games which are played upon Billiard Tables.
The United Kingdom plays the game of "English Billiards", and naturally this is the game that has been taken by English emigrants literally to the four corners of the earth, so that throughout what we now know as the British Commonwealth, you will find that it is the game of English Billiards which has become established.
However, the game which we generally refer to as "Continental Billiards", which I think the correct name is "Carambolage", which is played in most other European countries, has been taken by emigrants from those countries to areas of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish influence., with the result that in those parts of the world, which at one time or another came under their control its the "Carambolage" game which has become established. The principal difference which one can see at a glance is that the Continental style tables do not have any pockets, and thus the game is entirely made up of a series of canons, whilst the English table has pockets at each corner and at the centre position of each of the long sides of the tables.
In the United States of America, where the population is of very mixed European origin, games of Billiards in general follow the Continental style and are played upon tables without any pockets, but at the same time a large number of different games, all of which we generally refer to as "American Pool" are played on tables which have pockets, very similar to English tables. Just to make the game a little more involved, in some parts of the world Billiards is played with four balls instead of the usual three.
As a direct result of these many differences in the form of game throughout the world, you will realise that it is not really possible to organise true International Championships, as it is for such games as Golf, Football, Table Tennis etc.
It would I think be a very good thing if we could try and work towards International Standardisation of Billiard Tables Accessories, and of course the rules of play. This however is obviously a tremendous task, but perhaps we should start by thinking about the problems involved.