Origins of Snooker
At the beginning of the notes I did
say that I would later on refer to the Game of Snooker, which I
think we must admit is now very much more popular amongst ordinary
club players than the original game of Billiards.
It seems that Snooker was originally "thought up" by a young
officer serving with the 11th Regiment (now the Devonshire's) in
India at Jubbulpore in 1875. Apparently a popular game in the
Officers Mess at the time was called Black Pool. This young
subaltern suggested adding another coloured ball to the game.
Gradually more coloured balls were added, and so the game of
snooker was invented.
It was probably at this time relatively easy to add additional
balls of other colours, as they would be made of Ivory, and Ivory
is easily stained to almost any required colour.
This story was originally revealed by Sir Compton
Mackenzie in an article which was published in "The Billiard
Player" in 1939. (see Article on 'Origins of Snooker) Sir Compton
said he had heard it from the inventor himself. He went on to say
that the man who added the coloured ball to the game of Black Pool
was Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain who died as recently as 1944 at
the age of 88.
The word or name "Snooker" was evidently a word used by army
officers who referred to First Year Officer Cadets at the Royal
Military Academy at Woolwich as being "Snookers". Understandably
this new game was spread by the army officers from India to England
when they returned home - this taking place during the 1880's, and
of course this new game was also taken from one officers mess to
another by Sir Neville Chamberlain and others whenever there were
posted, to a new station.
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