Items added/donated to the collection:-
February 2018 Items donated by H.F. Smith's son to the
Peter Ainsworth was able to provide the following information
H.F. Smith is probably the best amateur billiard player you
have never heard of. Being an amateur, I don't have much
information on him, but he crops up in my records from 1930 when he
first enters the English Amateur Billiards Championship, and he
continues as a regular competitor in this event until 1960. His
best results in the championship were to reach the semi-final on
two separate occasions, in 1932 and 1937. I have a note of him
playing exhibition matches with the likes of Claude Falkiner, and
Tom Newman, in the 1930s, and the best break that I can find
reported for him is 266.
The French magazine is interesting. This relates to an initiative
which as far as I can tell from reports appearing in England, was
set up in 1937 to include snooker and English billiards, and was
essentially the forerunner to the European Billiards and Snooker
Championships, having representatives selected by various National
Associations for competition in Beaulieu-sur-mer, France, between
10th-19th April of that year. Smith was nominated by the Billiards
Association and Control Council, along with Joe Thompson (English
Billiards Champion), to represent England in the inaugural event,
and although there was no official representative from England in
1938, when the competition was held in Marseilles, Smith again
appeared, presumably in a private capacity.
In 1939 he was again selected for this tournament by the BA&CC
along with the English Billiards Champion of that year, Tom Jones,
when the event was again held in Marseilles. The war put an end to
the development of this initiative, or it might otherwise have been
more closely associated with the current European championships.
The events weren't well covered by the press in this country and I
suspect it may have been a multi-cue sport event, including the
various Continental carom games.
My references to him stop in the early part of 1960. I might be
able to find out more with a bit of digging, but presumably his
relatives can fill in much of his background.
Acknowledgement - Peter Ainsworth for the information and picture
of Jean Albert, Tom Jones & H.F. Smith
Pocket net information
In November 2017 a call was received from
a Mr. Foster who had some information on a patent for Billiard
Pocket Nets that allowed a referee or player to remove the balls
from the net without having to put a hand into the net via the
slate pocket opening. (It turned out that it was not as the same
idea as the 'bottomless pockets' that were perhaps more commonly
In speaking to Mr. Foster the items were
from his wife's family and they were offered to the Heritage
Collection to enable this small historic patent be
The patent is number 12318 dated 1912,
which was finally accepted in February 1913. It was taken out by
the sisters Emily and Clara Ryland.. The patent front page and the
drawings of the way their pocket would be made are as shown
Two pictures were also provided one shows
the sisters mother Harriet making pocket nets the other is Emily,
one of the patentee's, also making nets. The tool they used has
also be added to the collection and can just be made out in the
Billiard Pocket Net Tool
So it would seem that the Ryland family
were quite involved in making billiard pocket nets.
Our thanks to Mrs Carole Foster , whose
great Aunts were Emily and Clara Ryland and great grand daughter of
Harriet Ryland, who kindly donated the items to the Snooker
Leicester Square Match Table
Square Match Room Table No 15036
In October 2017
Thurston received an email concerning a table manufactured by them
with a plate indicating that it had been installed in their famous
Leicester Square Match Room.
The owners wanted
the room it was installed in for other purposes and asked if the
Heritage Collection was interested to display it? After checking
some details to confirm that it was indeed a table that had been in
the Match Room a deal was done. This allowed the table to be
displayed in the Heritage Room whilst still being retained by the
that we have gathered is that the table number is 15036 and was
original made in 1916. As shown in the Foreman's note
In pencil on the right hand side can
be seenLei Sq
in the middle the Sales Order Number 42784 is
There is a ivory
plate on the end rail of the table refiring to the Triangular
Tournament between - M. Inman, H.W. Stevenson and T. Reece played
Decemebr 1917- January 1918 and February 1918.
In the old Thurston
Ledgers the Sales Order Number 42784 was found and the entries
there again confirm the table being in the Match Room at Leicester
Square and its use in the Triangular Tournament.
The Table is now on
display in the Heritage Collection. Anyone wish to see the
Collection please phone 0151 482 2700 to make an
information on the Triangular Tournament that the table was used
for is provided by Peter Ainsworth:-
Don't know how much
you know of the triangular tournament, but it was looked upon as a
very important event at the time. There had been no match for the
championship since before the start of the war when Inman had won
the title against Reece. There was keen rivalry between Inman and
Stevenson throughout the subsequent war years, the former insisting
on giving start to all comers, and Stevenson consistently refusing
to take it, but the Billiard Association would not sanction another
championship contest while the war was in progress. Consequently
this tournament was put together by private arrangement, which
involved the only three players not engaged in the war effort who
were likely to contest a championship. It was played not for prize
money and a title, but for a rather grand trophy donated by the
combined funds of Sir Guy Chetwynd, Sir Thomas Dewar, and H. H.
Lukens (otherwise known as "T. N. Palmer," of snooker fame). Inman
beat both of his opponents with some ease to take the trophy. It
was apparently a substantial 216 ounces (your John Roberts trophy
is about 90 ounces), and I have a note that it was still in Inman's
possession in 1926. Not sure where it ended up after
E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. ©2017 Peter
In April 2017 a letter written by Sidney Smith was kindly
donated to the Collection by Mr. M. Barnett. He is a volunteer in
the warehouse of a local charity which handles donations and the
letter fell out of a donated book. He thought it was of interest
and thought it should be preserved.
The picture below is a reduced version of the letter.
picture donated March 2017 by John Ingleby of a match between C.
Dawson & H.W. Stevenson.
The match took place at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester and
the picture with Stevenson at the table was probably taken on
31st March 1904. The marker (seen holding the rest) was
George Jackson a local billiard professional. All the information
about the picture was provided by Peter Ainsworth
July 2016 - picture of the 1951 Professional Snooker
Championships between Fred Davis and Walter Donaldson.
Fred Davis won 58 frames to 39 frames.
Picture kindly donated by Henry Smith
Keeping an interest in all things Thurston a marking board circa
1870's with the cartouche reading
The board was aquired in July 2016 and is now on display in the
At the end of June
2017 the Snooker Heritage Collection received a call from Peter
Smith to say that his family had a lot of Billiard and Snooker
memorabilia that they would like to donate to the Collection.
The items had been
collected by their Snooker 'mad' father David Smith who had sadly
passed away earlier that month. He was described by the family as
'a man of many talents, David was a retired police officer, driving
instructor, snooker player, coach, referee. Chairman and champion
as well as a genuine friend to many'.
Ray Reardon and
David Smith at the Eastbourne Police Club in 1988
David Smith being
presented with a medal for his Referring services by (whispering)
Peter Clare was
pleased to offer a home for all the items, which include numerous
books, coaching aids, snooker board games, match programmes, mugs,
videos, autographs, even small radio made to look like a billiard
table and a 'Timeframe' unit.
Shown here are a
couple of interesting items selected from the boxes of memorabilia
that was collected from Eastboune in July 2017.
The first item is a
bit of history as it records the first exhibition match played by
Ronnie O'Sullivan in January 1994 . The event was organised by
Another item records Wantey's association with Snooker - this
autographed programme is circa 1975 when Rex Williams and Fred
Davis along with Sydney Lee travelled round the country playing
matches at local clubs providing an evening of snooker matches and
The 'Timeframe' unit is quite large and heavy and it was Peter
Ainsworth who was able to provide some information on the
machine.These were just electronic snooker scoreboards which also
had a timer feature. They were introduced in 1992 for a variation
of the Pot Black TV series in which players (the top 16 pros) would
play at least one or two frames of snooker against the clock (each
show lasted at least 20 minutes), the final being longer. The
scoreboards were probably made available to the public from this
date, although I can't personally recall having seen any
advertised. The company producing them were based in Leamington Spa
and called "Timeframe Snooker". Not sure, yet, if it works but it
is intended to be set up in one of the display rooms.
The above is just a
small tribute to David Smith and his family and their help in
preserving more of the history of the great Cue Sports of Billiards
Acknowledgements - Peter Smith ; Peter Ainsworth
© E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.
2018. © Peter N. Clare 2018
Reproduction of this article allowed only with the permission from
E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.
To visit the Snooker heritage Collection please
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