Joseph John Newman's Cue

Information on a 19th Century two piece cue in the Heritage Collection. The cue is unusual as it is a two piece cue and has two shafts, one being ash the other pear wood. The cue and shafts are housed in a two piece leather cue case complete with an old box of tips.

Cue And Case

Box Of Tips
The box of tips

Cue With Covers
In the case the cue and shafts have cloth covers

Breaks 1893

Oct 1893

Peter Ainsworth was able to research and provide the following information from the plates set into the butt of the cue :-                           
It's not often you get a full match report inscribed on a cue, but here we have details of two such matches! As they both involve J. J. Newman, it is assumed that this was once owned by him. Joseph John Newman (no relation to the more famous Tom Newman) was the proprietor of a billiard room at the Black Swan, Guildhall Street, Cambridge, and as the owner of that establishment, rather than being the Manager, or Marker, he was regarded as an "amateur" rather than a professional-a distinction without a difference-which demonstrates the ambiguity between the classification of players at this time.

The earliest inscription involves "J. J. Newman" and "Thurston" in a match of 12,000 up which took place over week commencing Monday 27th March 1893 at Newman's rooms in Cambridge. Newman's opponent was actually W. Thurston, who was regarded as the best player in Cambridge at the time, and he conceded Newman a generous start of 2,000 points. Not connected with the famous billiard table manufacturer in London, W. Thurston, was also a Cambridge billiard room proprietor having premises in Market Passage and Bridge Street at this time. The game and breaks are mainly chronicled on the cue, other than the information that it was played under "all-in" rules, with the spot stroke allowed, and ended in a draw on Saturday night, when Newman was still 205 points short of his 12,000 target. They played for a trophy valued at £25 and I'm not sure what happened to this, although as Thurston was still over a thousand points behind his opponent when the game finished, he may have conceded the victory. In any case, there is no record of a rematch taking place.

The second match relates to one involving Newman and the famous W. J. Peall, who he played two games (afternoon and evening) at the Grand Hotel, Northampton, on Wednesday 18th October 1893. The details are all carefully inscribed on the plate, Newman, who received a substantial start, winning on both occasions. He also won a 'best of five' match a pyramids in the afternoon, so giving him a clean sweep against the second-best professional in England. An achievement well worth commemorating. Newman had a break of 154 in the spot-barred game, which was pretty good for an "amateur" in a public match.

Part 1 Band  Part 2 Band

Parts of the band round the cue

I've done a partial composite of the photos of the band and posted it in the Vintage billiards forum with additional information.

 Regarding the inscription "282 Highest Breaks made by J. J. N. since Jan'y 1889. 302" I don't know what the 282 and 302 at either end on the inscription are referencing. They are possibly breaks, but I'm not sure. They would be very big breaks for an amateur. However, I can identify the first two breaks on the list below the inscription. The "202 unfinished, Jan 29th 1889" was made at Newman's own rooms on this date in a 200 up game against a University student. The next break of "101 at Stamford" was made at the Stamford Hotel, Stamford, where he played a Mr. G. Clark, another amateur, in a game of 1,000 up. I have no record of the third one at Grantham, and I assume that the remainder of the breaks, without a date or location, are listed in chronological order, and were compiled some time before the match with Thurston in March 1893. This is deduced as Newman made a break of 112 in that match, and the list on the band doesn't include one of that number. All of these breaks would have been made under "all-in" rules, using the spot stroke.
Acknowledgements :- Peter Ainsworth for the information on J.J. Newman's cue
                                Peter Clare for the pictures

© 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.

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