Norman Clare gathered together a wonderful
collection of Snooker and Billiards memorabilia that is kept at the Liverpool
offices of Thurston.
Amongst this collection is a group of cues that
span the later years of the 19th century and the first half of the
I visited the museum about two years ago with my
friend Andy Hunter; this trip was made on an appointment basis and lasted for
almost half a day. Sadly Norman Clare is no longer with us but Andy and I had
the pleasure of meeting his son, Peter Clare, Peter was a very polite,
courteous and friendly host.
After looking at the collection at
Thurstons I managed to get hold of Norman Clares book "Billiards
and Snooker Bygones" and some of his Cue World magazine articles from the early 1980s. The
articles and the book are tremendously well researched and quite an informative
read for anyone that is interested in the history of billiards and Snooker.
Norman probably considered that anything from
the 1920s onwards was too modern to be included in his writing, in any
detail, that is why I have felt the need to write in some detail about the cues
that I have owned and seen that continues right up to the 1950s. Not that
my writing should necessarily be compared to his.
Clive Evertons Books are equally well
written and researched but having more than one view of these now historical
figures is always welcome.
Norman Clare wrote in his book about the
equipment and innovations of the Billiards and Snooker industry, the collection
at Thurston also reflects his interest in the gimmicks of days gone by. There
are cues made of metal, odd shaped tables and balls made from various
If you are interested in the history of the
game, I would recommend a visit to Thurston as it is something of an all the
year round snooker and billiards heritage collection.
Another attraction that is well worth visiting
is Roger Lees Billiards and Snooker Heritage Room, this is set up each
year throughout the duration of the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible
Roger sells books and has a few old cues as
well. This celebratory display is particularly good for viewing old posters,
trophies and some antiquated equipment along with Roger himself of course.
Roger also sells a selection of videos that show
old film of the greatest billiards players of the 1920s and 1930s,
these videos are a must for anyone interested in Walter Lindrum, Joe Davis or
any of the other top players of their era.
Roger has also produced an album of historical
postcards that relate to Billiards and Snooker, which is reasonably priced and
quite an interesting read.