A Picture




Harry Young Boys Billiards Championship 1951
A Picture

I came across an old photograph recently which you may find interesting. It was taken during the Harry Young Boys Billiards championship of 1951 at Burroughes and Watts Hall at 19 Soho Square, London. Some of those boys will be recognized now 55 years later

The player on the shot is Rex Williams. He was not playing in the event as he was some two to three years over the 16 year age limit and if my memory serves me correctly had already turned professional and could well have been on site to use the practice table or even to do some private tuition, as did Sydney Lee who was a regular at Soho Square. Later Sydney was to referee those first Pot Black series with Ted Lowe in charge of the commentary.

On the left, hand on chin is myself and next to me Maurice Chapman who hailed from Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Maurice continued playing and was a very strong opponent, perhaps better at Snooker than Billiards.

Next to Rex is Eddie Sinclair who died only recently. Eddie spent 10 years or so on the professional circuit and certainly had his moments. He was a very attacking player and acquitted himself well even though he did not turn professional until well into his forties.

Towering over Eddie is Clive Everton, well known BBC commentator, acknowledged after a lifetime closely connected with both billiards and snooker as a leading authority. Clive was also a leading player at Billiards for many years particularly in the twenty years from 1956 onwards.

The last youngster I believe to be John Smallwood but there is no further information on him to hand.

In the background you can just see the double entrance doors of the main entrance. The match arena was accessed by a flight of stairs behind the wall on the other side of Rex.

Burroughes Hall and the offices closed in the mid 1960’s and the site was acquired by Terry Downes the former boxer. The new concept was to convert it into a casino. I must pop round there when next in town to find out what happened to the ghosts of Roberts, Peall and Dawson.

Mark Wildman