How I Started




I first started collecting Billiards and Snooker memorabilia in 1986 as a result of the reprinting of a book that I had only previously been able to read if I borrowed it from the Public Library. This book was the paper-backed version of Spencer on Snooker. 

I bought the re-printed book and found that I referred to it frequently over the first few months that I owned it. Ironically, at the time I played very little Snooker but found that the information contained within the book was just as useful for a Pool player.

At about the same time I was experimenting with cues from my local sports shop and starting to find that most of them were not to my liking.

I read in Snooker Scene of a company that was only about 20 miles away from where I live that dealt in Antique Cues as well as making their own range of reasonably priced equipment.

I visited this workshop and showroom and selected two cues from their antique selection; my life would never be the same again.

Over the next few years I made many trips to Craftsman Cues in Kippax and became quite friendly with Dave Brown, who owns the establishment.

I managed to secure such legendary cues as, the Mannock Anti-grip cue designed by the famous coach, Jack Mannock, a Burwat Champion, the cue made famous by Alex Higgins and a Willie Smith Champion Cue made by the illustrious firm of Burroughes and Watts as used at the time at least by Tony Knowles.

At first I thought little of my chances of getting hold of cues commemorating such luminaries of the game as Waiter Lindrum or Tom Newman but over the intervening years I have managed to collect cues with name plates that record their great Billiard break making capabilities. 

I live in a Town called Huddersfield, which is a Town that made its name by producing high quality cloth in the last century and is nestled in the foothills of the Pennines. People in the Billiard world may know of the Town as it was the birth place of Charles Dawson a leading Billiard player from the last years of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth.

One of my most pleasing acquisitions was a Charles Dawson Champion Cue made again by the company Burroughes and Watts.

I was also lucky enough to swap a hand sliced cue for a set of Ivory Billiard Balls, which both look and sound quite different to modern balls when in play. I understand the gentleman who has the cue regularly knocks in forty breaks with it. A very happy swap for both parties it seems?

I have also unearthed such varied and interesting items as the basket that they used to keep the balls in in the twenties, to cigarette cards and a Billiard table Iron.

Droppping into second hand book shops and junk shops in the hope of finding something that I have not seen before has proved worthwhile, one one such occasion I managed to purchase an original nineteen seventies “Spencer on Snooker” hard back book for three pounds. 

I am attempting to get hold of the books written by the players that I have a cue which commemorates their career or a specific achievement, to allow me to display them as companion pieces.

The most significant one that currently eludes me is the book by Charles Dawson, perhaps like the day that saw me getting hold of the Charles Dawson cue; the book is just around the corner.

On the cue front one that I still seek is the Clark McConachie cue as used in competition in the twenties and thirties by the famous Lady player Thelma Carpenter. Maybe you know where there is one that needs a good home right now? 

I hope that in writing this piece, I have been able to show some of the more pleasing aspects of collecting Snooker and Billiards memorabilia? 

David Smith
A keen observer of Snooker and Pool and collector of Cues and Books