A SHORT GUIDE
The Norman Clare Collection at Thurston (formerly E.A. Clare and
Son), St Anne Street, Liverpool, is probably the largest collection
of billiards and snooker memorabilia in the world. Only the
Heinrich Weingartner Museum in Vienna compares with it, and that is
devoted to carom billiards (the European / American version of the
game played on pocketless tables).
Anyone who visited the Snooker Heritage Room, which used to be
set up each year at Sheffield during the World Snooker
Championships, will have seen items from The Norman Clare
collection, as Thurston not only supplied many of the items on
display but also help set the room up each year.
Yet only the keenest collectors and snooker cognoscenti are aware
of it and of the vast range of fascinating and historical pieces to
be found there. It includes the weird and the wonderful - ancient
cue tips, a variety of tables, ivory and early composite balls,
Eralc chalk, maces and even pocket plates damaged during prison
riots! So for those of you previously unaware of this collection,
perhaps a little background information will be of interest.
The founder of the Billiard & Snooker Heritage Collection
Norman Clare, who died in 1990, was
Chairman of E.A. Clare & Son Ltd having followed his father
(Edward Arthur) into the business as a young school leaver in 1930.
The company [whose interest in the billiards and snooker industry
encompasses the historic Thurston name as well as those of Thos.
Padmore and Sons, Ashcrofts, Peradon, Weilding, and many others] is
the home of Norman's collection. His interest in setting up this
collection stemmed from when E.A.Clare & Son bought Thurston
& Co. and he found many interesting items at their old factory
site at Waterloo Works, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. For example, he
recognised this original and rare wooden billiard table bed which
was being used to board up a broken window at these premises and so
he rescued it!
Some additional pictures of the
collection of Billiard and Snooker memorabilia that Norman Clare
founded and has been maintained in his memory.
A view of the
Part of the cue
collection in the main room
Another view of
the main room
outside the main room
a view of
the second room with the MIP Table and in the back ground can be
seen the original Victorian Patent papers
a display in the
second room on the Harris cast iron table
Royal warrant granted in 1907
cheque signed by Charles Dickens dated 29th January
some of the
collection id displayed in Thurston main showroom in Liverpool
showroom, part of the Joe Davis display
showroom, another view of the Joe Davis display. His cue and
snooker ball case can be seen above his portrait
© Norman Clare 1990; ©E.A. Clare & Son
Ltd. 2015; ©Peter N. Clare
©Reproduction of this article allowed only with the permission
from E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.