It was whilst playing black pool at the officers mess in Jubbulpore one wet afternoon in 1875 that the game of snooker was born. Officers of the Devonshire Regiment stationed for long periods in Southern India used to while away their spare time during the rainy season playing hours of black pool and life pool on the mess billiard table, but where growing tired of these games when a young subaltern, later to become Field Marshall Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain suggested adding some coloured balls which were used to play life pool. First the pink was used and gradually the blue, brown, green and yellow balls were added, each being assigned a different value.
The word snooker was given to first year army cadets at the Royal Military Academy,Woolwich and was Army slang for the lowest of the low. It reportedly made its way into the game when the word was mentioned to Chamberlain by a subaltern of the field battery at Jubbulpore who was being entertained by the Devon’s. Chamberlain was reported to have said “the term was a new one to me, but I soon had an opportunity of exploiting it when one of our party failed to pot a coloured ball which was close to a corner pocket. I called out to him: why you are a regular snooker”.
He later went on to say, “I had to explain to the company the definition of the word, and, to soothe the feelings of the culprit, I added that we were all, so to speak, snookers at the game, so it would be appropriate to call the game snooker”.
A fine example of snooker tables from this period would be a Burroughs and Watts that we recently did a snooker table removal and snooker table recovering service.