In December 1941 an incendiary device dropped by the Luftwaffe completely destroyed the factory and all the snooker tables at John Bennett’s & Co’s building, 120 Newington Causeway, London, SE1. All existing records of the company were lost until until an an extraordinary incident in 1963 brought to light some of the company’s early history.
In September 1963 a man walking down a street in Lambeth noticed an unopened envelope laying on the pavement. The letter bore the Victorian penny stamp postmarked London, W.C (west of the City) and dated October 1863. It was addressed to the North British & Mercantile Insurance Co. His curiosity aroused, the pedestrian opened the letter to find a hand written proposal, accompanied by a cheque from Coutts for a renewal of fire insurance from John Bennett & Co. of 35 Surrey Street, Strand, W.C.
The finder passed the letter onto the Evening News who took up the investigation. The insurance company could not help as their records did go back that far, however they had more luck with Coutts the bank who confirmed that their records showed that they did have a customer, John Gibson Bennett, who died in April 1899. In the archives of the London County Council show that 35 Surrey Street, Strand, London, W.C was destroyed by fire on 28th June 1898.
Mr J R Mitchell still has a copy of the above said letter and the heading shows that the snooker table company was founded in 1821. It carries the Royal Coat of Arms with the words “By Appointment to the Royal Family and War Office” and “table for India and thge Colonies not affected by climate.
The question has to be asked, who did the snooker table recovering out in India?
To be cont…..