Billiards and snooker table manufacturing is an old craft established for over 180 years, and there are still firms in the trade who have been in buisness for over a 150 years. Many started from small beginnings, usually when a craft tradesman decided to break away from his employer to renovate billiard tables on his own account in the neighborhood of his home.
It must be remembered in those early days that public transport was practically non existent, except for railways, thus; a skilled fitter starting business had some advantages, enabling him to give a good service in the area of his home.
As mentioned before Queen Victoria made the game respectable and the more prosperous member of society, with large houses, purchase Billiard tables to entertain their guests.
Nearly every hotel and licence house of any size had a snooker table and as licencing hours in those days were very relaxed the Billiards room could be open all day and late into the night and a game of Billiards, therefore, was always possible. It was with the opening in cinemas in every town, in the years before 1914, coupled with the strict licencing laws introduced during and after the First World War, the growth of super cinemas, even in dog race tracks and radio, that the game lost some of it’s popularity.
Snooker table recovering and pool table recovering was a highly skilled trade and fitters started at the early age of 14, being assigned to an experienced craftsman to learn the trade. These apprentices usually started by cleaning out glue pots, sweeping the floors, and generally being a dogs body. One of the jobs would have been to go to the local public house with a long pole with notches cut into it to fetch the cans of beer for the men working at the bench.