Joseph John Newman's Cue
Information on a 19th Century two piece cue in the Heritage
Collection. The cue is unusual as it is a two piece cue and has two
shafts, one being ash the other pear wood. The cue and shafts are
housed in a two piece leather cue case complete with an old box of
The box of tips
In the case the cue and shafts have cloth covers
Peter Ainsworth was able to research and provide the following
information from the plates set into the butt of the cue
It's not often you get a full match report inscribed on a cue, but
here we have details of two such matches! As they both involve J.
J. Newman, it is assumed that this was once owned by him. Joseph
John Newman (no relation to the more famous Tom Newman) was the
proprietor of a billiard room at the Black Swan, Guildhall Street,
Cambridge, and as the owner of that establishment, rather than
being the Manager, or Marker, he was regarded as an "amateur"
rather than a professional-a distinction without a difference-which
demonstrates the ambiguity between the classification of players at
The earliest inscription involves "J. J. Newman" and "Thurston" in
a match of 12,000 up which took place over week commencing Monday
27th March 1893 at Newman's rooms in Cambridge. Newman's opponent
was actually W. Thurston, who was regarded as the best player in
Cambridge at the time, and he conceded Newman a generous start of
2,000 points. Not connected with the famous billiard table
manufacturer in London, W. Thurston, was also a Cambridge billiard
room proprietor having premises in Market Passage and Bridge Street
at this time. The game and breaks are mainly chronicled on the cue,
other than the information that it was played under "all-in" rules,
with the spot stroke allowed, and ended in a draw on Saturday
night, when Newman was still 205 points short of his 12,000 target.
They played for a trophy valued at £25 and I'm not sure what
happened to this, although as Thurston was still over a thousand
points behind his opponent when the game finished, he may have
conceded the victory. In any case, there is no record of a rematch
The second match relates to one involving Newman and the famous W.
J. Peall, who he played two games (afternoon and evening) at the
Grand Hotel, Northampton, on Wednesday 18th October 1893. The
details are all carefully inscribed on the plate, Newman, who
received a substantial start, winning on both occasions. He also
won a 'best of five' match a pyramids in the afternoon, so giving
him a clean sweep against the second-best professional in England.
An achievement well worth commemorating. Newman had a break of 154
in the spot-barred game, which was pretty good for an "amateur" in
a public match.
Parts of the band round the cue
I've done a partial composite of the photos of the band and posted
it in the Vintage billiards forum with additional
Regarding the inscription "282 Highest Breaks made by J. J.
N. since Jan'y 1889. 302" I don't know what the 282 and 302 at
either end on the inscription are referencing. They are possibly
breaks, but I'm not sure. They would be very big breaks for an
amateur. However, I can identify the first two breaks on the list
below the inscription. The "202 unfinished, Jan 29th 1889" was made
at Newman's own rooms on this date in a 200 up game against a
University student. The next break of "101 at Stamford" was made at
the Stamford Hotel, Stamford, where he played a Mr. G. Clark,
another amateur, in a game of 1,000 up. I have no record of the
third one at Grantham, and I assume that the remainder of the
breaks, without a date or location, are listed in chronological
order, and were compiled some time before the match with Thurston
in March 1893. This is deduced as Newman made a break of 112 in
that match, and the list on the band doesn't include one of that
number. All of these breaks would have been made under "all-in"
rules, using the spot stroke.
Acknowledgements :- Peter Ainsworth for the information on J.J.
Peter Clare for the pictures
© Peter N. Clare 2018; © E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.
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