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The Chronological History of Burroughes & Watts®


Founded in 1836 by William Burroughes [and F. Watts : BM0714 p.11] who had previously been with Thurston's [BP1135 p.26] operating from 19 Soho Square, London (Offices and showroom) with a steam works in Great Peter Street, Westminster SW London. [photo BBV0930 p.4]


Burroughes & Watts were also producing tables with slate beds and rubber cushions [Copy Advert¾BM0714 p.11]

The Morning Chronicle, May 16, 1837: BILLIARDS.—Superior Slate-top and other BILLIARD TABLES, at BURROUGHES and WATTS Manufactory, No. 19, Soho-square, sole inventors of a long-sought-for plan to secure the joints of slate beds, by which means the tops are rendered equally perfect as if in one piece. A choice stock of cues on hand, from well seasoned woods; India rubber cushions, of superior elasticity, on an improved principle.—W. B. and F. W. flatter themselves, from their long experience in the above line, to be enabled to supply the public with tables of first-rate quality, and at reduced prices. -Second-hand tables taken in exchange. Foreign orders executed. [BM0714 p.11]


[print of Burroughes Hall in 1841 : BM0314 front]


Winners of prize medals at the great exhibition of 1851 and 1862.

The Burroughes family, in those days, [1851] resided at 19 Soho Square, above the works, and lived there for many years thereafter. The dining room was at the rear of the front shop, the family living on the back first floor. Other tenants lived on the second and third floors. Mr. Watts also worked at the bench and attended to the correspondence, using the old sand castor instead of blotting paper, not then in use, to dry his letters. He also filled up some of his leisure time by practising photography. At this date, Mr. Burroughes—the grandfather of the present chairman—worked in the factory, "trying" frames and occasionally went out of doors to attend to work at clubs and at noblemen's and other mansions. [BP0728 p.2]


James S. Burroughes joined the firm. [BBV0930 p.4]


[between 1854-86] Burroughes & Watts tables dispatched to Russia to soldiers fighting in the Crimean War which used Colza oil for lighting, and had cushion warmers which were then used for reviving such cushions as were made of rubber. [BP0728 p.2]

Burroughes & Watts - Catalogues from 1855, 1859, 1949, and 1952


Click on the catalogue cover to download (PDF)


Burroughes & Watts were manufacturing about 150 tables a year [13a p.68]


Manufacturing gas fittings, lamps, seats and "every description of billiard room furniture". Factories at Dean Street and Hollen Street, Soho.[13 adv.] Burroughes & Watts were now manufacturing "over 300" tables a year. Slates were obtained from Bangor or Aberdovy in Wales, varied between 1" and 1½" in thickness, and could be either four or five in number "according to the fancy of the purchaser". [13a p.68]

References in 1869 and 1881 to factories in Dean Street & Hollen Street, Soho. Burroughes & Watts were producing approx. 150 tables a year in 1860, and 300 a year in 1868 [13 p.141]


Supplying "Vulcanised India-rubber Cushions" [13a p.370]

Mr. J. S. Burroughes at this date began to display his keenness and foresight, and was always experimenting with something new. He installed his own electric lighting plant, and stored the acid in a shop above the stables at Richmond Buildings, Soho. In this connexion, Mr. Thompson used to tell an anecdote about the acid leaking through from the shop into the stable and burning the horses' backs. [BP0728 p.2]


The Burroughes & Watts "Low Cushion" was introduced as part of the design for the "Championship Table" first used in the match between J. Roberts Sen and Wm. Cook. [04 back supplement]

"The late Mr. Buttery became in the seventies a partner of the firm and took entire charge of the offices and showroom." [BP0728 p.2]

Mr. W. Thompson was sent to Ireland in the early seventies to open up the business there. He was recalled later to take charge of the showroom, previously to Mr. Buttery's appointment, and was, in 1878, sent back to Ireland, where he stayed until 1913. In those days most of the tables in Ireland were made of iron, until Burroughes and Watts opened up their connexion in Dublin and Belfast. The Irish trade was conducted from Mr. Thompson's own house at first, but ultimately a branch was opened at Nassau Place, Dublin, by Mr. J. R. Abbott, late managing director, and later, also by him, at Belfast. [BP0728 p.2]

Iron framed tables were still commonly found in Northern Ireland c.1905. They would make a metallic "twang" when a ball was played hard against a cushion. [Riso Levi : Billiards in a Lighter Vein p.171] NOTE: Iron framed tables were known in USA in 1837 i.e. this eBay item: "THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 10, 1837. A 1" column adv. on page 3 headed BILLIARDS IMPROVED. Gentlemen who wish to play at Billiards or purchase Tables are invited to call at the Southern Coffee House, 92 Broadway, etc., where six American eagle iron tables are fitted up in a very superior style, and at 218 Broadway, etc., where Seven very superior Tables, with slate stone composition and wood beds, with Iron and Wood frames are kept in excellent order. Call on Abm. Bassford, etc."

Burroughes & Watts - Magazine Archive

(WARNING: Very Large Files Approx 250MB in Size)


Click on the magazine cover to download (PDF)


"Sole contractors for billiard tables to her majesty's war department and admiralty". Tables fitted with "recently introduced Improved Cushions". Also supplying the "India Table" specially constructed to resist the effects of a hot climate. Factories still at Dean Street and Hollen Street, Soho. [Bennett 1873; adverts]


Mr. James S. Burroughes was elected on the School Board of London for the Strand Division along with the Right Hon. W. H. Smith, M.P., about 1875.

The table supplied by Burroughes & Watts for Cook's American Handicap was made from "Hungarian ash and English pollard oak". [T.03/02/1875 p.10]

Advertising as: "under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, the King of the Belgians, H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, the King of Greece, and Sole Contractors for Billiard Tables to Her Majesty's War Department and Admiralty." [BN.01/05/1875 p.7]

Show rooms and offices also at 87 Market St., Manchester. Steam Works at Hollen Street, Dean Street, and Richmond Buildings, Soho, London. [BN.06/1875 p.7] Other references to Manchester office [Referee 09/02/79][Sporting Times 10/01/80]


Introduced the "Cottage Billiard and Dining Table" in 6ft, 7ft and 8ft lengths, also a version 6ft long "for the practice of the Spot Stroke, with set full-sized balls, cues, &c. [03 p.7/22]


Advertising the "Prize Medal" billiard table and "new" Prize Medal billiard cushions. Also the patent "Cottage" billiard/dining table. Factories still at Dean Street & Hollen Street.[06 adv.]


Under the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen. H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. The King of the Belgians. H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh. The King of Greece. And Contractors for Billiard Tables to H. M. War Department and Admiralty.[03 catalogue]

Advertising "The Electric Light for Billiards" "primary battery complete with sixteen lamps". Also Paraffin Lamps "lighted, refilled and trimmed without removing the chimney", and "Vapour-Tight Duplex Lamps – Cheaper than gas" [03 catalogue] [no reference to the Eureka or any other special type of cushion in this catalogue]

Advertising "Representatives in Darlington and Manchester". [03 p.21]

W. Buttery registered a patent for a two-piece cue on 22nd July 1885 [Reg. No.8849][CW1284 p.39]


"Steel Block" cushion patented by W. Buttery and marketed by Burroughes & Watts as the "Eureka Steel Block Cushion" in 1889.[38 p.50]

Burroughes & Watts - Memorabilia (Ball Boxes, Cue Cases, Maces, etc)

Click on image to view


Introduced "Invisible Pocket Plates".[12a p.291][04 catalogue][94 adv.]. Burroughes & Watts using a registered process for producing ivory balls called "etiolated and annealed" [04 catalogue][94 adv.]. This was still being described as "new" in December 1889. [Advert London Illustrated News – eBay]. Offices now at 7 Little George Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia; and Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand [04 catalogue]


In 1889 they introduced the Steel Block "Eureka Extra Low" Cushion [38 p.51][BBV07 p.85][or 1888; 04 catalogue (Roberts letter)]

"One must readily appreciate the great advantage which came in the period 1889-1900 when the Patent "EUREKA" STEEL BLOCK cushion was introduced. The specially-tempered steel backing, upon which the blocks and rubbers were fixed, the removal of the cloth groove from all contact with the lines of force; the shortening of the fixing bolts to the bed, all gave the minimum of leverage and freedom from vibratory influences. This state was further improved by the fact that the woodwork and pocket plates were now separate. So there was permitted the use of large washers at the bolt head, giving additional strengthening of the rigidity and increase in resiliency—valuable feature not possessed by other methods on construction." [BBV0431 p.45][94 adv.]

Advertising the "Portable Billiard Cue" which was two-piece and included a replacement screw tip. [illus CW1284 p.39][ref also 1885]

Advertising the "new indoor game of Switchback Skittles, polished mahogany with brass fittings. Complete 5 guineas." [94 adv.]


Wm. T. Rainbow joined Burroughes & Watts at Newcastle, under his father. [BBV1030 p.4] This coincided with the opening of the Newcastle branch c.April 1890. [BBV0731 p.85]


Supplying "The Portable Billiard Cue" (two-piece) in plain Ash .. 12/- Ebony butted .. 18/- Champion Pattern .. 21/-. Also address at 8 Bond Street, Sydney, NSW, Australia. [Advert in Wm Cook "Billiards" 1891 ed.]


L. H. J. Burroughes joined the firm. [BBV0930 p.4]


October: Burroughes & Watts opened their first Billiard hall in Dean Street, Soho.[19 p.172] [BR1895-96 p.41]

Introduced the "Patent Steel Vacuum Cushion".[BBV0731 p.85] Table plate inscribed "Burroughes & Watts Ltd. Patent Eureka Grooved Cushion, Soho Square, London" and bearing the Royal coat of arms with the words "By Royal Letters, Patent" and the Prince of Wales Crest with the words "By Special Appointment". [eBay table with 2.5 inch slate! No date but probably the earliest name for the Vacuum cushion, so c.1895] **or possibly** [NOTE: a plate with an apparently identical layout (text illegible) appears on an illustration for a "Dawson" table in BM0711 front]

"It was not to be expected that the Pneumatic Cushion would be long in existence before other cushions on air principles would be in the market. Of course, any air-cushion has to steer clear of the essential features of the Pneumatic Patent, and thus it is that most of the newly-invented air-cushions have an air chamber in what is practically a solid rubber cushion. Now one of the greatest advantages claimed for the Patent Pneumatic Cushion is that, owing to the very small quantity of rubber used in its manufacture, it is practically unaffected by temperature. It is obvious that this advantage is not shared by any cushion which, although having an air chamber, is mainly composed of solid rubber, and intending purchasers would do well to bear this fact in mind—J. Roberts." [BR0996 p.524]

Burroughes & Watts began presenting trophies for (Amateur?) competitions. [BBV0731 p.90]


The London factory was moved to larger premises in Furze Street, Bow [c.1898].  The Furze Street works employed over 150 people and numerous craftsmen were engaged in all aspects of table manufacture, cue-making, ball turning, French polishing, brass finishing, etc.  Notice the line of horses and carts ready to make the day’s deliveries. 


F. L. Billington Greig joined Burroughes & Watts in 1899 at Glasgow and was the company's Scottish Manager for nearly 20 years. [photo: BBV1030 p.4] Glasgow operations were at 304 Sauchiehall Street. [Billhead–eBay]

Burroughes & Watts - Heritage Images

Click on the image to view


Advertising the "Patent Eureka Steel Block Vacuum Cushion".[58 adv.][63 adv.]

Burroughes & Watts were producing a range of billiard/dining tables at this time.[WB 30/10/01 p.540] Small billiard tables (6ft to 10ft) were advertised as a "New Departure" [1902 advert]

From some time around 1901 Burroughes & Watts were sole British agents for Spinks chalk (patented 9th March 1897) and manufactured by Wm. A. Spinks & Co. Chicago, USA [BM0711 p.13][78 p.73][59a front adverts] Spinks Advert: "There was a time when the colour of the chalk told the story. We were the first manufacturers of billiard chalk to use green pigment for colour. It prevented that nasty yellowish green colour, which was the usual colour of the billiard cloth after white chalk had been used a few weeks. Some players think that Spinks' Billiard Chalk is just common chalk, coloured. Spinks' chalk is not chalk at all, contains not a particle of chalk, but is a scientific compound invented by a chemist of international reputation and has a 'clinging grip to ball and tip' which it is not possible to secure with common chalk. We have been asked to make Spinks' chalk blue in colour, but our reasons for making it green are founded on facts, obtained by close observation of which  colour is least harmful to billiard cloth." [BM0411 back]


Burroughes & Watts (South Africa) Ltd were "Agents" operating from Main Street, Port Elizabeth [1902 advert] Also [around this time] had "business interests" at Commissioner Street, Johannesburg. [BBV0632 p.75] J. H. Ellis moved from London to take charge of the South African operations. [BI.30/03/1910 p.154]

Operating showrooms in Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow. Miniature tables 2ft 6in to 6 ft advertised under the "MI" [M1?] range. [1902 advert] also Southampton, Cardiff and Montreal  [Billhead–eBay]

Patent No.2,378.—J. S. Burroughes, of Westminster, London, for " Billiards." Relates to adjusting feet for miniature billiard boards. In order to render the feet firmer, they are constructed with the boss bored out to receive the plain part of the screw, and the internal thread is extended through the dowel to give a longer bearing. [WB.25/06/1902 p.310]

Patent No.2,751.—J. S. Burroughes, of Westminster, for "Billiard tables." Relates to miniature tables, etc. The block for the back of the cushion and the frame are made in a single piece. An arrangement is employed for holding the cloth, the groove for the wedge being formed directly above the inner vertical edge of the frame. [WB.25/06/1902 p.310]

Patent No.2,898.—J. S. Burroughes, of Westminster, for "Billiard, &c, tables." Relates to beds for miniature and other tables, the object of the invention being to reduce their weight. A layer of compressible material is interposed between the wooden under-frame and the top of the table. The top may be made of thin slate, vulcanite, aluminium, etc., and is covered with the usual cloth. The compressible material used is India rubber, gutta-percha, India rubber cloth, cork, linoleum or the like. In the case of small tables, the bed is made in one continuous length; but in large tables it is made in sections. The parts of the built-up bed are bolted or clamped together. In some cases the compressible layer is divided into sections, which are separated by strips of metal or other strengthening material, preferably arranged transversely to the table. [WB.25/06/1902 p.310]

Patent No.2,660.—J. S. Burroughes, of Westminster, for " Billiard Tables." Relates to convertible billiard tables of the form described in Specification No. 4,255, A.D. 1880. In the raised position, blocks forced outwards by springs are interposed between the table rails and the top. To convert the table, a rod is drawn outwards so as to compress a spring in a barrel fixed to the top; the movement of the rod causes a cross-bar to enter a slot in a plate fixed to the block, and a partial turn of the rod engages the cross-bar behind the plate. The spring is sufficiently powerful to draw back the block against the springs, so that the top can be lowered on to the rail. The other end of the table is covered by a wooden top. The legs are recessed to receive the blocks in their lowered position.[WB.27/08/1902 p.342]


Sole Makers and Patentees of the World-Renowned Gold Medal Vacuum "Eureka" Steel Block Cushions. Already fitted to over 4,000 tables. [illus. WB.21/01/1903 p.49]

Patents Sealed. No.2,497. J. S. Burroughes, of Westminster, for billiard tables. Relates to the construction of the cushion frames, and is particularly applicable to the constructions described in Specifications Nos. 4,167, a.d. 1889, 17,003, a.d. 1895, and 8,856, a.d. 1896. To prevent creaking during play, a layer of canvas, cloth, leather, indiarubber, or other soft material is inserted between the cushion block and the frame to which this is secured. In the above constructions the material is placed between the metal angle-bar to which the rubber cushion is secured and a steel block. The wooden block is formed with a horizontal groove, in which the canvas is held by a fillet of wood. The canvas is carried upwards and is secured in the groove of the steel block by a strip. Screws pass through the steel block into the wooden block. When the block is not used, the material is placed between the strip and the table frame, etc. [WB.24/06/1903 p.348]


Still operating Great Peter Street offices in 1904 [56 adv.] The "Eureka" Steel Block cushion had been fitted to "over 5,000" tables by 1904 [59a front adverts]


Notice of modification to the patent for steel block cushions: Patents, Designs & Trade Marks Acts, 1883 to 1888. Notice is hereby given, that BURROUGHES & WATTS, LIMITED, of 19, Soho Square, London, W., seek leave to amend the Specification of Letters Patent No. 8,856 of 1896, granted to Walter Buttery for "Improvements in the construction of cushions for billiard tables and the like." Particulars of the proposed Amendment were set forth in the Illustrated Official Journal (Patents) issued on the 5th July, 1905. Any person or persons may give Notice of Opposition to the Amendment (on Form G) at the Patent Office, 25, Southampton Buildings, London, W.C., within one calendar month from the date of the said Journal. C. N. DALTON, Comptroller-General. Gedge & Feeny, Chartered Patent Agents, 60 Queen Victoria Street, London. [WB.26/07/1905 p.313]

John R. Abbott, son-in-law of James Burroughes, was at this time a Director of the firm. [WB.15/03/1905 p.161]

Patent Application 11,509. Burroughes and Watts, Ltd., and James Samuel Burroughes, of London, for "An improved holder for billiard chalk, cigars and the like, for attachment to billiard and similar tables." [WB.28/06/1905 p.299]

Patent Application 13,786. Burroughes and Watts, Ltd., and James Samuel Burroughes, of Queen Victoria Street, London, for " Improvements in cottage or convertible billiard tables and the like." [WB.26/07/1905 p.306]

Patent Application 7,401. J. S. Burroughes, of Westminster, for " A detail improvement in a cushion frame for billiard and like tables," described in Specification No. 2,497, a.d. 1902, consists in bevelling the surface of the steel plate, to which a wooden block is secured. The block may thus be set back towards the edge of the slate bed. Between the wooden block and the steel plate a steel band or strip and a layer of felt, rubber, or the like are inserted. [WB.30/08/1905 p.327]


Operating showrooms in Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast.[61 adv.]

Advertising the Acme Marking Board (patented by W. H. Lawrence) providing scoring up to 20,000 points with removable slides. [illus WM1206 p.540] Patent No.25,785 [WB0407 p.262]

Producing the "Soho" table from at least 1906 [eBay table, with purchase date authenticated by owner]


16th August 1907 : Burroughes & Watts produced a proto-type table with pockets set into the top cushion, rather than the corners, in an attempt to make the cradle cannon impossible. [illus WB0907 p.331]. Called the "No-Bar" billiard table, it was deemed a failure when Reece set the balls and demonstrated that he could still make a run of Cradle cannons on it.

Burroughes & Watts - Heritage Images


Click on the image to view


Producing a "Revolving Billiard Table" "There is no room too small, Every stroke possible without a short cue." [NWB.15/04/1908 back]


Introduced the "Inflexible" cue. "For a distance of about 14" from its tip end a hole of about a quarter of an inch in diameter is bored. Into the whole length of this hole is fitted a cross section of flat steel, the interstices of which are filled in with split bamboo. The whole of this steel and bamboo is fixed securely together, and fitted firmly into the hole in the cue by means of a specially prepared solution which neither shrinks nor allows the steel section to become loose. The advantages gained by this ingenious device are three-fold. The cue is rendered mathematically straight and cannot possibly warp; it is made perfectly rigid; and the invention furthermore exactly provides that small extra weight at the thin end which is so extremely necessary to secure a proper balance." [78 p.71]


By this time Burroughes & Watts also had showrooms in Dublin and Southampton.[1 p.46]

Fifty off the red in three minutes; the "Burwat" Pocket-finder and Angle-sighter is demonstrated daily by appointment by the inventor.-Address: N. Owner, 14, Cross Street, Finsbury, EC. [BI.26/01/1910 p.9]


Burroughes & Watts took over Cox & Yeman and the Brompton Road factory was closed [BM0911 p.4] [BM0112 p.8]

Producing "The Adam" table [illus. BM0512 front] "The Albermarle" table [illus. BM0312 front] "The Belgrave" table [illus. BM1111 front] "The Celtic" table [illus. BM0112 front] "The Club" table [illus. BM0611 p.1] "The Corinthian" table [illus. BM0412 front] "The County" table [illus. BM0311 p.1] "The Dawson" [illus. BM0711 front] "The Harverson" table [illus. BM0411 front] "The Inman" table [illus. BM0811 front] "The Peterborough" table [illus. BM0111 front]. "The Reece" table [illus. BM0511 front] "The Robsteve" table [illus. BM1011 front] which was a facsimile of the table used by Roberts and Stevenson in their match at the Caxton Hall in 1905. "The Soho" table [illus. BM1110 front] "The Sheridan" [illus. BM0212 front] "The Stevenson" table [illus. BM0911 front] The "Wilton" table [illus. BM0612 front] "The York" table [illus. BM0211 front]

Undersize tables :- "The Acton" table [illus. BM1112 front] "The Billiardiner" table [illus. BM0712 back] "The Clifton" table [illus. BM1012 front] "The Letchworth" table [illus. BM0712 front] "The Maisonette" table [illus. BM0113 front] "The Semi-Billiard Table" [BM1212 front]

Also the "Patent Pocket Finder" a ball suspended on a string, which could be positioned to practice in-off's [illus. BM1110 p.7] First reference to "Snooker Combined Cabinet & Triangle" [illus. BM0211 p.11] and "The Patent Automatic Marker & Break Recorder" (100 up) [illus. BM0311 p.13]

Now producing the "Burwat Steel Vacuum Cushion" These cushions contained an air space and could be fitted as replacements to the "Burwat Eureka" cushions so were obviously newly introduced and different to the Eureka. [Diagram BM1210 front]

Burroughes & Watts introduced the game of "Cork Billiards" [BM1111 p.4]


"It is with sincere regret that we have to record the death, on Monday last, [29th January 1912] at his residence, The Homestead, Seaford, Sussex, of Mr James Samuel Burroughes, chairman of directors of Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, Ltd., billiard table manufacturers, 19, Soho Square, W. Mr. Burroughes, who had reached the age of seventy-one years, had been in indifferent health for some time past. The business was established by his father about seventy five years ago. He entered it upon leaving school, and it had been largely under his direction until comparatively recent years. The present directors are Mr. L. H. J Burroughes (son of the late Mr. J. S. Burroughes), chairman; Mr. J. R. Abbott, and Mr. C P. Lidbetter. He was a moving spirit in the first billiard championships that were arranged, and was thus associated with Roberts, Cook, and other professional players He was a generous supporter of billiards and of movements connected with the game and introduced the first American tournament in  London. The relationship existing between the late Mr. Burroughes and his many workpeople was one of attention on his part to their interests and of respect and affection towards himself on theirs. The news of his death was received throughout the works with genuine sorrow and regret. Mr. Burroughes (who was born at 19, Soho Square, where the head office of the business still is) was, apart from his business life, a member for six years of the first School Board of London, and was at one time a prospective candidate for the parliamentary representation of South St. Pancras. He was a Fellow both of the Royal Geographical and of the Zoological Society, and had travelled three times round the world. Furthermore, he was a member of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons and a keen sportsman and motorist." [BM0212 p.10] Mr. James Samuel Burroughes, who died in January last, aged 71, left estate of the gross value of £90,050, with net personality £65,725.[BM0812 p.2]

Supplying The "Master" chalk holder [illus. BM0412 p.13] The "Quintet" cue cutter [illus. BM0412 p.13] The "Mechanical Potter" [BM0412 p.13]

Supplying the "Burwat Steel Vacuum" patent cushion as an alternative to the "Burwat Eureka" and apparently had been doing so for some years (ref to Edward VII in ad.) [BM0612 back]

"THE PATENT BURWAT STEEL VACUUM CUSHION As supplied to His Late Majesty King Edward VII., [he died 6th May 1910] and the Principal Clubs throughout the World. We are able now to place before our customers the most perfect Cushion of the day—viz., the " Burwat Steel Vacuum," recognised by every great player in England as the only one upon which it is possible to be absolutely certain of one's stroke. It combines all the great qualities of our famous Steel Block with the additional ones of greater durability and absolute truth. We have now supplied the " Burwat Steel Vacuum" Cushion to the majority of the leading Clubs throughout the world. The ball rebounds with a speed as yet unequalled ; vibration and noise are reduced to a minimum; elasticity is unrivalled, and is continual even in the warmest and coldest climates. No inflation is needed; they are therefore not pneumatic. These are all essential points in a successful Cushion. The Tables which, when purchased new, are fitted with our "Burwat Eureka" type of Cushion, can at the purchaser's option be fitted, at an extra cost, with the " Burwat Steel Vacuum Patent." Our Cushions can be applied without difficulty to Tables manufactured by other firms either at home or abroad." [BM0612 front]

Operating from 31 Church Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [Catalogue on eBay]


[illustration of various accessories : BM0213 front]

Producing "Patent Outside Returner". There are two types of billiard ball returner. In the one case the ball is returned to the baulk end from any pocket by an invisible arrangement beneath the bed of the table, and the other was this one [illus. BM0413 front]

Supplying the "Cylindrical Cue" (parallel shaft) [illus. BM0413 p.7]

The stock usually in hand in the workshops and showrooms includes:— 100 full-size Billiard Tables, ready for immediate despatch. Timber for 10,000 Billiard Tables. 20,000 Ivory Balls, roughly turned, being seasoned. 50,000 Bonzoline Balls. 15,000 Cues of all descriptions. 500 Slate Slabs. [BM0513 front]

Supplying the "Illuminated Billiard Marker" where "the light was reflected through the figure apertures" [BM1013 p.13]

[September] 1913 : The saloon in Soho Square became known as "The Burroughes Hall" [BM0913 p.9]

Producing the "Facile Cross Rest" "fitted with continuous rollers" to avoid damage to the cloth.[BM0213 p.7]

Advertising the The Patent Automatic Marker and Break Recorder. [BM1113 p.7]


An "Imperial" Billiard Table was specially manufactured by Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, Ltd., [one-off?] which was being sold for 500 guineas. [full description BM0614 p.10 and photo BM0614 front]

The stock usually in hand in the workshops and showrooms includes:—100 full-size Billiard Tables, ready for immediate despatch. Timber for 10,000 Billiard Tables. 20,000  Ivory Balls, roughly turned, being seasoned. 50,000  Bonzoline Balls. 15,000  Cues of all descriptions. 500 Slate Slabs. [BM0714 back]


Now Canadian offices in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg & Vancouver [55 adv.] Advert in Dec.1920 references Cardiff branch also Dublin. No reference to Canadian offices [BP1220 p.9] "Burroughes Hall" operating at 48 St. James' Street, London SW1 for exhibition matches and tournaments [55 p.249]

Table plate stating "Patent Eureka Groove" Extra Low Fast Cushions. [style looks c.1920 but no definite date][eBay item]


Advertising the "Jacobean" billiard table. Also their "new catalogue" entitled "The Birth of a Billiard Table".  No reference to Southampton office. [BP0321 p.7]

Reference to their patent "Rigidus" frame and "Steel Vacuum" cushions. [BP0621 p.7] Cushions later described as the "Burwat Steel Vacuum" [see 1912] [BP1221 p.7] [illust. BBV1032 p.134]


Burroughes & Watts did not start to produce strip-rubber cushions at the same time as other manufacturers [1910-14]. Their Research Department was not marking time, but was evolving further improvements which were further embodied in additional patents in 1922 and later years. [BBV0531 p.61]

Burroughes & Watts - Heritage Images



Click on the image to view


Introduced a new model of "Steel Vacuum Cushion" [strip-rubber?]. "Rigidus" frame still in use [BP0424 p.7]


"Trappo", is a new game for the billiard table introduced by Burroughes & Watts, Ltd. Five traps in the bed of the small table are used instead of pockets at the sides and corners and the game can be one of both cannons and hazards, or of potting only. [BP0128 p.28]

Messrs. Burroughes and Watt's introduced their new lighting arrangement for the first time in Liverpool, and I think they ought to be congratulated on applying a system that does away with shadows so satisfactorily, and at the same time must conserve a good deal of electric current, besides simplifying the wiring.[BP1128 p.20]


By 1930, 600 tables per year came from their factory in Bow. Wood for Mahogany tables was obtained from British Honduras & Africa and Oak from Austria & Japan. They were operating a showroom in Newcastle [New Bridge Street] in May 1930.[19 p.160].

Supplying the "Willie Smith" table with 12 square-cut legs [illust. BBV0230 p.16] Started to produce the "Burwat Miniature Golf" 18 and 9-hole courses. [BBV1130 p.17] Also "Burwat Chalk" [BBV1230 p.3/17]

Supplying "Ye Old Ash" cue for 70/- "made from old seasoned ash from H.M. Ships." [BBV0530 p.14] [BBV0930 p.9] The cues were made of 55 year-old wood from an English battleship. [BBV0630 p.16]

W. T. Rainbow and F. L. Billington Grieg were joint Managing Directors of Burroughes & Watts at this time. [BBV1030 p.4]

[Autumn 1930] Burroughes & Watts in conjunction with "a skilled chalk maker" put on the market a British Chalk, the "British Burwat". "The makers of the popular "British Burwat Chalk" are now producing a chalk for use in clubs and public rooms at a price competitive with the foreign article, and of a quality very much superior. Beautifully boxed. Sold at 6/- a gross or 9d. a dozen." [BBV1231 p.161]


Although he has few opportunities of play, Mr. J. H. Stevens, joint manager of the London Showroom of Burroughes & Watts, maintains a very high standard of billiards skill. Recently he hit up a break of 166, compiled through thoughtful and attractive billiards. Stevens has a sound and extensive knowledge of the technique of billiards. He plays cricket, too, with more than average ability. [BBV0531 p.57]

Burroughes & Watts stocked a range of eight different grades of West of England woollen cloths. [BBV1031 p.134]

Reference to a "Soho" table. [BBV1031 p.137]

"An important arrangement has been come to between the companies Burroughes & Watts Ltd and Orme & Sons Ltd. (incorporating George Wright & Co.) under which their distribution facilities will be amalgamated. The object is to effect the most economical distribution of billiards goods in the United Kingdom. Both companies cover practically the same trading territory, by this grouping of interests certain economies will be immediately effected and the savings therefrom will be passed to the customers of the two firms." [BBV1131 p.150]


Branches in Great Britain: BELFAST: 15 Pottinger's Entry. (Manager: W. J. Clarke); BIRMINGHAM: 14 Snow Hill. (Manager: Miss M. B. Coupe); CARDIFF: 26 Castle Street (opp. Cardiff Castle Clock). (Manager: W. C. Davis); DUBLIN: 434 Mary Street. (Manager : Mrs. N. Thorne); GLASGOW: 234 Sauchiehall Street. (Manager: R. Gray); LIVERPOOL: 9 Tempest Hey (opposite Exchange Station). (Manager: G L. Burroughes); MANCHESTER: Orme's Buildings, The Parsonage. (Manager: J. B. Berry); NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE: 15 New Bridge Street, Newcastle 2. (Manager: J. A. Rainbow); NORWICH: Prince of Wales Chambers. (Manager: A. F. Simkin); SHEFFIELD: 27 Church Street (opp. Cathedral). (Manager: F. B. Searle). [BBV1132 p.156]

Sub-Branches and Resident Agents: ABERDEEN: 21 Rose Street (G. Tedcastle); KEIGHLEY: The Billiards House, North Street. (R. J. Black); LEEDS: 92 Bentley Lane, Meanwood. (F. Cottrell); MIDDLESBROUGH: 31 Rockliffe Road, Linthorpe. (J. R. Cook); SUNDERLAND: The Billiards House, Athenaeum Buildings, Fawcett Street. (H. Jobling); WOLVERHAMPTON: The Billiards House, Lichfield Passage. (G. H. Poole). [BBV1132 p.156]

Overseas Branches and Agents: CANADA: Toronto, 36 Yonge Street. Manager: T. L. J. Burroughes; CANARY ISLANDS: Las Palmas. E. P. M. Lawson, Bon Marche; CEYLON: Colombo. H. W. Cave & Co; CHINA: Shanghai. Boyes, Bassett & Co; DENMARK: Copenhagen, P.O. Pedersen, St. Kongensgade 21. INDIA: Calcutta. The Army and Navy Co-operative Society Limited. Bombay. The Army arid Navy Co-operative Society Limited. Rangoon. Rowe & Company Limited; SOUTH AMERICA: Chile. Hardy & Company; STRAITS SETTLEMENTS: Penang. Pritchard & Co. Singapore. John Little & Co. Limited. [BBV1132 p.156]


[W. T. Rainbow critique on the concept of a 'standard' table: BBV0433 p.34]

Advertising sets of "second hand Ivory Snooker balls" in sizes 2", 2 1/16", and 2 1/32" [BBV0433 p.35]

Supplying "steel-shafted billiard cues" which were "the choice for foreign markets, where the fickleness of even the best of well-seasoned timber has frequently been obvious". [BBV0433 p.44]

Started to advertise a chalk dispensing machine in 1933 [photo: BBV0433 p.48]

Started to advertise "The Mascot Cue" "Beautifully made by hand. Straight Ash. Ebony butted. Green veneer inlaid splice." [BBV1233 p.114]


Still at 19 Soho Square, London W1 in 1935. Also Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, Keighley, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Sheffield, Sunderland, Wolverhampton. [BP0535 p.19]


The Arrowflite cushion was introduced in 1939. [B&W Cat. 1949-50 p.16]


"We much regret to record the death of Mr. L. H. J. Burroughes, of Heath Lodge, Shurlock Row, who died in Maidenhead on October 9th. His association with the world-famous Billiard Table Makers, Burroughes and Watts, Ltd., extended over more than half a century, he having occupied the position of Chairman of that Company for very many years. Mr. Burroughes was also Chairman of the Billiards Association and Control Club, Limited, from 1924 to 1932, a position which he occupied in succession to Mr. J. R. Abbott. He was known to his associates and a wide circle of friends as a genial personality—in every way of life an unassuming gentleman of the old school. A worthy descendant of the original William Burroughes. When in 1836 Burroughes and Watts made their first billiard table it must have been impossible for anyone at that time to visualise the two-and-a-half million players getting recreation and enjoyment from the game to-day. He leaves a widow, a daughter and three sons." [BP1145 p.3]

Burroughes & Watts - Heritage Images


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Branches: ABERDEEN: The Billiard House, 21 Rose Street. BELFAST: 29 Bedford Street. BIRMINGHAM: The Billiard House, 14 Snow Hill. CARDIFF: The Billiard House, 26 Castle Street. DUBLIN: 43½ Mary Street. GLASGOW: The Billiard House, 234 Sauchiehall Street. HULL: 24 Hutt Street. MANCHESTER: Trevelyan Buildings, 52 Corporation Street. NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE: 15 New Bridge Street. NORWICH: The Billiard House, Royal Arcade. SHEFFIELD, : 22-23 Orchard Chamber., Church Street. WOLVERHAMPTON: The Billiard House, Lichfield Street. DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVES : PLYMOUTH: T. Brophy, 44 Belair Road, Peverell. SOUTHAMPTON: E. R. Reeve, 5 Grantham Road, Bitterne. SUNDERLAND: H. Joblin, 2 Esplanade West. [B&W Cat. 1949-50]

Supplying "Buldog" and "British Burwat" chalk. [B&W Cat. 1949-50 p.5]

Supplying both the Arrowflite and "Burwat Steel Vacuum" cushion. No reference to manufacturing tables at this time! [B&W Cat. 1949-50 p.16] [photo BP0359 front]


District representatives also at: LEEDS: L. Cottrell, 21 Firth Avenue, Beeston. MIDDLESBROUGH: R. Holt, 27 Park Street. BURROUGHES& WATTS (CANADA) LTD. MONTREAL, 10: 230 Guizot Street West. TORONTO: 36 Yonge Street. WINNIPEG: 304 Notre Dame Avenue. [no reference to Sunderland][B&W Cat. 1952-3]


A controlling interest in Burroughes & Watts Ltd. was purchased by a group of property developers, the Hurst Park Syndicate Ltd.,[?][38 p.51] among the assets of which was the freehold of the valuable Number 19 Soho Square, London, headquarters building.  This fine old building was demolished following a fire shortly afterwards and replaced by a double-fronted, modern office block, 20 Soho Square, which still stands to this day.  The world famous Burroughes Hall, 19 Soho Square, had ceased to exist.

This policy of stripping the assets of Burroughes & Watts Ltd. continued with the selling off of the table servicing division, and later its nationwide chain of Billiard halls, to arch rivals E J Riley & Co of Accrington.

These moves heralded the demise of the once-great company that was Burroughes & Watts Ltd. and all but erased the greatest name in cue sports, which then remained dormant for nearly 20 years.


The Burroughes & Watts name was resurrected with the formation of Burroughes & Watts Cues Ltd, which continued the name's hand-made cue-making tradition.


Burroughes & Watts Cues Ltd was taken over and its activities expanded to encompass the Burroughes & Watts table tradition.  The Burroughes & Watts name was legally registered with HM Government's Trade Marks Registry as a registered trade mark (Reg. No. 2031291 - Class 28).


Following a serious violation of trade mark rights by a third party, legal action was taken in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in England and the rightful ownership of the Burroughes & Watts® trade mark was finally re-established.

Subsequently, it was decided that Burroughes & Watts Cues Ltd. would cease trading as a separate entity and all business thereafter was consolidated under the Burroughes & Watts® registered trademark umbrella and under which its business has continued ever since.

We are indebted to Mr Peter Ainsworth, renowned billiards and snooker writer and historian, for his compilation of this Burroughes & Watts Heritage section and for his very kind permission to reproduce his work.  The contents of this and any other section of this website are for personal consumption only and reproduction for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited without the express permission of the copyright holders.

   © Peter Ainsworth 2013   © Malcolm A Jones 2013



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