I was always a snooker and billiards fan and throughout my youth I would seek out places to play, as a lad it was usually youth clubs or church halls and as I got older I found the social clubs that had tables. The one thing all these places had in common was the make of the table. Almost all had the small ceramic plate affixed to the table bearing the name E.A Clare.

Norman Clare, who died in 1990, was Chairman of E.A. Clare & Son Ltd having followed his father (Edward Arthur) into the business as a young school leaver in 1930. The company, whose interest in the billiards and snooker industry encompasses the historic Thurston name as well as those of Thos. Padmore and Sons, Ashcrofts, Peradon, Weilding, and many others. The company is the home of Norman's collection. His interest in setting up this collection stemmed from when E.A.Clare & Son bought Thurston & Co. and he found many interesting items at their old factory site at Waterloo Works, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. For example, he recognised an original and rare wooden billiard table bed which was being used to board up a broken window at these premises and so he rescued it!

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