Returning to Q's one he found in Hertfordshire, here are three more:
Our Mutual Friend Public House, Broadwater Crescent, Stevenage, Hertfordshire The Goat, 37 Sopwell Lane, St. Albans, Hertfordshire (correct as at April 2008) The White Swan, Upper Dagnall Street, St. Albans, Hertfordshire (correct as at April 2008)
KT is mentioned in the first one, though Herts seem to have disowned him - maybe they weren't aware of his roots! In the second article an interesting reference to the game in Jersey in 1972, where one player used to play the table out going "in-off" the 200 mushroom!
True, but we're constantly on the trail of evidence of bar billiards matches being played outside of our little universe............ And there was mention of a North Herts v East Beds challenge game (won by East Beds).
We popped to The Bucks Head pub in Little Wymondley (near Stevenage) yesterday. They no longer have a Bar Billiards table - the barman said it was costing them far more to rent than they were taking from it.
They do however still offer Dominoes, Cards & Cribbage for customers. Nice and friendly village pub.
Post by squirerichard on Feb 11, 2012 12:15:06 GMT
I rang around a few pubs before heading out today. I found out that The Red Lion in Studham no longer has a Bar Billiards Table. Neither does The Bedford Arms in Hitchin, they've changed to a Pool table.
I called The Chequers Inn at Knebworth too - they do still have a table and the baize has recently been relaid. I'll be heading there for a game soon...
No answer from Our Mutual Friend pub in Stevenage.
That's a great blog, SquireRichard, very informative.
It is strange and interesting that the two pubs you visited in the same county play the two separate versions of the game.
The three known 4-Pin leagues in the country are Wellingborough (Nthnts), Norwich and Sudbury, which form a sort of arc around Herts - but then you also have the magnetic pull from Bucks to the west and Cambs and the rest of Northants to the north which play the standard 3-Pin.
Anyway, I'll change the Chequers on the map to a black mushroom (= non-league 4-pin table).
Post by squirerichard on Feb 15, 2012 16:09:07 GMT
No problem. Glad you liked the blog post :-)
I've noted down the other locations in Herts & Beds and noticed there is one in Bucks too. I'll try and get to them all at some point during the summer. Fingers crossed they've got some nice Beer gardens and fingers crossed my wife will drive to some of them too!
I'm going to be in London soon so will try and get a few games in as well. Got some friends there that are also interested in giving Bar Billiards a go.
An interesting point to note is that both the Goat and the White Swan were former "Rental" tables from Bar Billiards Ltd, Ascot (who have now ceased operations).
They appeared on the list of tables where rental was to be discontinued and a "decision was needed" but were the only two in Hertfordshire.
The decision was whether the venue wished to take over ownership of the table for £850 plus VAT - or to simply return the table. So it looks like the White Swan was returned, whilst the Goat was rescued. Both were top-quality Jelkes tables, and you can see the "Bar Billiards Ltd" plate on your picture of the Goat table.
I have been concentrating on the Southern and Eastern parts of the city, so the old 'Middlesex' has been neglected as regards investigations, and I probably wouldn't get round to those for a few more years.
I suppose a series of phonecalls would provide definite results, but that rather takes the fun out of the adventure !
I got very excited at stumbling over this article from CAMRA Hertfordshire's Newletter Number 32 - before I realised that it was written in 1980! :o ::)
Bar Billiards As promised last month I will print a list of all known (to me that is) pubs with bar billiards tables. Sadly I have received few replies even though there are still quite a number of tables in the county. First a little of the history of the game.... Although the game developed from much earlier versions of billiards, the form we know now was first seen as Billiards Russe (Russian Billiards) in Belgium in the late 1920s. When the game was brought over to England in the 30s the name was changed because of the unpopularity of the Russians at that time. Things change very little it seems. Since Bar Billiards Ltd registered the name as their own, other manufacturers had to choose others and so the terms Skittle Billiards and Snookerette came into use. Although there are slight variations in the rules from area to area, such as in the positioning of the 'skittles', the rules remain essentially the same.
Pubs in Hertfordshire with tables include: the Chequers and the Red Lion at Woolmer Green, the Robin Hood and Little John at Rabley Heath near Welwyn; The Rose and Crown, Aston near Stevenage; the Sele Arms and the Dimsdale Arms, both in Hertford; the Prince of Wales, Hertingfordbury; the King William, Hoddesdon; the North Star, Welwyn; and the Acorn, St. Albans.
A number of clubs also have them, in particular the Thomas Mercer Sports and Social Club, St. Albans, who are not only interested in joining a league but also sell real ale to boot! Anyone who would like to try the game can do no better than to come along to the South herts - Mid Chilterns branches joint social and ioin in (see What's On). lf anyone is interested in joining a league l already have a number of interested people. lf you know of a table somewhere get some friends together and form a team. Contact me via the newsletter and we'll see if we can form the first Hertfordshire Bar Billiards League - certainly the first for many years.
Still, there's some rich material here for both Squire Richard and myself: a few extra for me to investigate on the internet !
A more up-to-date report - article from "Herts Ale", 2007
Bar Billiards — Hertfordshire’s Endangered Species Following on from last edition’s article on the threat to darts and the campaign launched to make it more available in our pubs, consider another of our once-loved pub games — bar billiards. In its heyday this game could be found in so many of our best local pubs, tucked away in a small room or in a recess of the bar but now only a handful of Hertfordshire pubs sport a table. The game shone brightest locally in the 1950s and 1960s when there were local and county leagues and tournaments, but was gradually swept aside in the ensuing forty years by the onslaught of American pool. So what is bar billiards, where did it come and what is the current state of play? Bar Billiards is a table game played with cues and by potting balls into 9 holes that carry differing points tariffs. All shots are taken from one end of the table, from a small D shaped area and it is called bar billiards because a wooden bar drops after a time limit (usually up to 17 minutes in England — though 15 minutes in the Channel Islands) preventing any more balls becoming available for use. There are seven white balls and one red which counts for double points. In the leagues there are three skittles or mushrooms placed on the table — two white, one black — the capsizing of which will forfeit a break (white) or an entire score (black). Elsewhere tables with four skittles might be found. The game’s current strongest bastion of support can be found in the Channel Islands and in English counties along the Channel, from Kent round as far as Hampshire, then up through Berkshire to Oxfordshire and Northants. Here leagues still exist and it is from Oxfordshire where the current and triple world champion, Kevin Tunstall, hails. The annual British Isles and World Championships are held in Jersey. For those of you who play the game, the world’s highest score, in a competitive match, is 29,000 - scored in just over 17 minutes - try getting anywhere near that! As with so many of our pub games, its history cannot be drilled down to one clear moment of birth but in the early 1930s an Englishman called David Gill came across a game called Russian Billiards being played in Belgium (thought to be called this to make it sound more exotic). He convinced the English manufacturer Jelkes to make a version of the game and soon pubs were queuing to buy them, and other makers were helping to meet the demand. The game swiftly gained popularity — the first league appearing in Oxfordshire in 1936. Today, the game is administered by the All England Bar Billiards Association, and it is worth investigating their website; www.aebba.btinternet.co.uk to find out more. If you are a publican reading this and you’ve been toying with the idea of installing a table, just sift through the web — there are quite a few companies hiring or selling tables.