Burroughs & Watts

Billiard table manufacturers

Burroughes & Watts Ltd (given as 'Burroughs' in some sources) were major manufacturers of billiards, snooker and pool tables and cues, whose successors continued to trade into the 21st century. Founded in London in 1835, they were awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria. 1

Varieties of table billiards had been played in Europe since the 16th century, and public billiard rooms existed in Glasgow from at least the late 1850s (one early 'table proprietor' being Elphick's, in West George Lane). 2 Burroughes & Watts opened showrooms in Glasgow in 1891–2, when there were 11 commercial billiard rooms, and six other equipment manufacturers in the city. The company were also dealers in ivory, the principal material for balls, and 'gas and electric light fitters and cloth manufacturers': good lighting and green baize were essential components of a billiards parlour.

The firm's market was varied. In 1865, one of their tables, supplied to the 22nd Depot Battalion's Mess at Stirling Castle, and 'not two years in use', was sold, as was the custom-made model from Wardie House, Edinburgh. 3 Other Scottish customers included the Queen's Hotel, Bridge of Allan; the Tower Hotel, Hawick; and the Castle Mona Hotel ('formerly the Residence of the Duke of Athol') on the Isle of Man. 4


1: Company History, www.burroughesandwatts.com [accessed 20 April 2012].

2: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1857–8.

3: Scotsman, 6 February 1865, p. 3; 1 July 1865, p. 5.

4: Scotsman, 8 May 1872, p. 12; 18 May 1895, p. 15; 16 November 1895, p. 7.