Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Thomas Padmore and Sons

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1848.

of 112, 114, 116, and 118 Edmund Street, Billiard Works, Birmingham. Telephone: Central 1941. Cables: "Billiards, Birmingham"

Established 1830

1830 Thomas Padmore moved from London to Birmingham. The company had a base in Little Charles Street and Thomas founded a business of wood and ivory turning and cabinet making which grew rapidly. As the game of billiards increased in popularity he decided to turn his hand to the manufacture of the tables.

Late 1830s/1840s. Thomas was joined by two of his sons, and together they built up a prosperous concern, but shortly afterwards Thomas died.

1871 The business continued to expand and Edwin and John Padmore chose to build larger premises at 118 Edmund Street Birmingham. For the next 69 years this was one of the best known addresses in the world of billiards.

In time a third generation of the family joined the business and cousins Frank and Douglas Padmore gradually took control of the business. During this period the production of tables and associated products was rapidly increased to meet demand. This was undoubtedly helped by the 1855 agreement stipulating rules and standards to which equipment should conform.

WWI. The first World War curbed the normal activity of billiard table making. Edgar Padmore, the senior partner’s son, and a number of craftsmen, joined the forces, and the factory was turned over almost entirely to war work.

Post-WWI. After the war ended, billiards equipment manufacturing took over from the cabinet making and Ivory turning. In those days most of the billiard balls were still hand turned from Ivory, and a huge range of products were made from the waste tusks.

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Billiard Tables and Every Accessory. Manufacturers of Billiard Tables of all sizes. Built of naturally seasoned superior solid Mahogany for Export, with Premier Championship Cushions, as fitted for the World's Championship Matches, also all Accessories, including Brassware. (Sports Goods - Stand No. B.26) [1]

The production of tables continued and by this time the tables were being exported to all parts of the world. The national championships of Norway were staged on Padmore tables as was the World championship of 1933.

WWII. During the Second World War a fourth generation of Padmores had taken control of the business. During the blitz, the Edmund Street Offices, factory, warehouse and showrooms were all destroyed. Additionally all historic company records were also destroyed. Edgar Padmore had to find temporary accommodation in the centre of Birmingham and also obtained outbuildings in a country house for use as a factory. The company had managed to obtain considerable work on behalf of the military and civil services. They also developed a rental system enabling them to get good returns on hired tables. Once the war ended these tables formed the basis of a good post war stock.

Post-WWII. Further new premises were acquired at 3 Coleshill street and a large up-to-date factory was also built. The manufacture of accessories, and table restoration, formed the bulk of the work, whilst timber stocks that had been built up began to season in order that they could be used for the manufacture of tables.

1951 The firm became a Limited Company, with a subsidiary to deal with the hire of billiard tables and to control the three billiard halls, two of which had been in existence for 40 years. The Board of Directors contained Neville Padmore who had built up his experience in various different internal departments.

During the late 1950s, the Coleshill Street premises were compulsorily purchased and the billiard halls disposed of due to changing economic and social circumstances. The companies consolidated at new premises, 8-12 Cheshire Street, only to learn some 12 months later that these Freehold premises were also to be taken by compulsory purchase. This purchase was to make way for the building of The Aston Express Way to the M6.

1966 Terence Padmore retired and the companies joined with E. A. Clare and Son, of Liverpool, and Thurston and Co of London. The managing director of the new group was Neville Padmore

1969 The forced move from the Cheshire Street premises allowed them to relocate to 180 Lozells Road. These premises included showrooms, offices and warehousing for the handling of a variety of products. The expanded group's tables were used in many championships and regularly on TV over many years.

1987 The brand name of Padmore ceased when the combined group of companies decided to move forward with the single brand of Thurston.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 147 and p130
  • [1] Elston and Hopkin - Snooker and Pool Blog