Burroughes & Watts Ltd.

Burroughes & Watts Ltd.

Burroughes & Watts was a company which manufactured billiards tables, established by William Burroughes in partnership with F. Watts at 19 Soho Square, London, in 1836.

In 1860 the company was making a modest 150 full-sized tables a year, but by the end of the decade production had doubled. The firm received a Royal Warrant to supply billiards tables to Queen Victoria, who was, together with her husband Prince Albert, a keen billiards player. The business now looked for expansion away from London, and in the early 1870s branches were opened in Belfast and Dublin. At this time most tables in Ireland were made with cast iron frames, and the wooden framed Burroughes & Watts tables proved popular with the locals.

By 1875 provincial showrooms and offices had been established in Manchester, and expansion increased with a branch in Newcastle in 1890. Agencies were established in Australia and New Zealand, and by the end of the 1890s there were branches in Glasgow, Birmingham and Sheffield.

In 1895 Burroughes & Watts was incorporated as a limited company. In 1898 the London factory was moved to larger premises at Furze Street in Bow. The new works employed over 150 people and numerous craftsmen were engaged in all aspects of table manufacture and cue making.

By 1930 the Bow factory was producing 600 tables a year. Wood for mahogany tables was obtained from British Honduras and Africa and oak was imported from Austria and Japan.

Burroughes & Watts helped to pioneer the game of professional billiards and later snooker. National billiards championships were held at the company’s headquarters at Soho Square from 1921 onwards. In September 1922 the venue staged the first ever professional snooker match to be payed in London.

After the Second World War production of new tables effectively came to an end and Burroughes & Watts concentrated on table renovation and supply of cues and other accessories.

The company was ultimately wound up in 1967. The main assets were taken over by property developers, Hurst Park Syndicate Ltd., and the table renovation business was sold to E. J. Riley.

In 1986 the Burroughes & Watts name was resurrected with the formation of Burroughes & Watts Cues Ltd. The company makes snooker cues, restores antique snooker tables and offers a billiard room design service.