Most Newman cues are good
playing cues although you can get one or two whippy ones, it has to be said
that the whippy ones are often the older versions. They are more like snooker
cues, being made in the style of Tom Newman's own cue which was solid and
played well, especially for him.
Tom Newman was actually born on
the 23rd March 1894 at Barton on Humber, Lincolnshire. However, he would soon
move to London where his father had a hotel in Bow and indeed, was a useful
player in his own right. being capable of Breaks in excess of 200.
Newman's first public game was
at the age of 9 years old and he was soon proclaimed the "Boy Champion of
London". although at that time an organised Boys' Championship did not exist.
By 1912 he was becoming a prominent player and seeing his potential, john
Roberts took a three year contract as his manager.
The opportunities afforded by
Roberts brought Newman quickly into the limelight of professional billiards.
Developing rapidly, Newman completed his first thousand break (1,024) on 6th
May 1921 in a match against Birmingham professional Fred Lawrence at New
Burroughes Hall, London.
He extended this with a record
break of 1,274 which came in a heat of the Burroughes & Watts Tournament
against Claude Falkiner in December 1922. The break, which occupied three
sessions, took a total of 85 minutes to compile.
This is what The Billiard
Player had to say about the conclusion: "On Saturday afternoon (the last
day of the old year) the break was carried to its mammoth total of 1,274 in the
most electrical atmosphere I can remember in a billiard hall. Every point of
vantage in the New Burroughes Hall from which a sight of the table could be
obtained was seized upon, and every stroke watched with an intensity that made
one almost afraid to breathe. The end of the marvellous effort was a tragedy,
and produced groans from the crowd that was hanging upon every movement of the
player. In making a short losing hazard into the right top pocket across the
head of the board, Newman just grazed his opponent's ball with his cue. Only a
few of the onlookers had observed the incident, and there was general
consternation when the voice of referee Eagles was heard declaiming "A foul
stroke, sir." It was a tragic and inglorious ending to a new world's record,
and some moments elapsed before the crowd realised what had happened. Then a
storm of applause broke out which shook the building, after which the genial J.
P. Mannock; (manager of the hall) made a felicitous little speech
Newman extended his record break
to 1,370 in a match against Willie Smith at the Burroughes Hall which concluded
on 8th November 1924. His celebrations were somewhat tempered however, by
having lost the 16,000 up match by 469 points. Smith also making a thousand
break with 1,173.
In December 1930 Newman improved
his personal high break further with 1,814 and followed this in March 1931 with
a new personal record of 1,827 in a match against Walter Lindrum in Dundee.
Newman won the Professional
Championship on six occasions during the 1920s although his achievements were
overshadowed by Willie Smith, (generally regarded to be the best player at that
time), refusing to enter amid almost continual disputes with the Governing
There are seven different Tom
Newman cues that are known to us. All of these are very similar in design
incorporating most of the elements of the two badges.
1) The earliest example that we
have seen is the Tom Newman "record 1274" with a Burroughes & Watts badge.
It has a plain ash shaft with an Indian rosewood butt and would have been in
production for less than two years between 1923 and 1924. This cue has a
particularly large badge, to incorporate all of the text.
2) Another which is difficult to
find is the first of "Tom Newman`s record break 1370" cues which is also
identified with "Burroughes and Watts" name. This has a jet-black ebony butt
and an ash shaft. The badge is impressed with Newman's facsimile signature.
These two cues are the rarest in
the Tom Newman range, both being valued around £250-£350. From this
point, all the subsequent versions relate to Newman's break of 1,370
3) The third version is simply
inscribed "Champion Cue" below an impressed signature and it again references
his break of 1370. There is no mention of a maker on this badge. It has an
ebony butt distinguished with a front mahogany or peduke splice and an ash or
maple shaft. This is the most commonly found Newman cue and would be worth
4) Another version also carries
reference to the Worlds Record 1370 break, but the inscription omits Newman's
signature, substituting his name which is simply recorded as "Newman" in larger
print, with "Burroughes & Watts" written underneath. It most commonly has
an ebony butt with a front mahogany or peduke splice. (£150-£200)
5) The fifth example is the same
as version 4, but with a signature instead of "Newman". It has the ebony butt
with mahogany or peduke front splice. (£150-£200)
6 & 7) Additional versions
can be found identical to (5) except that there is no maker's name. They can
either have a plain ebony butt, or alternatively a peduke and mahogany front
splice. Either of these versions would be worth between £150-£200.
Apart from the two earliest
examples, Newman cues listed in this article are generally quite common. We
have heard of other cues which commemorate his 1827 and 1024 breaks, but as we
have not seen them we cannot confirm that they actually exist. It should
additionally be noted that the actual model of cue used for the Tom Newman 1274
break (version 1) can also be found with a range of different badges attached
to it, having been manufactured and supplied by Peradon & Co to various
retailers for this purpose. With the possible exception of version 2 which may
have been made by Burroughes and Watts. all of these cues are likely to have
been manufactured by Peradon & Co.
An example of the cue, made by
Peradon and Co that is almost identical to the later Tom Newman champion cue is
the Guide Dogs for the Blind cue.
Andy Hunter & David Smith