Home   Weald   News   Article

Queen Victoria's snooker table from Buckingham Palace put on sale for £150,000 by John Bennett Billiards Ltd, Paddock Wood

A billiards table once owned by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace has turned up in Kent and is for sale for around £150,000.

Sarah and Michael Hudson bought the antique from a West London social club when the building was undergoing renovation.

Sarah Hudson with a mahogany leg from Queen Victoria's billiards/snooker table
Sarah Hudson with a mahogany leg from Queen Victoria's billiards/snooker table

The couple run John Bennett Billiards Ltd in Queen Street, Paddock Wood, which specialises in restoring old billiards and snooker tables as well as building new ones.

The 12ft by 6ft mahogany piece has a unique serial number and a ledger entry relating to its sale, as well as an ornate badge which states it was installed at Buckingham Palace in 1842 and removed in 1897.

Mrs Hudson, who is also a Conservative Kent county councillor for Malling Rural East, said: “It’s a very, very beautifully made table, reflecting the craftsmanship of its time. It was made for a Queen, after all.

“We have spent a lot of years researching the provenance of the table to make sure it is the same one.”

There is no direct evidence Queen Victoria played on the table, which is currently being restored to its former glory, although she did commission it from one of the top makers of the day.

Written entry of the table's acquisition
Written entry of the table's acquisition

There is also plenty of documentary proof the monarch started playing as a girl and enjoyed billiards well into adulthood.

Mrs Hudson said she has spent years gathering evidence to support the table’s past, after the upmarket auction house Christie’s expressed interest in the piece.

According to the book Billiards & Snooker, A Trade History - compiled by J R Mitchell - “even as a young girl, Queen Victoria was interested in the game of billiards”.

As early as 1832, her diaries noted she played the game in the afternoon of September 17 “played at billiards with Victoire (daughter of Sir John Conray, Comptroller to the Duchess of Kent) and then went out walking.”

The table in the Hudsons’ possession appears to be one ordered from one of the era's leading makers, Messrs Thurston and Co, of Catherine Street, The Strand, in around 1839.

The Queen was still a teenager when she was crowned in 1838.

A billiards table once owned by Queen Victoria has been put up for sale
A billiards table once owned by Queen Victoria has been put up for sale

The book states Victoria was clearly keen to have the slate, from which the table’s playing surface is made, sourced from a Welsh quarry in Port Penhryn.

But industrial action hampered Thurston’s plans to obtain the blocks needed to complete the royal commission and may have delayed its completion.

The book notes: “There is no doubt that she was very fond of the game…this table caused some concern to Thurston because of a strike by quarrymen.”

After five decades in the royal palace, the table was bought by a man who lived in St Stephen's Road in Hounslow, west London, where it eventually ended up in the local Conservative club.

Fifteen years ago, the Hudsons bought the table in a sale. It was dismantled at the time but has remained in storage at the firm’s Paddock Wood headquarters.

Mrs Hudson said: “It is an asking price that we know is the market value for one of these one-off pieces.

“There isn’t another like it in the world and there are people out there who collect antique snooker tables and royal artefacts. We do expect there to be interest in it because the provenance is so strong.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More