I came out of the Army in the year of 1976 , and started to work for my uncle’s firm Trent Valley Pool & Snooker tables Leisure firm in Chettles industrial Estate and office on lincoln Street basford .
I worked alongside my cousin Gary Hume and A sub contract billiard fitter called Mick Robb who had a firm called Belvoir billiards .
I stayed at Trent Valley Leisure for 4 years , then on advice from Mick Robb , I left and moved to Elston & Hopkin of Goldsmith Street Nottingham .
although I still did a bit of work for my Uncle Ron and cousin Gary over the years while I worked for Elston & Hopkin , mainly at weekends or evenings
and my boss at Elston & Hopkin did knew that I helped them out now and again . although their work and sales where nationwide and E&H where local east midlands mainly very little outside a 50 to 80 mile radius
.so no conflict of interest .
John hopkin was a very good Employer and Boss .
In 1980 Elston & hopkin where just being relocated from the very old Empire Theatre Building on goldsmith Street Nottingham where they had a billiard hall and a very fine fitted out Solid Mahogany sales counter for billiard table spares . cue sales and so on .
I also got married in 1980 to my Wife Carol , who I am happy to say we are still together after 39 years of marriage and have two Daughters Helen and Kimberley and in 2018 our first Grand child Emily arrived .~
Sorry no Boys to carry on the business .
Elston & hopkin moved into a workshop on Canal Street , also now demolished , and then into the Newark Street premises from 1980 .
having a 18 table billiard hall , office and workshop on the top floor .
of Davisella house right on the corner of Newark street & Manvers Street .
Elston & hopkin moved out in the early 2000s and sold out to Universal logic in 2004 , I went with the firm to work out of a warehouse in Gainsborough Lincolnshire for the next 7 years .
I look back on the 43 years I have been working as a Billiards fitter .
I have learnt from everyone around me from my Uncles firm and Gary Hume to Mick Robb who was a big influence in my work , to Roger Perczynski and Alan Pykett at Elston & hopkin .
I also learnt a bit of Computer presentation and promotion from my last boss Ted Roberts .
I have had my ups and downs , but became self employed in May 2012 when I had started GCL billiards .
I have met some characters , and worked for some very famous people , as you can imagine it is not everyone who has a room for a full size billiard table , and most celebs and sports personalities do at sometime in their life have ownership or inherit through a house sale a full size table .
But I get as much satisfaction working for normal working folk like myself as I do the high society and famous clientele .
I look upon myself as the Caretaker in my time period of the billiard tables I work on .
I am now approaching 65 years of age , and starting to feel the aches and pains of fitting such heavy tables .
a bit of arthritis , a bad knee joint from my football days , and the normal getting old feeling that you feel creeping up on you .
To the point that upstairs locations are now null and void and no go areas .
let the younger fitters lift slate upstairs or into a basement .
So I do not do this type of heavy lifting anymore , one bad job could put me off work for a long time so why risk it , just ground floor to ground floor locations and the van loading if I wish to carry on to my 70’s
I do not know how long I will be doing this line of work , but I do aim to get to 70 years old at least full time .
So at least another 5 years and two months to go yet .
HEALTH PERMITTING of course .
and maybe do 3 days a week then 2 days a week until retirement , but it is not unusual for 80 year old fitters to still be fitting tables and doing Re-cloths , At Elston and Hopkin they had an old fitter called Joe doing it until he was 80 odd years old .
he fully retired just before I started there .