How much was first prize money in the inaugural World Snooker Championship?

Nowadays, the World Snooker Championship is the most prestigious, and valuable, tournament in professional snooker, with the 2022 winner, Ronnie O’Sullivan, receiving £500,000 in prize money. It is also the oldest, having been established, as the Professional Snooker Championship, in 1927.

The Professional Snooker Championship was the brainchild of professional billiards player Joseph ‘Joe’ Davis and billiard hall manager William ‘Bill’ Camkin. Recognising the growing popularity of the 22-ball game, the pair persuaded the governing body, the Billiards Association and Control Council (BACC), to sanction a professional snooker tournament.

The snooker was intended an auxiliary attraction to existing billiard matches, played at various venues across the country, with a single frame of snooker played at the end of each billiards session. Nevertheless, the championship attracted ten entries, including most of the leading billiards players of the day and all bar three of them paid the five-guinea entry fee for the Professional Snooker Championship.

The best-of-31 frame final was staged at Camkin’s Hall in John Bright Street, Birmingham between May 9 and May 12, 1927, with Camkin himself acting as referee. Joe Davis proved far too good for his opponent, Thomas ‘Tom’ Dennis, winning the first seven frames on his way to establishing a winning 16-7 lead, which became 20-11 after the remaining ‘dead’ frames.

Davis received the distinctive silver World Championship trophy – which is still in use today – and first prize money of £6/10/–, from gate receipts, for his trouble. He would go on to dominate professional snooker, winning the Professional Snooker Championship, or World’s Professional Snooker Championship, as it became in 1935, on 15 consecutive occasions between 1927 and 1946 – no tournament was held between 1941 and 1945 – before retiring unbeaten.