When Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952 the world was very different. So was snooker.
In fact, 1952 was the year in which it looked like snooker may be finished as a professional sport.
Common understanding has it that snooker is a game for the working class but it had its roots in the upper classes: invented by British army officers, played in smart gentlemen’s clubs with a table at Buckingham Palace (although judging by the Queen Mother’s stance, possibly not very much).
Snooker had been dragged together into a professional entity by Joe Davis, the Stephen Hendry and Barry Hearn of his day, not only the World Championship promoter but by far the best player.
Davis won the title 15 times and then stopped playing in it. However, he continued to play in other events and exhibitions and dealt a deadly blow to the tournament he had started: everyone knew that the best player wasn’t in the field and this devalued it.
In 1952, a fracture appeared in the relationship between the players and the governing body, then the Billiards Association and Control Council. This was primarily over the cut of prize money the players would receive from the World Championship.
It led to a boycott of the main event by almost all of the leading players, who organised their own tournament won by Fred Davis.
The BA&CC stubbornly ran the ‘official’ World Championship with a field of two. So it was that Horace Lindrum beat the fading Clark McConachy to have his name inscribed on the famous silver trophy still presented to this day.
The split dealt a blow to snooker’s credibility and public support dwindled to such an extent that the championship was scrapped after the 1957 staging.
The first signs of change came in 1964 when Rex Williams revived the World Championship. Five years later, Pot Black was launched to showcase the new colour television service.
The World Championship reverted to an open format, a young Northern Irishman called Alex Higgins emerged on the scene, tobacco companies began to see it as a way to advertise their product, serious television interest followed and a professional circuit exploded into life.
When money started to come into snooker, so did greed. The game lost its early innocence but this has been the same for every sport. It is the modern world in which we live.
Snooker is now played all around the world. There is huge interest in continental Europe but not yet the major sponsorship required for huge tournaments.
This does exist in China, where there will be five ranking events this season.
The UK market has shrunk in recent times. Tobacco sponsorship, for so long the financial fuel by which the game functioned, was stubbed out and the associated smoking ban was a factor in many clubs closing down.
Most of the players on the main tour are still British and the qualifiers are all played in the UK but the amount of tournaments staged in the game’s traditional home has declined.
But there is one simple glue which holds the professional sport of snooker together. The Queen’s coronation in 1953 was a watershed moment for television. It was this national event which persuaded millions of hitherto sceptical Britons that the strange square box with grainy moving pictures was something to be taken seriously.
Television has brought the drama, the thrills and the heartbreaks of this highly skilful game into the homes of millions around the world and continues to do so. It has helped to create superstars, millionaires and lifelong love affairs with the sport.
And long may snooker reign.