Ruby Roberts - the lady billiards champion

Ruby Roberts

The Lady Billiards Champion

Diary of my travels abroad 1910-1911 (17)
Ruby Roberts, the lady billiards champion - Diary Entry 17

Ruby Roberts, the girl billiardist who was beaten — but not by a gigantic margin - by Walter Lindrum, has hopes of persuading her sex to take up the cue as a profession. - (1913). The bulletin Retrieved December 22, 2023, from

Dec 20. We rose early next morning and after breakfast Mr Maclean came round in his car and Mr Gray took snaps of us all. We were so sorry to be leaving as we had had a delightful time and everyone had been so extremely kind to me. We called at the Club to say goodbye to all our friends. On the way to Medan we called at the Bindgiz Club. Saw Charlie Lumb who was fixing up the table there. Arrived at the hotel at noon, unpacked, had Tiffin and rested during the afternoon. I had a very nice room adjoining Mrs R with my own balcony which is usually fitted up as a private lounge. We usually had tea there as it was the coolest place. I played Mr R that night at the White Societiel Club (White society). Next morning we went shopping and rested all the afternoon. I had no engagement that night but Mr R had one so Mrs R and I were free for the evening. Some friend of J R called after dinner and suggested that we should go to the pictures. I was anxious to go to see what they would be like in the Far East. It was not a theatre but a large tent which was fitted up very well inside with most comfortable chairs. The pictures were very good but I can’t remember the name of them. We had a very pleasant evening. When we returned to the hotel, JR was there. He had finished his match earlier than expected so we all had supper together.

Medan Postal Office
Medan Postal Office via Leiden University Wikimedia Commons
Shopping Street in Medan via Leiden University Wikimedia Commons
Shopping Street in Medan via Leiden University Wikimedia Commons

(Thursday Dec 21st) After breakfast Mrs R took me shopping. We hunted all over the town for a chemist, asked several people, but nobody understood us, so we had to give it up and went back to the hotel hot and thirsty. Who should be there but Mr Maclean so he stayed to Tiffin. Afterwards he took us for a drive and found a chemist for us. I got something for my cold which was very troublesome. He took us out to the race course and showed us all round the town. He gave us a number of snaps he had taken of us. We were very sorry to say goodbye to him as he has been so kind and done everything to make our visit a success. That night J R played at the hotel so Mrs R and I went over to the Club to see some pictures that were being exhibited. We spent a couple of hours there then came home had supper and went to bed.

(Dec 22) I rose early and finished my packing as we were due to leave that afternoon, so we were very surprised when the shipping company rang to say that our ship would not leave until the following morning, as we were due in Penang the next day in time to catch the boat bound for Rangoon. If we missed this boat we could not get another one for a week and that would throw all our engagements out. Mr R explained our position to the Manager and he said he would see what he could do for us so later in the morning he rang to say he could fix us up to sail by the SS ”Calypso” at 4pm that afternoon. So we left Medan at 3pm and reached Delhi at 4pm. Went on board to find the ship was crowded. Mrs R and I had to share a cabin while JR had to share with another man but we were too thankful to get on board to worry about such trifles. Had a very smooth crossing and arrived at Penang next morning Xmas eve at 6am. Charlie Lumb took me to Raffles and we all had breakfast together. I had left Sambo with Mum so he had everything ready. Forgot to mention he could speak five different languages so he was a great help while travelling.

We were sitting on the verandah having a cold drink when Mr Norman brought a man up and introduced him. He was Mr Taylor, the English billiards player who had just arrived that morning and was most anxious to meet us. While we were talking to him, J R arrived. A Hindoo had meanwhile kept worrying us to have our fortunes told. Mrs R would have him tell mine, of course he told me a lot of rubbish but funnily enough he said I was to receive two parcels and just afterwards the boy brought me two parcels but he could easily have guessed it as it was Xmas Eve. He also told me I would make a lot of money between 1912 – 1913. That pleased Mrs R so she gave him a $1. I said fancy giving a black man a dollar to hold my hand when I could get plenty to do it for nothing which made them all laugh. Sherrick sent Mum and me two very nice presents for Xmas, he was very worry we were leaving and in fact he wanted me to marry him but although I liked him a great deal I was most anxious to carry on with my career. He had been most awfully kind to Mum and me and I was very grateful for all he did for Mum while I was away in Sumatra. He came to the jetty to see us off and waved until we were out of sight.

We boarded the SS Bharata for Rangoon. It was not much of a ship and was very crowded. We had to share a four berth cabin much to our dismay. I was most anxious to open my parcels and was awfully pleased to find that they contained two beautiful bottles of perfume (the bottles were almost as large as decanters and beautiful cut glass bottles). My other present was a beautiful little souvenir brooch. We did not sail until 5pm. It was very rough leaving the harbour. We could see Raffles in the distance and felt very sad at leaving. There was a number of American tourists on board being Xmas eve. I thought we would have some fun on board but it was the worst trip we have had up to date. The passengers were very stiff and unfriendly, the food was awful and the ship was overrun with cockroaches, it being a very old ship.

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