Yorkshire Chess History



Melville Andrew











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



17/06/1887, Sheffield



July 1947, Leeds


Identity of the Chess-Player


As a chess-player he seems to be listed solely as “M. Andrew” with never a mention of “Melville”, but no other candidate presents themselves, while descendants of this family recall Melville as being a chess-player.  That he was father to Donald Melville Andrew is difficult to prove without procuring a copy of the birth certificate, but the circumstantial evidence is sufficient to make the inference.


Non-Chess Life


Melville Andrew's paternal grandfather was Derbyshire farmer William Andrew (born c. 1810, Bradwell, Derbyshire) who with wife Catharine (the evident spelling used; née Smith, 1824/25, Chapel-en-le-Frith) had at least the following children:


Robert Andrew

born 1847, Bradwell; baptised 07/11/1847, Hope

Thomas Smith Andrew

born 1848, Bradwell; baptised 26/11/1848, Hope

Sarah Ann Andrew

born 1851, Bradwell; baptised 07/12/1851, Hope

Amelia Mary Andrew

born 1853, Bradwell

William Andrew

born 1853/54, Bradwell

John Andrew

born 1858, Bradwell or Dore

James Smith Andrew

born 1860, Dore or Dronfield


Bradwell is a village about 2 miles south of the larger village of Hope in the Peak District of Derbyshire, which in turn is about 6 miles east of Chapel-en-le-Frith.  Hope was in the broader registration district of Chapel-en-le-Frith, while Bradwell was in the broader registration district of Bakewell.  Birthplaces of John and James are variously quoted in different censuses, perhaps due to their father's lapse of memory, suggesting the move to Dore was around 1858.


The 1851 census found farmer William Andrew with his first two children living at Bradwell.  Wife Catharine was at the time at her widowed mother Amelia Smith's home in Chapel-en-le-Frith, and may have been thee awaiting the arrival of the third child.  Robert's place of birth was given as Chapel-en-le-Frith, so he may have been born there at his mother's parental home, though all subsequent records appear to give Bradwell as his place of birth.  Maybe the census enumerator got confused, having been given an explanation of where Mrs. Andrew was at the time.


The 1861 census showed the family had moved closer to the chess world.  The parents and seven children were listed as living at Dore, then in Derbyshire, but now part of Sheffield.  The address given of “Dore Lane” is no longer in use.  William was described as a farmer of 120 acres.


Enigmatically, White's 1862 directory of Sheffield and district gave Alexander Andrew as the only “Andrew” farmer in Dore.  This was perhaps the son of Thomas and Sarah Andrew, baptised at Glossop on 17/02/1832.  Maybe William had taken over a farm previously run by a relative called Alexander.


At some time from 1867 to 1871, Robert Andrew appeared as a grocer in Sheffield, adjacent to Sheffield town centre, originally at 258 Shales Moor (the name of which was at the time in the process of changing to “Shalesmoor”, White using both within the same directory around that time).  This is where White's 1871 directory listed him, referring probably to 1870 information.  White's 1868 directory had listed “Chapman John, grocer”, at this address, so perhaps Robert had bought the business from John Chapman.


In 1870 (or late 1869), in Sheffield, Robert Andrew married Lucy Shaw (born c. 1850, Sheffield).  They went on to have at least the following children:


Ada Mary Andrew

birth reg. Q3 1871, Sheffield

Amelia Adelaide Andrew

birth reg. Q3 1873, Sheffield

Gertrude Andrew

birth reg. Q2 1877, Sheffield

William Shaw Andrew

birth reg. Q1 1884, Sheffield

Melville Andrew

birth reg. Q3 1887, Sheffield

Ethel Andrew

birth reg. Q3 1894, Sheffield


In the 1871 census grocer Robert Andrew and his wife were recorded now at 282 Shalesmoor.  Living with Robert and Lucy were Robert's siblings Sarah Ann Andrew and William Andrew.  No. 282 had been listed ,


White's 1868 directory had listed at 282 Shalesmoor one “Butterell James, grocer” so perhaps Robert had sold 258 Shalesmoor and bought 282 from James Butterell (born 1829/30; died aged 82, 1912, at 70 Fir Street, Sheffield; buried 05/10/1912 in Crookes Cemetery).  The property was on the southern corner with Acorn Street.  The site has since been redeveloped, with the entrance from Shalesmoor to Acorn Street being cut off.  The former address of 258 Shalemoor was listed in the 1876 directory as occupied by butcher Francis Dodgson.


Robert's parents William and Catharine are elusive in the 1871 census, but J. G. Harrod & Co's directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire &c, listed William Andrew still as a farmer at Dore.


White's 1876 directory listed Robert Andrew's business at 282 Shalesmoor as “grocer, corn factor, and agent for Hudson & co's linseed cake and dust.”  Presumably linseed cake was fed to cattle.


The 1881 census found William Andrew now at Norton, which then, like Dore, was in Derbyshire, though it is now part of Sheffield.  He was farming 196 acres and employed four men.  Wife Catharine and sons William, John and James lived with him.


Eldest son Robert was still at 282 Shalesmoor.  He appears to have added being a corn and cake merchant to the grocery business.  Besides his 30-year-old wife Lucy and first three children, he had 25-year-old Sheffield-born brother-in-law Joseph living with him.


The 1891 census found Robert and Lucy, now with all five children, still at the grocery business at 282 Shalesmoor.  Ada was now a teacher, and the next three children were scholars, within only 5-year-old Melville left not yet in education or employment.


Around 1896, Robert Andrew retired, leaving 282 Shalesmoor, and moving to 297 Western Bank.  White's 1896 directory didn't list 282 Shalemoor, suggesting Robert Andrew had vacated it, but no new owner had moved in yet.  Meanwhile Miss Ada Mary Andrew, A.R.C.N, L.R.A.M., music teacher was listed at 297 Western Bank, but Robert Andrew was not mentioned at all it seems.  Related directory updates were not always in sync with each other, so Ada had presumably been installed at Western Bank, with Robert to follow shortly, after winding things up at Shalesmoor, all around 1895-96. 


Whites 1898 directory listed Robert Andrew at 297 Western Bank, where he remained resident to his death.


The former residence of 282 Shalesmoor was listed in White's 1898 directory as occupied by Bingham's Stores Ltd., provision merchants, to whom Robert had presumably sold out.  Bingham's (of potted meat fame) was the Sheffield part of the Bingham family grocery concerns, as opposed to the Rotherham part with which chess-player William George Bingham's father Richard was involved.  (By 1905, 282 Shalesmoor had become the premises of Hallamshire Furnishing Co.)


Round about 1898, Melville started attending King Edward VII School, Glossop Road, Sheffield.


At some stage over the next ten years Robert retired, as the 1901 census found Robert to be a retired grocer living with his wife and five children (not Gertrude) at 297 Western Bank, Sheffield.  Ada and Amelia were now both elementary-school teachers.


Gertrude Andrew was found by the 1901 census to be one of five female schoolteachers boarding with a Walter Blissett and his wife at 452 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.  Did they all teach as Sheffield High School for Girls, or the local (Ecclesall) Board School?


Ada Mary Andrew married Joseph Bradshaw or William Nichols in Sheffield in 1904.


In about 1905, Melville went to study at Jesus College Oxford, and presumably graduated around 1908.


White's Sheffield and Rotherham directory of 1905 listed at 297 Western Bank not only Robert Andrew, but also “Andrew Miss Ada Mary A.R.C.M., L.R.A.M. teacher of music”.


In 1910, in Sheffield, Gertrude married schoolteacher Henry Topliss of 35 Abbey Lane, Norton Woodseats, Sheffield.  In subsequent years, local papers made mention from time to time of the musical exploits of Mrs. H. Topliss, including successes of her pupils in R.A.M., R.C.M. examinations.


Future chess-player Melville Andrew followed his older sisters into teaching, which at first meant he at first moved round the country a bit.


The 1911 census found only daughter Adelaide and Ethel still living at home with parents Robert and Lucy.  Melville Andrew was one of three live-in assistant masters at The Grammar School, Ashdon Road, Saffron Walden.  This school dated in some form or other back to 1423.  It had a headmaster named Walter Mainprize Thompson BA.


Melville's mother, Lucy Andrew, died in Sheffield in 1912, aged 62.


Around September 1913, Melville started a 34-year stint as a housemaster at Leeds Modern School.  He taught Latin and English.  For many years he was editor of the school magazine “Owlet”.


Melville Andrew, stated to have been born in 1887, and to be resident in Sheffield, was listed as being in the London-based Inns of Court Officer Training Corps in 1915.  It is not clear whether this was something he fitted in, during the evenings, say, while still teaching in Leeds.


Melville Andrew is recorded as marrying Evelyn M Birt in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, in 1917.  The couple appear to have had at least the following children:


Eileen Lucy Andrew

born 1918, Leeds

Donald Melville Andrew

born 18/10/1923, Wetherby


Note how the children took as middle names the first names of their father's mother and Melville himself.


Eileen's mother's surname was given as “Bradley-Birt” when the birth was registered, and Donald's mother's surname was given as “Barton” in the case of Donald's birth.  Evelyn's identity is far from clear.


Melville's second sister Amelia Adelaide Andrew died aged 50 in Sheffield in 1924.


Melville's father, Robert Andrew, died in Sheffield in 1933, aged 85.  He was cremated on 25/07/1933 at the crematorium in Sheffield's City Cemetery, City Road, Sheffield.  Kelly's 1934 directory showed no reference to 297 Western Bank, which may have been taken over by the Education Committee's Domestic Subject Centre for Girls, which occupied number 255.  It was not listed again in its own right until 1942, when Miss Isabelle Kirkham was listed there, so clearly the Andrew family had ceased ownership and occupancy after Robert's death.


Melville's wife.  Evelyn M Andrew, died in 1941, in Leeds, aged 54 (implying born 1886/87).


On the occasion of the marriage of daughter Eileen Lucy Andrew to Scottish poet George Sutherland Fraser, on 30/08/1946, at St. Andrew's (!) Church, Chelsea, Melville was recorded as living at Headingley, Leeds.  (Notices reported her as daughter of Melville Andrew and the “late Mrs. Andrew”, confirming the latter's death.)  The Yorkshire Post of 01/08/1946 carried a picture at the top of page 8, showing bagpipers accompanying the bride and her father to the church.  Scottish newspapers made much of the wedding.




There seems no evidence of members of this family playing club chess etc until “M. Andrew” appears as a member of Leeds chess club.


As early as 1923 (or before) “M Andrew” was playing for the Leeds second team, in the I. M. Brown Shield competition.  He went on to play for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup (see 1924-25 Woodhouse Cup).  He played for Yorkshire against Lancashire in Leeds on 26/01/1929, and against a combined Northumberland & Durham team on 24/01/1931.


He became secretary in 1928, and held that post for at least the three seasons 1928-29 to 1930-31.


At the end of the 1929-30 season he won the prize awarded by the captain for the best performance in the first team (Woodhouse Cup), having scored four wins, three draws and no losses.


In 1930 he was elected vice-captain of the first team, and evidently went on in time to become captain, and was presumably the Leeds captain referred to as “Mr. Andrew” whose death was mentioned in the 1946-47 British Chess Federation Year Book.




Melville Andrew died in Leeds in July 1947.  He was an assistant master at Leeds Modern School, and he collapsed on the last day of the school's term and on the eve of his retirement.  The funeral took place at Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds, on the afternoon of Friday 01/08/1947.


A brief obituary appeared in Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, 01/08/1947, page 4, which provided some of the above.





Copyright © 2019 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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