Yorkshire Chess History



Walter Arthur Atmore











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1859, King’s Lynn, Norfolk


14/09/1895, King’s Lynn, Norfolk

Last heard of:

by letter posted 22/04/1896

Presumed dead:

26/10/1903, Grantham Probate Court


Non-Chess Life


Walter Arthur Atmore’s father was George Atmore (born 1823/24, Fouldon, Norfolk).  The 1841 census found 17-year George living as an apprentice chemist in the household of chemist Isiah Deck in the St Edwards area of Cambridge.  After a few years, George was able to set up as a chemist on his own account in King’s Lynn.


George Atmore, chemist of King’s Lynn, married Harriett Jane Atmore (daughter of farmer John Fuller, born 1826/27, Cambridge), on 14/01/1847, at St Andrew the Less, and had the following children:


Martha Ann Atmore

born 1848/49, King’s Lynn

George Thomas Atmore

born 1850, King’s Lynn

Edward Alfred Atmore

born 1854/55, King’s Lynn

William Atmore

born 1856/57, King’s Lynn

Walter Arthur

born 1859, King’s Lynn


The 1851 census found parents George, a chemist and druggist, Harriet, and children Martha and George, and two servants living at 59 High Street, King’s Lynn.  George now had two apprentice chemists of his own, living in the Atmore household.


After two more children had come along, first child, Martha, died in 1857, at King’s Lynn.


Walter Arthur Atmore in 1859.  He and brother William wwere baptised on 14/09/1859 at St Margaret, King’s Lynn, by O. P. Vincent.


The 1861 census found parents, four surviving children, one apprentice chemist and a servant living at 48 High Street, King’s Lynn.


Mother Harriet died in 1868.


The 1871 census found pharmaceutical chemist George living with sons Edward and Walter, his brother John Atmore, a housekeeper, and two apprentice chemists living still at 48 High Street.  Edward and Walter were both scholars.


Edward was educated at King Edward VI school, Grantham, starting around the Autumn term of 1875, and did particularly well.  At a governor’s meeting on Friday 02/08/1878, one of the two examiners, the Rev. Henry Bickersteth Ottley, M.A., reported,

“Atmore’s papers were beyond all praise.  In several subjects he obtained the full maximum of marks; and his work bore throughout the stamp of industry and application, and was characterised by a general excellence that will not, I am sure, be long before bearing tangible fruit of a very gratifying kind.  His scholarship is tasteful, and, for the most part, very accurate, and his style is at once precise and fluent.

18-year-old Walter was one of those awarded an exhibition, in his case an annual sum of £25, tenable at the Cambridge University for three years, to commence on his taking up residence.  Walter was admitted as a pensioner at St John’s, Cambridge, on 10/10/1878, matriculating in Michaelmas 1878. 

(Grantham Journal, 10/08/1878, and Venn)


Later it was reported (Lynn local new in The Norfolk News, 19/10/1878):

ST JOHN’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE – Mr. Walter Arthur Atmore, son of Mr. Atmore, High Street, has just obtained the Newcomb Exhibition, value 40/-, and a sizarship of 35/-, both tenable for three years.


The 1881 census found father George (still a pharmaceutical chemist), son Walter (a Cambridge university student), an apprentice chemist, and two servants, still at 48 High Street, King’s Lynn.


Walter received his B.A in 1882.


In 1883, Walter went to live in Grantham, where he became cashier to Messrs Hornsby & Sons, Ltd, agricultural & general engineers, and iron-founders, whose offices were at 84 Lombard Street, Grantham.


The 1891 census found Walter, now 31 years old, had left the parental home and was lodging at 11 Albion Place, Grantham, being described as a clerk.


Father George Atmore died in October 1892, and was buried at St. Margaret King’s Lynn, on 14/10/1892.


In 1893, Walter moved to Ashfordby, 3 miles west of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where he worked as a clerk.


Walter became engaged to be married, but was apparently having self-doubts.  He was a “B.A., Cantab.”, yet he worked as a mere office clerk.  Was this enough to offer his fiancée?  Had he failed to live up to the expectations of his family and been a disappointment?




Walter Arthur Atmore was last knowingly seen on 20/04/1896, when he caught the 3.40 p.m. train from Melton Mowbray to London.  He posted a letter, postmarked Paddington, on 22/04/1896, but was not heard of since.  A notice was placed in newspapers in October 1902, asking for any information about him to be sent to Beloe and Beloe, solicitors, New Conduit Street, King’s Lynn, but to no effect.


On Monday 26/10/1903, at Grantham Probate Court, leave was granted “to presume the death of Walter Arthur Atmore, on or since April 20th, 1896”.  It was revealed during the hearing that the letter posted in Paddington on 22/04/1896 was addressed to his fiancée, and in it had said that “his head had gone wrong, and that he was not fit to be anyone’s husband.”


There seems to be no record of the death of Walter Arthur Atmore, but suicide or a change of identity seem the main possibilities as to what happened.




He played for Cambridge University in intervarsity matches, and played in the two North v South matches of 1893 and 1894.






Copyright © 2020 Stephen John Mann

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

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