Yorkshire Chess History



John Woodhead Baker











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1852/53, Longport, Burslem, Stoke‑on‑Trent




18/08/1927, St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, Hastings




Non-Chess Life


John Woodhead Baker was one of at least 2 children born to Joseph Baker (born 1816/17, Tunstall) and Fanny Baker (née Woodhead about 1821/22, Ripley, Derbyshire), who married in 1845:


Alfred Baker

born 1846/47, Tunstall, Staffordshire

John Woodhead Baker

born 1852/53, Longport, Staffordshire


Available information places the date of birth of John Woodhead Baker at some time from 19/08/1853 to 31/03/1853.  His place of birth, Longport, is a district of Burslem, near to Tunstall, the latter two being towns within the modern Stoke-on-Trent, in the “Potteries”.  Mother Fanny’s date of birth is a little uncertain, her age being given as 39 in the 1861 census, 59 in the 1881 census, but 77 in the 1901 census.


The family had evidently lived in the Potteries while the boys were young, but then moved near to Fanny’s county of birth.


The 1861 census found the parents and above two children living in Barlow Street, Litchurch, Derbyshire, a suburb to the SE part of Derby.  The famly seems to have been relatively poor.  Father Joseph was a cordwainer (worker in goatskin leather, or shoemaker), mother Fanny was a dressmaker, and 14-year-old Alfred was a stove-grate fitter.  8-year-old John was a scholar.


The 1871 census found 18-year-old Longport-born John W. Baker was one of six lodgers at 22 Victoria Terrace, Kimberworth, Rotherham.  John was a telegraph clerk.  Another lodger, who was also a telegraph clerk, was a 25-year-old, Masborough, Rotherham-born John Baker, perhaps a cousin.


The 1881 census found John W. Baker living at 15 Clifton Lane, Rotherham, with his widowed mother, Fanny Baker.  John was still in the telegraph part of the civil service, though his job or grade was unstated.  Mother Fanny was described as supported by her son.


In 1888 John Woodhead Baker married Lucy Farnsworth Wilde (born 1852/53, Rotherham).  The couple went on to have one child:


Alfred Godfrey Baker

born 1891/92, Rotherham


The 1891 census found John and Lucy, as yet without Alfred, living at 10 Broom Terrace, Rotherham.  John’s mother, Fanny, was not mentioned.  (Perhaps she was with her other son, Alfred.)


At some time, after the birth of Alfred, the family left Rotherham, moving to Uxbridge.  This appears to have been due to John securing a better job within the Post Office.  Accordingly, the 1901 census found John, wife Lucy, son Alfred and mother Fanny living at 67 & 68 High Street, Uxbridge.  John was now a postmaster rather than a telegraph clerk.


The 1911 census found John, Lucy and son Alfred living at Haywood, Shenfield Road, Brentwood.  John was still a postmaster, while Alfred was now a boy clerk in the civil service.


In due course John evidently retired to Hastings, and at his death was resident at 162 Downs Road, Hastings.




John Woodhead Baker died on 18/08/1927, at Buchanan Hospital, St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, Hastings.




J. W. Baker played in the 1888 Manchester v Sheffield match.


J. W. Baker attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1888.


J. W. Baker played for Sheffield (i.e. the Sheffield & District Chess Association) in the Woodhouse Cup in 1888-89, 1889-90, 1890-91 and 1891-92, at least.





Copyright © 2015 Stephen John Mann

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

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