Yorkshire Chess History



Benjamin Bottomley











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1863, Bradford




23/10/1912 Ilkley




Identity of the Chess-Player


There were a number of people called Benjamin Bottomley born in or around the Bradford and Wharfedale area, but chess records quote the address of the Ilkley player of that name, so identifying the Bradford-born Benjamin Bottomley who moved in time to Ilkley.


Non-Chess Life


The parents of Benjamin Bottomley were Joseph Bottomley (born 1826/27, Stainland, about 5 miles SSW of Halifax) and Sabina Bottomley (born 1837/38, Stainland) who had at least the following eight children:


Alfred Woodhouse Bottomley

born 1850, Stainland

Carolina Bottomley

born 1855/56, Bradford

Edwin Bottomley

born 1858/59, Bradford

Sarah Maria Bottomley

born 1861, Bradford

Benjamin Bottomley

born 1863, Bradford

Annie Bottomley

born 1867/68, Bradford

Emily Bottomley

born 1869, Bradford

Samuel Bottomley

born 1871/72, Bradford


Ages in censuses and at death imply Benjamin Bottomley was born at some time from 06/04/1863 to 23/10/1863, and probably Sep/Oct 1863, taking other things into account.


The 1871 census found the parents and children, except Carolina and Samuel, living at 18 Sawrey Place, Horton, Bradford.  Father Joseph was a master spinner employing 55 people.  Eldest son Alfred was also a worsted spinner, presumably working for his father.  Edwin, Sarah and Benjamin were scholars.


Young Samuel Bottomley died in 1872 at or near birth, at less than one year of age.


In 1879, a builder called Benjamin Bottomley filed for liquidation in Bradford Bankruptcy Court.  This was not of course our Benjamin, but it was quite possibly an uncle, or similar.


The 1881 census found the parents and all children except Alfred and unborn Samuel living at 6 Spring Gardens, Bradford.  Father Joseph was now retired.  Caroline was a schoolteacher, Edwin was a woollen manufacturer’s manager, Sarah was a worsted spinner, Benjamin was a pupil teacher, while Annie and Emily were both scholars.


Benjamin Bottomley entered the legal profession, and then entered became a third partner in what had been Gaunt & Hines, solicitors.


The 1887 Post Office directory of Bradford listed Gaunt [John E. Gaunt] & Hines [William Henry Hines], solicitors, 16 Tyrrel Street, Bradford.  The 1891 Post Office directory of Bradford listed Benjamin Bottomley as a partner in Gaunt, Hines & Bottomley, solicitors, 16 Tyrell Street, with his home at 11 Ashgrove, Bradford, where Joseph Bottomley, gentleman, was also listed.  Thus Benjamin must have joined the firm around 1888, give or take one or two years.


The 1891 census found parents Joseph and Sabina, son Benjamin and daughter Annie, living still at 11 Ash Grove, Horton, Bradford.  Benjamn was now a solicitor.


In 1893, Benjamin Bottomley married Emily Rhodes (born 1863/64, Heckmondwike).  The couple went on to have at least the following four children:


George Rhodes Bottomley

born 1893/94, Bradford

Edwin Rhodes Bottomley

born 1895, Bradford

Francis Rhodes Bottomley

born 1897, Ben Rhydding

Gilbert Woodhouse Rhodes Bottomley

born 1902, Ilkley


At some time from 1895 (birth of Edwin) to 11/03/1899 (when recorded as a chess-player from Ilkley), Benjamin Bottomley and family moved to Ben Rhydding, which is in effect the SE corner of Ilkley.


The 1901 Kelly’s directory of Bradford shows that at some stage from 1891 to 1901 the firm of Gaunt, Hines & Bottomley had moved to 41 Hustlergate, Bradford.


The 1901 census found Benjamin and Emily living with George, Edwin, Francis and three servants at Fieldhurst, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley.  Benjamin was a solicitor.


In 1901, son Gilbert died at the age of 4.


The 1911 census found parents Benjamin and Emily living with George, Edwin, Gilbert and a domestic servant at Fieldhurst, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley.  Benjamin was a solicitor and the two older children were scholars.




Benjamin Bottomley met an untimely end on 23/10/1912, as a result of a motor accident while he was in the company of Dr. Ernest Gaunt on 21/10/1912.  The District Coroner Mr. Edgar Wood, conducted an inquest into the accident.




Benjamin Bottomley attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1888 and 1889.


“Bottomley”, evidently our man, played in the “Tennyson” tournament for members of the professions at the 1888 British Chess Association congress at Bradford.  More explicitly, “B.Bottomley” played in the Yorkshire County Chess Club’s Third Class tournament run as part of the same event.


“B. Bottomley” started playing for Bradford in the Woodhouse Cup in 1889-90, while living in Bradford, and continually playing for them after moving to Ilkley until at least 1906-07.


After the move to Ilkley he became a member of Ilkley Chess Club, which was formed on 23/10/1886, becoming a leading member.


He played for Yorkshire at least once, in the 1899 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.





Copyright © 2015 Stephen John Mann

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

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