Yorkshire Chess History
Thomas Bourn was a London-born stockbroker who in retirement lived in Whitby, but seems possibly to have alternated residence between London and Whitby, before later moving to the West Country.
This Thomas Bourn’s parents were Thomas Bourn (senior) and Mary Bourn (née Gray, 1800/01, Billericay; daughter of Joseph and Sarah Gray). Thomas, possibly an only child, was born on 29/08/1824, at St. Thomas Place, South Hackney, London.
Thomas Bourn senior died before 1841, seemingly in 1839.
The 1841 census found Mary Bourn to be a schoolmistress, living in Park Place, Hackney, with son Thomas, and five (other) boy pupils aged from 11 to 15. Thomas’s age was given as 15, by it would in fact have been 16.
The 1851 census found Thomas had become a stock broker. Widowed mother Mary, Thomas and a general servant were living at 7 [somewhere], Islington, London.
At some time from 1851 to 1864, Thomas took a wife called Mary (born 1826/27 at Ramsgate, Kent), seemingly marrying in the London area. The couple had at least the following three children, including one stillborn:
The move to Whitby occurred seemingly from 1858 to 1864.
F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, listed Thomas Rymer Bourne [with an “e”] alum manufacturer &c, with his home at Carr Hall, Whitby, and listed Thomas Rymer Bourne & Co. at Peak Works, Whitby. Alum manufacture involved mining (or quarrying) activity on the coast near Whitby. Gillbank’s Whitby directory of 1855 listed T. R. Bourne [with an “e”] at 17 St. Hilda’s Terrace, a large property overlooking Pannet Park, and Kelly’s Whitby directory of 1857 listed Thomas Rymer Bourn [no “e”] at St. Hilda’s Terrace. This could have been the Thomas Rymer Bourne who was one of seven Bournes who were colliery owners in Sutton, Lancashire. The similarity by name with chess-player Thomas Bourn, is on the face of it merely coincidental, and it seems the final “e” in Thomas Rymer Bourne’s name was correct and that this “e” seems to have lingered in the memory of Whitby directory compilers and census enumerators who sometimes appended a spurious “e” to the end of the chess-player’s name. Nevertheless, both Thomas Rymer Bourne and Thomas Bourn appear to have died in the same area of the West Country, so it looks as though they may have been related, perhaps cousins differing in age by 10 years, from strands of the family differing as to the use of a final “e” to their surname.
White’s Whitby directory of 1858 lists no Bourn(e)s in Whitby, so Thomas Rymer Bourne had been overlooked, was elsewhere, or was dead, while the chess-player had presumably not arrived yet in Whitby. It seems probable that Thomas Rymer Bourne of Whitby was he of that name who died in 1884, aged 70, in the West Country.
Finding the Whitby chess-player in the census 1861 is difficult.
Slater’s Whitby directory of 1864 listed Thomas Bourne [with an “e”] living at 3 Abbey Terrace, West Cliff, Whitby. This was probably our man, and if so puts his arrival in Whitby as probably in 1861 give or take up to three years, more probably 1861 to 1864, given the apparent absence of a relevant 1861 census entry.
Mary Mildred Bourn was born in 1865, at Whitby.
White’s Whitby directory of 1867 listed no Bourn(e)s in Whitby, which with Alice’s place of birth suggests the family was back in London for a while, though possibly retaining a residence in Whitby. The following two notices of births in London refer to Thomas Bourn nevertheless as being “of Whitby”.
The Times of 25/11/1867 carried the following birth announcement:
“On the 22nd inst., at 89, St. John's-terrace, Park-road, Stockwell, the wife of Thomas Bourn, of Whitby, of a daughter.”
This birth is clearly that of Alice. The notice neatly demonstrates the Bourns of Whitby spent some time in London.
of 18/01/1871 carried the following sad announcement:
The 1871 census returns for that part of Whitby which was in the parish of Ruswarp found the Bourn family living at 11 Abbey Terrace, Whitby, with a final “e” appended to their surname. 46-year-old London-born Thomas Bourn(e) was described as a retired stockbroker. His wife, Mary Bourn(e), was a 44-year-old born at Ramsgate, Kent. Whitby-born daughter Mary M. Bourn(e) was five years old. London-born daughter Alice Bourn(e) was three years old. Living with them was Thomas’s mother, 70-year-old Billericay-born widow Mary Bourn(e), who had “interest from money”. The household included two servants. Abbey Terrace is off Back St. Hilda’s Terrace, in the West Cliff area of Whitby’s west bank.
Kelly’s Whitby directory of 1872 listed Thomas Bourn (under “Private residents”) living at 11 Abbey Terrace, Whitby. As a correspondence chess-players he was at this time described in the Chess Player’s Chronicle
In 1873, Thomas Borne moved to Clifton near Bristol, according to the Chess Players’ Chronicle 1873, Supplement 1, page 1). Slater’s 1880 Directory of North & South Wales, Salop, Bristol, Chester &c listed Mr. Thomas R. Bourne Glendale, Pembroke rd. Clifton. Perhaps Thomas Bourn was living with Thomas Rymer Bourne.
It seems that by 1881, the Bourns, including Thomas’s mother Mary, had moved en bloc to Clevedon, Somerset.
Thomas’s mother Mary died, aged 80, in 1881, either in Clevedon, or thereabouts.
In 1896, daughter Alice married Clement Stanley Baber, in the Barton Regis area of Gloucestershire.
Thomas Bourn, retired stockbroker of 12 Hallam Road, Clevedon, Somerset, died, aged 67, on 26/01/1892. His executor was Stanley Gray, stock and share dealer, who was presumably a cousin or nephew on his mother’s side. This was the same area as that in which the above-mentioned Thomas Rymer Bourn died.
The 1901 census found daughter Mary M. Bourn living on her own means, boarding at 8 Westbourne Place, Bristol, one of two lodging houses, nos. 7 and 8, run by 70-year-old widow Frances A. Baker (Baber??).
The 1911 census found Mary M Bourn living with her married sister, Alice Baber’s family, with Alice’s mother-in-law Elizabeth Maley Baber, at the above 8 Westbourne Place, Bristol.
He was roped in to serve on the “General Committee” of the second Redcar chess meeting, in 1866, though what that entailed in practice is unclear.
He played correspondence chess, and a number of his games were published in the Chess Player’s Quarterly over the years 1868 to 1871:
We don’t know how many games he lost, and didn’t submit for publication. The above results don’t contain any noticeably brilliant results, except for the wins over James Alexander Porterfield Rynd, who was one of Ireland’s strongest players, and was seemingly then regarded as Irish Champion; he won the rarely-contested Irish Championship in 1865 and 1892, the only intervening championships held having been those of 1886 and 1889 when he appears not to have competed (though his son Kenneth Arly Rynd came third in 1889).
Thomas Bourn won a correspondence tournament organised by the Chess Players’ Chronicle (as announced in the 1873 Supplement 1, page 1)
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
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