Yorkshire Chess History
Isaac McIntyre Brown
(photo from The Chess Bouquet)
Isaac McIntyre Brown was born on 13th August 1858, son of George Brown (born 1829/30, in Leeds), a labourer at a Leeds ironworks, and Ellen Brown (born 1829/30, in Leeds). He wasn’t baptised until he was ten years old, on 23rd December 1868.
He had at least four siblings, all born in Leeds:
Harriet Ann Brown, born January 1861,
John A. Brown, born 1863/64,
Harry Brown, born 1868/69,
Emma Brown, born November 1870.
The 1861 census records the family was living at 94 Pollard Street, Leeds.
On 23rd December 1868 he was baptised at St Thomas, Leyland, Leeds, by Rev. F. R. Blatch. At that time the family lived at 15 Brewery Wharf, and the father was still described as a labourer.
The 1871 census records Isaac, Harriet and John as scholars.
The 1881 census records the family lived at 4 Rock Place, Leeds. The father was still a labourer, in an iron-works. Isaac, now aged 22, was working as book-keeper at a dye-works, while sister Harriet Ann Brown was a tailoress, brother John A. Brown was a printer and compositor, and brother Harry was a scholar. Young Emma seems to have died between 1871 and 1881. Living with the Browns was widow 60-year-old Sarah Walmough, who was a relative of unspecified nature, perhaps a sister of one of Isaac’s parents.
Around 1884/85, Isaac’s sister Harriet Ann Brown married John Fisher (born 1861/62 at Morley). The couple soon had a son, George W. Fisher, born 1885/86 in Leeds, and a daughter Annie Fisher, born 1887/88 in Leeds.
On 13th January 1886, at St Matthews Leeds, 26-year-old Isaac married 24-year-old Ellen Brindley, daughter of John Brindley, file cutter, of 20 Waverley Terrace, Leeds. Isaac was then resident at 68 Crawford Street, Leeds. One of the two witnesses signing the register was former school-friend and fellow chess-player James Rayner.
Kelly's Directory of Leeds, 1888, lists Isaac as a clerk living at 19 Bagby Street, Leeds. Isaac, still described as a book-keeper, and wife Ellen, were listed at the same address in the 1891 census. White's Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1894 lists him as a clerk, at the same address.
White's Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1894, listed Isaac McIntyre Brown, clerk, residing in 19 Bagby Street, Leeds.
In 1899, Isaac and Ellen moved from Leeds to Bradford.
By 1901, Isaac was described as a stuff dyer’s manager, which presumably represented promotion from the book-keeping job. He and Ellen were now living at 6 Leeds Road, in the Eccleshill area of Bradford, and they had a live-in domestic servant. At the time of the 1901 census, Isaac and Ellen were being visited by Isaac’s married sister, Harriet Ann Fisher, and her husband, John Fisher, who was described as “cashier C. C.” perhaps meaning a cashier for a County Court, County Council or City Council, and two others by the name of Fisher.
Kelly’s 1901 Bradford directory listed Isaac M. Brown in the alphabetical section as a manager resident at 11 Wellington Place, Killinghall Road, Eccleshill, Bradford; in the street section his address was given more plausibly as 6 Wellington Place (the numbers ran from 1 to 6).
Wm. Byles & Sons’ Post Office Bradford Directory, 1912, listed Isaac M. Brown as a dyer residing at 6 Wellington Place, Eccleshill, Bradford. This may represent him having reached the status of director in a dying firm.
In 1915 he became a director of the Bradford Dyers’ Association, Ltd. From the obituary below it would also seem that in this context he was involved in promoting the well-being of Bradford dyers and their employees.
He become a director of various concerns, in particular Whitehead & Miller, Ltd., printers and bookbinders of Leeds.
Isaac McIntyre Brown died on 29th June 1934, at his home, 6 Wellington Place, Eccleshill, Bradford.
Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus of Saturday, 30th June, 1934, carried the following under “Deaths”:
The Telegraph and Argus of Monday, 2nd July, 1934, on page 4, carried the following under “Deaths”:
The same issue of the Telegraph and Argus carried on page 5, column 5, the following obituary:
The above piece included a photograph, but the quality was probably not adequate to allow satisfactory reproduction here.
Probate was awarded at Wakefield, on 29th June, to Frederick Gainer, a local government official, and Frank Hopkinson, a company director. He left effects amounting to £17,267 10s 10d.
In his school days, Isaac was taught to play chess by a school-friend, James Rayner, who became a prominent member of the Leeds chess scene. Isaac concentrated at first more on the solution of problems than the playing of chess.
In 1884 Isaac joined Leeds Club, and very soon became its secretary.
Isaac was as keen as a player as he was as an organiser. Statistics of Woodhouse Cup appearances during the lifetime of the first Woodhouse Cup’s first phase of life, 1884 to 1913, he played 126 games (+43, =47, -36), a total exceeded by only two players.
He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1887 and 1888, but had his eyes set on much broader horizons.
In 1888, he was co-secretary with Leonard Hoffer for the British Chess Association’s meeting in Bradford in 1888. Inducing the BCA to hold its tournament outside London was no mean feat.
His involvement with the British Chess Magazine started in 1888, the year Robert Frederick Green took over from John Watkinson as editor. He became editor in 1893, continuing through to the end of 1919.
Isaac was the primary mover, along with the President and secretary of Manchester Chess Club (?? Rayner), in bringing about the North versus South match at Birmingham on 29th January 1893, and the return match at London on 7th April 1894. These matches led to the formation the Southern Counties Chess Union, then (after Lancashire had formed a county chess association) the Northern Counties Chess Union. His dream was of a English Chess Federation, which, in the form of the British Chess Federation, came into being as a Federation of the Unions and two large leagues in 1904.
He was donor in 1915 of the I. M. Brown Shield to the Yorkshire Chess Association.
He was secretary of the Yorkshire Chess Association for a number of years, then became its president in 1922, remaining in that post until retiring at the 1934 Annual General Meeting, due to ill health.
He took over from Joseph Algernon Woollard the editorship of the chess column in the Bradford Observer, following the latter’s death in 1929, giving it up in 1934, again due to ill health.
The usual directory, census, birth, marriage and death sources.
The Chess Bouquet by F. R. Gittins, 1897 (biographical pieces on then-extant British chess problemists).
Obituary in Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus of 02/07/1934.
Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information