Yorkshire Chess History



John Child











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



05/03/1820, Bradford




26/04/1891, Bradford



Identity of the Chess-Player


The Bradford chess-player variously named in match reports as simply “Child”, “J. Child” or, if you’re very lucky “John Child” might be difficult to identify, but for the fact that on at least one occasion he is called “Child, B. A.” in a list of players named without their initials.  Identifying John Child, Batchelor of Arts, is easy.


Non-Chess Life


The parents of the chess-playing John Child were John Child (senior, born 1779/80, Heaton) and Hannah Child (nee Walker, 1876/87, Bradford), who seem to have had at least the following six children:


Hannah Child

born 1810/11, Bradford

Elizabeth Child

born 1815/16, Bradford

John Child

born 05/03/1820, Bradford

Mary Child

born 1816-21, Bradford

Richard Child

born 1821-26, Bradford

Jane Child

born 1821-26, Bradford


Our man’s date of birth is recorded in the records of Bradford’s Westgate Baptist Chapel as 05/03/1820.  Censuses give his place of birth as Bradford.  He is not to be confused with the John Child who according to the same set of records was born in Bradford on 01/10/1820 to Thomas Child and Judith Child.


The 1841 census found parents John and Hannah living with the above six children at North Parade, Manningham, Bradford.  This was probably 14 North Parade, as in the 1851 census.  Father John and his two sons were schoolmasters, and daughters Hannah and Elizabeth were schoolmistresses, while daughters Mary and Jane were milliners.


The 1851 census found the same family, except the three youngest, Mary, Richard and Jane, living at 14 North Parade, Manningham, Bradford.  Living with them was mother Hannah’s 67-year-old retired shopkeeper brother, Abraham Walker.  Daughter Hannah was now known as Ann.  John Child senior and John Child junior were both still schoolmasters, but Ann (formerly Hannah) and Elizabeth were now both milliners, as their younger sisters had been in 1841.


In 1858, our man married Sarah Crossley, in Bradford.  The couple had only two (surviving) children, it seems:


Jane Elizabeth Child

born 1855/56, Bradford

John William Child

born 1858/59, Bradford


The 1861 census found parents John and Sarah living at 137 North Parade, Manningham, Bradford, with the two children and one servant.  John was described as a schoolmaster, teaching classics and mathematics, and, significantly for his identification as the chess-player, he was also stated to be an undergraduate of London University, but it wasn’t until 1881 that we were given news of his graduation.


The 1871 census found the family of four, now with a lodger but no servant, living at 21 Houghton Place, Bradford.  51-year-old John Child was now a retired schoolmaster.  He children were scholars.


The 1881 census found the family of four, now with neither lodger not servant, living at 46 Russell Street, Bradford.  It appears that John Child, having previously retired from being a schoolmaster had perhaps taken to private tuition, as he was now described as a tutor in classics, mathematics and science, appending “B.A.”  Thus we have the identity of the chess-playing John Child, B.A.  It is of course theoretically possible he was not the only one in Bradford, but others are not in evidence.  Son John was now clerk to a stuff merchant.


The 1891 census found John and Sarah living with daughter Jane at 38 Tradesmen’s Homes, (on Heaton Road?), Manningham, Bradford.  These Tradesmen’s Homes appear to have been retirement homes of some sort, as the occupants seem for the most part to have been retired.




John Child died in Bradford on 26/04/1891.




John Child played for Bradford Chess  Club in the 1870s, at least, for example in the 1872 Bradford v Halifax match, the 1873 Bradford v Halifax match, the 1876 Leeds v Bradford match, the 1876 Bradford v Leeds match and the 1877 Leeds v Bradford.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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

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