Yorkshire Chess History
Edwin Collier, Vincent Collier
Chess-players Edwin Collier and Vincent Collier were sons of William Collier (born 1822/23, Whitby; died 22/09/1901 age 74, Whitby; buried Larpool Cemetery) and Elizabeth Charlotte Collier (born 1827/28, Whitby; died 10/04/1909 age 86, Whitby; buried Larpool Cemetery). The couple had at least he following nine children, all Whitby-born:
Edwin’s birth was registered at Whitby in the fourth quarter of 1862.
The 1871 and 1881 censuses found the parents, the above nine children, and one servant, living at 2 Baxtergate, Whitby, where father William ran an ironmongery shop. In 1871, William employed four men, in 1881 eight men and three boys. In 1871 the children from Catherine down to Winifred were scholars. By 1881, Raymund (seemingly spelt with a “u”) had become an ironmonger’s assistant, presumably in his father’s business, while Edwin had become an accountant, and only the youngest, Vincent, was a scholar.
With most of the older streets in Whitby, numbering ran sequentially (1, 2, 3 etc) along the left side, then returned down the other side, back to the start. On Baxtergate, numbering starts on the left, running away from the harbour, then returns down the other side. Today, the first building on the left, after an open space at the corner with New Quay Road, is that of HSBC, which declares itself to be no. 4. Thus numbers 1, 2 (the Colliers) and 3 were presumably demolished at some time.
Kelly’s 1879 Whitby directory listed Collier & Son, ironmongers, 2 Baxtergate, Whitby.
In the third quarter of 1882, Edwin’s sister Catherine married his fellow chess-player Ramon Peguero.
In 1886 or 1887, Edwin had taken a wife called Anne (aka Annie, born 1862/63, Hartlepool, Co. Durham). The couple had eight children, including the following six, all Whitby-born:
Of the other two children, who failed to survive to the 1911 census, one was Winifred, mentioned on the gravestone described below. She is difficult to identify. She may have been Winefride Mary Collier, born 1893 in Whitby, who died aged six in 1899. She could have become “Winifred” for day-to-day purposes. She may have been still-born.
Bulmer’s 1890 Whitby directory listed Edwin Collier, accountant, 9 Normanby Terrace.
The 1891 census found Edwin and his wife, living with the first two children and a servant, at 9 Normanby Terrace. Boarding with them was 28-year-old Walter Edwin Grimshaw, son of Walter Grimshaw, living on his own means after moving to Whitby following his father’s death.
Details of the 1891 Whitby census are elusive, but he would appear still to have been at 9 Normanby Terrace.
Kelly’s 1893 Whitby directory listed Edwin Collier, lodging house, 9 Normanby Terrace.
The 1901 census found parents, the first five of the above children and a servant living at “Streonshalh (Avenue Road)”. There seems to be no “Avenue Road” in modern Whitby street maps. Streonshalh is the former Saxon name for Whitby, and there is a house of that name at the south end of Khyber Pass (now split into flats), but there are likely to have been others. Edwin senior was now described as a shipowner’s clerk.
The 1911 census appears to have reflected a further move, to Crescent Avenue, Whitby. However, since Edwin is in time recorded as dying at “Streonshalh”, Crescent Avenue, it seems that “Avenue Road”, “Crescent Avenue” and “Royal Crescent Avenue” were all names for the same road, that is the one leading southwards from the centre of Royal Crescent. No property now standing on this road seems now to bear the name “Streonshalh”. It might have been on the site of the modern postal sorting office, or a car salesroom. Edwin and Annie were recorded as having been married for 24 full years, and as having had eight children of whom six were still living. Edwin senior was still a shipowner’s clerk. Agnes and Vincent were not listed. Edwin junior was listed as a sailor in the merchant service. William (with his middle name Campbell recorded by his father), Dorothy and Anthony were listed as scholars.
The death of Edwin Collier was recorded at Whitby in the third quarter of 1912.
The Whitby Gazette of Friday 09/08/1912, under “Deaths”, carried the following:
Edwin and Annie’s son, Vincent Collier, as far as is known, died in the First World War, having been reported missing on 27/05/1917.
Edwin’s gravestone in Larpool Cemetery reads as follows:
PRAY FOR THE SOULS
DIED AUG. 6. 1912.
DIED NOV. 23. 1931.
REPORTED MISSING MAY 27. 1917,
IN THE GREAT WAR.
AND DOROTHY COLLIER
DIED APRIL 28. 1960
AGED 61 YEARS.
Winifred was Edwin’s sister, and Dorothy was his daughter. (Click here for an image of the gravestone.)
With Walter Grimshaw, William Forth, George Longbotham Miller and Ramon (=Raymond) Peguero, Edwin Collier was one of the leading Whitby chess-players in the 1880s and 1890s. He played on board 5 for Whitby versus Grosmont in 1886, and board 3 for Whitby versus Grosmont in 1890. A certain V. Collier played for Whitby in the 1890 match versus Grosmont; this was presumably his younger brother Vincent.
Copyright © 2012, 2013 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information