Yorkshire Chess History



Arthur Goodyear Cowling











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



26/01/1858, Headingley


21/02/1858, St. Peter’s, Leeds


25/12/1935, Calverley



Non-Chess Life


Entry 181 in the baptism register of St. Peter’s, Leeds, records the baptism on 21/02/1858 of Arthur Goodyear Cowling, son of John Cowling, letter carrier of Headingley, and Margaret Cowling.  The child’s date of birth was recorded in the left margin as 26/01/1858.  The birth was registered at Hunslet.


John Cowling (born 1815/16, Wortley) and Margaret Cowling (born 1815/16, Hood Grange, North Yorkshire [5 miles east of Thirsk, to the south of the A170]) had at least the following seven children:


Edna T Cowling

born 1845/46, Leeds

Walter G Cowling

born 1847/48, Headingley

Frank R Cowling

born Apr 1850, Headingley

Joseph H Cowling

born 1852/53, Headingley

Charles E Cowling

born 1854/55, Headingley

Arthur Goodyear Cowling

born 26/01/1858, Headingley

Alfred G Cowling

born Oct/Nov, 1860, Headingley


Frank’s date of birth is based on his being 11 at the time of the 1861 census, and 20 at the time of the 1871 census.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed John Cowling, letter carrier, sub-post office, Headingley.  It also listed John Cowling as the carrier attending the “Legs of Man” at 42 Call Lane, Leeds, daily, to collect post for Wakefield.  (Post was collected from four pillar boxes in Leeds, and from a number of “collecting houses”, while letter carriers “attended” various inns to collect mail.)


The 1861 census found parents John and Margaret living with the above seven children at 5 Cross Stanford Street, Leeds.  Father John was described as a newsagent.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield &c, 1866, seems not to mention John Cowling.


Around 1869, or before, daughter Edna had married, taking the surname Lord.


White’s General and Commercial Directory of Leeds, Bradford &c., 1870, similarly didn’t mention John Cowling, or Alice Court.  Such directories didn’t mention those places where the poorer people lived.


The 1871 census found parents John and Margaret living with only the eldest six children, and a grandson, at 3 Alice Court, Leeds.  Alfred had perhaps died.  Edna was now Edna T. Lord, a joiner’s wife, and the grandson mentioned was Edna’s 8-month-old son Henry C. Lord.  Father John was back to being described as a letter carrier.  Walter was a tailor’s cutter.  Frank was a painter.  Joseph was a plasterer.  Charles was apprentice to a cabinet maker.  Arthur was a scholar.


The death of Margaret Cowling, aged 59, was registered in the second quarter of 1876, at Leeds.


The 1881 census found most of the children had dispersed.  Accordingly, widowed father John Cowley and son Arthur Goodyear Cowley were living with John’s 63-year-old Wortley-born married (but not widowed, seemingly) sister, Sarah Lees, at Back Wade Street, Leeds.  John was still a letter carrier.  Our man, Arthur, was a printer’s compositor.  Sarah Lees was a stay-maker.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed a John Cowling at 78 Bruce Street, New Wortley, Leeds, which ran from Wellington Road to Green Lane, and has since been redeveloped, losing the name Bruce Street.  This may not have been our man’s father.


Entry number 196 in the marriage register of St. John the Evangelist, Leeds, records the marriage by license, on 30/04/1881, by the curate, R. K. Snowden, of Arthur Goodyear Cowling, 23-year-old bachelor printer of 25 Wade Lane, Leeds, son of letter carrier John Cowley, to Mary Hutchinson, 22-year-old spinster of 1 Walker Terrace, Burmantofts, daughter of warehouseman Jabez Hutchinson.


Arthur and Mary had at least the following three children, all born in Leeds:


Edna Cowling

born 1882

Gerty Cowling

born 1883/84

A Goodson Cowling (son)

born 1889/90


Kelly's Directory of Leeds, 1888, listed Arthur cowling, working printer, at 5 Dorrington Place, Leeds.


The 1891 census found Arthur Goodyear Cowling, wife Mary, the above three children and a lodger, living at 5 Dorrington Place, Leeds.  Arthur was described as a printer.


By 1894, Arthur seems to have made a major change in his occupation.  White's Directory of Leeds & Trade Directory of the whole Clothing District, 1894, listed Arthur Goodyer [sic] Cowling as a laundry proprietor at 1 Coburg Square, Leeds, at the end of Coburg Street, off Wade Lane, in a central area of Leeds which seems now to have been totally redeveloped.


Byles’s Post Office Bradford Directory, 1898, seems not to list Arthur, suggesting he was still living in Leeds at that time.  Kellys Bradford Directory, 1901, similarly seems not to mention Arthur, suggesting he was still in Leeds.


The Cowlings are elusive in the 1901 census.


The 1911 census reveals another major shift in occupation.  Arthur Goodyear Cowling, wife Mary and daughter Edna now lived at 154-158 Sunbridge Road, Bradford, which Arthur and Mary ran as lodging houses.  Arthur was described as a lodging-house manager, and Mary as a lodging-house matron, while Edna was a clerk in a laundry.  They had in their establishment 153 lodgers.


Byles’s Post Office Bradford Directory, 1912, listed 154-158 Sunbridge Road, Bradford, as “Bradford Model Lodging-house Company Limited”, without mentioning Arthur (or anyone else) as being resident a manager.


Kellys Bradford Directory, 1917, listed 154-158 Sunbridge Road, Bradford, as “Bradford Model Lodging House Company Limited”, giving Oliver Bradley as secretary, suggesting Arthur had been replaced.


In time Arthur seems to have moved to Calverley, between Leeds and Bradford, and more recently counted as part of Pudsey.




Arthur Goodyear Cowling, of 42 Crowther Avenue, Calverley, died on 25/12/1935.  Probate was granted to Mary Cowling, widow.  He left effects of £3,683 14s 9d.




“A. C. Cowling” of Leeds played for Yorkshire in the 1884 Lancashire-Yorkshire match.  The “C” should presumably have been “G”.


“A. G. Cowling” of Leeds attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1887 1888 and 1889.


He played for Leeds St. Martin in the Woodhouse Cup, before they combined their strength with Leeds, at least in 1903-04 and in 1904-05.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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