Yorkshire Chess History
George Octavius Cutler
George Octavius Cutler was a son of Sheffield merchant and manufacturer Hiram Cutler, and was a member of Sheffield Athenaeum Chess club.
The Cutler Family
The Sheffield chess-player, George Octavius Cutler, was a son of Hiram G. Cutler (born 1788, died 16/08/1867). Hiram G. Cutler married Sarah née Bowman (born 1797/98), in Sheffield, on 4th (or 6th) June 1822.
The couple had a number of children, including the following five who were educated at Sheffield Collegiate School (SCS):
Wallis  says the first two listed were the first and second sons, but is uncertain as to the ordinal positions of the other three. The middle names of Charles and George suggest they were the seventh and eighth children or sons, implying at least three other children were born though possibly didn’t survive.
Hiram G. Cutler was listed in White’s History & Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham ..., 1833 as a merchant with a home in Glossop Road. White’s General Directory of Sheffield, 1849 listed Hiram Cutler, merchant and manufacturer, with home as Springfield, Glossop Road; it also listed Hiram Cutler, Son, and Chambers, merchants and manufacturers of saws, edge-tools, files, and various types of knives, at Castle Hill. White’s General Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham &c, 1856 listed Hiram Cutler, merchant and manufacturer with home at Broomhill House, 343 Glossop Road; it also listed Hiram Cutler, Son, and Chambers, merchants and manufacturers of saws, edge-tools, files, and various types of knives, at Castle Hill Works. “Chambers” was Charles Chambers who lived at 50 Collegiate Crescent.
F. White’s Directory & Topography of Sheffield, 1862, additionally listed John Edward Cutler as involved in Hiram Cutler, Son, and Chambers, living at The Laurels, Glossop Road. This suggests John Edward Cutler was the eponymous “Son”.
John Edward Cutler was a captain in the Hallamshire Rifles from 1873, and was a Lieutenant-Colonel in 1893. He became chairman of William Jessop & Sons Ltd. He was chairman of the Jessop Hospital for Women, and of the Sheffield Savings Bank, and was a director of the Royal Infirmary. He supported the Girls’ Charity School. He was a JP. He lived on Glossop Road and was buried at Eccesall.
Charles Septimus Cutler went to Cambridge University, and became a clergyman. He married and had at least eight children. He was present at the Sheffield Collegiate School’s 1870 prize day. He retired to Worcester in 1910. One of his daughters died aged 21 while residing with George Octavius Cutler and his wife in Torquay.
George Octavius Cutler
George Octavius Cutler is thought to have continued his education in Sheffield after leaving Sheffield Collegiate School.
Whilst other brothers became visible in business or the priesthood, George seems to have had a lower profile. In 1851, at age 16, he and John Edward Cutler were the only children still listed as living with their parents at Springfield Place, Glossop Road, Sheffield. In 1861, he was the only one of the children still living with the parents, now at Broomhill House of Glossop Road, being described as a “gentleman”.
He engaged in business, entering partnership with Robert Thomas Barras in a firm of manufacturing stationers, lithographers, engravers and steam printers, which traded as Barras & Co. F. White’s Directory & Topography of Sheffield, 1862, listed the business at 24 York Street, Sheffield, and 15 High Street, Rotherham. Robert Thomas Barras was also registrar of births and deaths for Rotherham district.
He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, abbreviated F.R.S.L.
In 1862 he had published, in London, “The Philosophy of Intellectual Education, Ancient and Modern” (pp. viii + 136).
On 15 Jul 1862, in Sheffield, George married Ann Elizabeth née Rowbotham (born 1839/40, in Sheffield).
His father, Hiram G. Cutler, died 16th August 1867.
The stationery business partnership was dissolved by mutual agreement from 30th November 1868, and Barras continued the business on his own. [London Gazette, 4th December 1868]
By 1871, George and his wife were living with two servants at 286 Glossop Road; he was described as an annuitant. His widowed mother, 73-year-old Sarah, was living at 255 Glossop Road, with two servants. She too was described as an annuitant.
White's Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham ..., 1879 listed Mr. George Cutler at 4 Broomgrove Road.
In 1879 or 1880, he moved to Avondale, Warwick New Road, Milverton, Warwickshire. Then took out a ten-year lease on Southcotes, Warwick New Road, Milverton, from Frederick Peter Bartram of Leamington, clothier, and Thomas Chadwick of Warwick, gent. [Warwick county records ref. CR 611/63 1880]
In 1881 he was living at Southcotes, with his wife and three servants, and derived his income from land and dividends. The couple appear not to have had any children.
White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Devon, 1890, listed George O. Cutler living in Torquay at The Pines, Warberry Road, Middle. This road is now known as Middle Warberry Road, and runs mostly on the level, high up on a hillside, roughly parallel to Higher Warberry Road above, and Lower Warberry Road, below. Buildings on the greater part of this road are mansions. There is no longer “The Pines” as such, though there is “The Larches”. However, there is “Pine Court Apartments” which may well have been developed from, or be on the site of, “The Pines”.
The move to Torquay may have been connected to the former presence in nearby Brixham of George Henry Cutler (died 20/09/1864 at Hoopern, Hill Exeter, with effects “under £200,000”) or the latter’s nephew the Reverend Henry George Gervase Cutler of Upton Lodge (born 1828/29, died 30/05/1883 at Brixham, age 54). White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Devon, 1850, listed George Henry Cutler, Esquire, living at Upton Lodge, at the north end of Brixham. He was listed as one of the six principal landowners in Brixham. He was listed as a Devon county magistrate, being one of sixteen serving the Paignton area. White’s History, Gazetteer & Directory of Devon, 1878-79, listed the said Rev. Cutler as an occasional resident at his uncle’s former residence, Upton Lodge, Brixham.
The 1891 census listed George and his wife residing at The Pines in Torquay, and he was described as living on his own means. His niece, 20-year-old Julia Branson Cutler (born Jul-Sep 1870 at Hathersage), a daughter of the Rev. Charles Septimus Cutler, was living with him at the time. Her presence in Torquay may have been for the benefit of her health. That her health might have been impaired is suggested by the fact that she died little over a year later, Apr-Jun 1892, aged 21. She was buried in Torquay Cemetery in a bought grave in a consecrated area of Torquay cemetery, to the right of the plot in which George and his wife would in their turns be interred.
Kelly's Directory of Devon & Cornwall, 1893, listed George Octavius Cutler F.R.S.L., living at the Pines, Middle Warberry Road, Torquay.
George Octavius Cutler died on 1st May 1897, and was buried on 15th May in a purchased grave in a consecrated part of Torquay cemetery, now called the old cemetery, to the south of Hele Road, and west of Barton Road. His age at death was 62 according to the grave’s headstone, though death registers give his age as 61. (Cecil Valentine De Vere was already buried in the same cemetery.)
His wife survived him, being still recorded as living in Torquay in 1901. There seems to have been nobody of the name Cutler listed in Torquay in Kelly’s 1910 directory, but Wm J. McKenzie’s Torbay Household & Business Directory, 1911-12, listed Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Cutler still living at The Pines, Torwood, Torquay.
Ann Elizabeth Cutler died on 4th January 1924, aged 84, and was interred in the same grave as her husband.
The inscription on the headstone reads:
To the right of this Cutler grave is another Cutler grave. This second grave has barely legible inscriptions along the edging stones, but the name of the Rev. C. S. Cutler, B.A., is discernible on the left edging stone, and the year 1892 is legible on the front edge stone, making it clear the grave is that of George’s niece, Julia Branson Cutler, daughter of the Rev. Charles Septimus Cutler.
He was a member of Sheffield Athenaeum chess Club, from 1867 to 1873 (though apparently didn’t pay his “subs” for 1868).
He entered the Skipworth’s Yorkshire Chess Association’s first problem-composing tournament, his entry being the following:
White to play, and mate in four moves.
The above problem was one of two of his published in the Chess Players’ Quarterly Chronicle of 1869. A further two were published in CPQC of 1870, and another two in the Chess Player’s Chronicle of 1872.
He attended the 1868 and 1869 annual meetings of Skipworth’s Yorkshire Chess Association, being designated a vice-president for the 1868 event, and attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association annual meetings of 1868 and 1872.
At Skipworth’s event in York, 1868, George was reportedly taken ill, had to leave early, and thereby conceded his unplayed games. He was credited with a win over A. Ball of York, though that may have been one of a number conceded by Ball due to business commitments.
At the 1868 WYCA meeting in Sheffield, he played in the four-player First Class knock-out tournament, losing in round one to John William Young of Wakefield.
In 1870, the Chess Players’ Quarterly Chronicle organised a correspondence tournament between some of the stronger provincial chess clubs, the prize as “a £5 5s. set of Staunton Chessmen, in ivory, given by G. O. Cutler, Esq., of Sheffield, and a £2 2s. board by the Editors of Chess Players’ Quarterly Chronicle.”
He was listed as a one of at least nineteen Vice-Presidents of the Counties Chess Association’s meeting at Malvern starting 7th August 1871.
He played match in 1872 against Edmund Thorold, who gave odds of the move. Thorold won 7-1.
When Joseph Blackburne visited Sheffield in 1873, George played an Evans Gambit against him in one of three simultaneous games played by Blackburne at Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club on Tuesday 18th February. George won!
He is assumed to have been the G. Cutler who played at 11th Counties Chess Association meeting, at Leamington, 1881, at which time he was living in Milverton, Warwickshire. He finished 7th out of ten players, with 3½ points out of 8 with one game unplayed.
Other Chess-Playing Cutlers
There was a George William Cutler (born 1844/45 Christchurch, Hampshire, died November 1927 at Epsom), who was a co-founder of the Devon County Chess Association with the Rev. Henry Bremridge and others.
[R.H. Jones wrote an article about him. http://www.keverelchess.com/tag/exeter-chess-club/ ]
There was a London chess-player called C. G. Cutler was a 4th-class player of the City of London Chess Club, who was mentioned in Chess Player's Chronicle 1881. This latter Cutler was probably the one who lost to Blackburne in London in 1885.
1. Sheffield Collegiate School 1836-1885, a Biographical Register; Peter John Wallis; (hand-typed copies) [Sheffield LSL]
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
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