Yorkshire Chess History



Alfred Denham and Leonard Denham











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site





1869, Huddersfield

1875, Huddersfield




21/04/1939, Huddersfield

24/12/1950, Huddersfield


29/12/1905, Lawnswood, Leeds


24/04/1839, Edgerton Cemetery

09/01/1951, Edgerton Cemetery
(burial of cremation remains)


Non-Chess Life


Alfred and Leonard Denham’s grandparents were Charles Denham (born 1817/18, Rastrick) and Sarah Ann Denham (born1819/20, Paddock, about a mile west of Huddersfield town centre).  They had at least the following three children:


John Charles Denham

born 30/09/1844, Rastrick

William Denham

born 1849/50, Rastrick

Jeremiah Denham

born 1857/58, Milnsbridge


The 1861 census found the parents and three sons living at the Tan Yard, Linthwaite.  Charles was a master currier and tanner, employing 7 men and 6 boys.  John Charles Denham, the chess-players’ father, was a tanner, William Denham was a currier, and 3-year-old Jeremiah was a “play boy”.  Also in the household were three apprentices, two of whom were Bottomley Denham (born 1841/42, High Town, Leeds) and another Jeremiah Denham (born 1841/42, Rastrick), both presumably being cousins or such like of the other boys.


The Huddersfield Directory and Year Book of 1867 listed Charles Denham, wholesale and retail tanner and currier, leather and mill straps warehouse, and leather cutter, Packhorse Yard; tannery and home Milnsbridge.  It seems Milnsbridge was within the parish of Linthwaite.


Packhorse Yard was off King Street, and has given its name to “Packhorse Shopping”, a modern shopping arcade running from King Street through to Market Square.


By about 1868, John Charles Denham had taken a wife called Arabella (born 1848/49, Huddersfield).  This couple had at least the following seven children:


Alfred Denham

born 1869, Linthwaite

Annis Denham

born Dec/Jan 1870/71, Linthwaite

May Denham

born 1873/74, Linthwaite

Leonard Denham

born 1875/76, Linthwaite

Thomas Denham

born Jun/Jul 1880 Linthwaite

Maggie Denham

born 1884/85, Huddersfield

Hubert Denham

born 1887/88, Huddersfield


The birth of Alfred Denham was registered in the third quarter of 1869, at Huddersfield.


The 1871 census found John Charles Denham, wife Arabella, and children Alfred and Annis, living at Elm Cottage, Linthwaite.  Father John was a “tanner, artisan”.  Annis was three months old.


The birth of Leonard Denham was registered in the third quarter of 1875, at Huddersfield.


Control of the leather business seems to have changed around 1880.  The Huddersfield and District Directory of 1879 had still listed the leather business under the name of Charles Denham, but Kelly’s Directory of Huddersfield and Neighbourhood, 1881, listed Denham Brothers, currier, Packhorse Yard, though quite who the eponymous brothers were, initially, is unclear – John and William and/or Jeremiah, or Alfred and Leonard.


In 1881 the family of two parents and first five children still lived at Elm Cottage, Linthwaite, which is about four-and a-half miles WSW of the centre of Huddersfield, just off the Manchester Road.  Father John was a currier and leather merchant.


By 1891 the family, now with all the above seven children, living at 12 Portland Street, Huddersfield.  Portland Street joins New North Road, where a number of Huddersfield Chess Club lived over the years, and Trinity Street.  Father John was still a currier and leather merchant.  Alfred and Leonard were now currier and leather merchant’s assistants (presumably working for their father).  Thomas and Maggie were scholars.


Slater’s Huddersfield directory of 1891 listed, in addition to the usual entry for Denham Brothers at Packhorse Yard, William Denham, leather merchant, of Denham Brothers, residing at Ebor Terrace, Newsome Road, Huddersfield.


In 1891 Alfred married Mary Ann Boothroyd, the marriage being registered in the second quarter, at Huddersfield.  The couple went on to have at least the following three children, all born in Huddersfield:


Herbert Denham

born 1891/92

Leonard Denham

born 1902/03

John Allan Denham

born 1908/09


Sister Annis Denham married A. A. Henderson around the 1890s.


The 1901 census found Alfred, his wife and son Herbert living at 83 Norman Road, in the Fartown area of Huddersfield.  Alfred was a leather salesman.  Alfred’s place of birth was given as Milnsbridge, not so far out along the Manchester Road as is Linthwaite.  This is given later for younger children, suggesting that one could be construed as part of the other.


Alfred’s brother Leonard was elusive in the 1901 census, but he would appear to have been living with his parents, and seems never to have married.


The 1911 census Alfred’s family, now with three sons, still living at 83 Norman Road.  Alfred was still a salesman in a leather warehouse.  Herbert was now a belt-maker.  Son Leonard was a scholar.


Meanwhile the 1911 census showed Alfred’s parents, with May, Leonard, Thomas and Hubert, living at 16 New North Road, Huddersfield.  Father John was still a leather merchant.  Leonard was a leather salesman, Thomas a copperplate engraver, and Hubert a mechanic’s fitter.  The birth place of May, Leonard and Thomas was given as Milnsbridge rather than Linthwaite.


Alfred and Leonard’s mother, Arabella Denham, died aged 66 on 20/06/1915, and was interred in a family grave in Edgerton Cemetery, Huddersfield.


Their sister, Annis Henderson, died aged 48 on 12/08/1919 and was interred in the same grave, as was her husband A. A. Henderson after he died aged 57 on 15/01/1929.


Alfred’s wife, Mary Ann Denham, died aged 67 on 19/10/1935, and was interred in a grave in front of that of her mother-in-law.


Father John Charles Denham, of 23 Lawrence Road, Gledholt, Huddersfield, died 24/05/1937, aged 92, and was interred in the family grave at Huddersfield at Edgerton Cemetery.  Probate was granted to Alfred and Leonard Denham, leather merchants.  His effects totalled £47.323 1s 1d.




Alfred Denham of 5 Gledholt Road, Huddersfield, died on 21/04/1939, aged 69.  He thus outlived his father by less than two years, dying at a much younger age.  The Huddersfield Daily Examiner of Saturday 22/04/1935 carried under “Deaths” a notice which made erroneous reference to “Annis” as being his wife:

DENHAM.- On April 21, at 5, Gledholt Road, Huddersfield, Alfred, the beloved husband of Annis Denham, aged 69 years.  Interment at Edgerton Cemetery, on Monday April 24th, at 3.15. p.m.  Friends please accept this (the only) intimation.


He was interred in the same grave as his wife on 24/04/1839 by the Rev. J. B. Middlebrook.  Probate was granted to Herbert Denham, leather works manager, Leonard Denham, designer, and John Allan Denham, bank clerk.  His effects totalled £13,820 2s 4d.


Leonard Denham of 23 Lawrence Road, Huddersfield, died on 24/12/1950, aged 75.  The Huddersfield Daily Examiner of Wednesday 27/12/1950 carried under “Deaths” the following:

DENHAM.- On December 24, at 23, Lawrence Road, Marsh, aged 75 years, Leonard Denham, late Alderman of this town and late senior partner of Messrs. Denham Bros., Pack Horse Yard, Huddersfield.  Service at New North Road Baptist Chapel, Friday, 11 a.m., followed by cremation at Lawnswood, 12.30p.m.  No flowers.


After a service at New North Road Baptist Church at 11 a. m. on Friday 29/12/1905, he was cremated at Lawnswood, Leeds, at 12.30 p.m.  His cremation remains were interred in his parents’ grave on 09/01/1951.  Probate was granted to Hubert Denham, engineer, May Denham, spinster, and Thomas Philip Downey, solicitor.  His effects totalled £24,917 4s 2d.


(Click here for images of the two Denham graves.)




“A. Denham” and “L. Denham” frequently appeared in matches for Huddersfield and Yorkshire.  From 1899 to 1912 (and probably later) the two usually both played, in which case Alfred was usually on a higher board than Leonard, though in February and March 1907, when the pair were top two boards, Leonard played on the higher board.


Alfred won the YCA’s Kitchen Memorial prize, for individual correspondence play, in 1904-5.


Leonard was for a time president of Huddersfield Chess Club.  (See, for instance, 1909 Start of Season at Huddersfield.)





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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