Yorkshire Chess History



William John Clarke Miller











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



31/08/1832, Beer, Devon


23/09/1832, Seaton & Beer, Devon


11/02/1903, Kingswood, nr. Bristol



Non-Chess Life


William John Clarke Miller’s parents were Reuben Miller (born c.1800, Beer, Devon) and Mary Ann Miller (née Clarke, c. 1805, Beer, Devon), who had at least the following four children, most probably all born in Beer:


William John Clarke Miller

born 31/03/1832, Beer

Robert Edwin Miller

born 1834/35

Elizabeth Miller

born 1836/37

Eliza Miller

born 1838/39


The 1841 census found the parents and above four children living on Main Street, Beer.  Father Reuben was by occupation a baker.


William John Clarke Miller was a founder pupil, in 1847, of the West of England Dissenters’ Proprietary School, in Taunton, Somerset.  In time this school became the modern Taunton School.


He is elusive in the 1851 census, as he is the next four censuses.


In 1854, William became a master at the school, leading to a career in teaching which culminated in him becoming a master (some say Vice-Principal) at Huddersfield College in 1861.  He had been able to get an external B.A. Hons. Maths degree from London University while at Taunton.


He married Harriette Emma [maiden name] (born 1831/32, Huddersfield).


His main academic interest was mathematics, and in 1862 he became mathematical editor of the Educational Times.  This publication ran a question and answer section, under our man’s editorship a book called Mathematical Questions with their Solutions from the ‘Educational Times’, published in 1864.


While in Huddersfield our man seems to have been known as “W. J. Miller”, without the “C”.  White’s directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, &c, 1866, in the “Huddersfield College” entry under “Academies” &c. named him as “W. J. Miller, B.A.”  He was the first-named of the “assistants” listed after the Principal, Samuel Sharpe, LL.B.


In October 1872, Huddersfield College started its own magazine, covering the usual things such as sporting activities, school trips and other school-related matters.  William John Clarke Miller was the new magazine’s first editor.


In 1876 our man left teaching, and left Huddersfield, to become registrar of the General Council of Medical Education, which seems to have been something which evolved into the General Medical Council.  He proved to be a much valued medical administrator, still keeping on his mathematical editorship with the Educational Times.  Overall editorship of the Huddersfield College Magazine was taken over by John Watkinson, who hitherto had been just the chess column editor, from July 1876.


Deteriorating health caused him to give up both his jobs in 1897.


The 1901 census our man, now 68 year-old, and his 69-year-old wife, living with his wife’s 58-year-old Huddersfield-born widowed sister, Sophie Sedgwick – all three living on their own means -  and two servants, at “Rookwood”, Moorland Road, Bournemouth.




William John Clarke Miller died, aged 70, on 11/02/1903, at Castle Nursing Home, Kingswood, near Bristol.  Probate was granted to Harriette Emma Miller.  He left £5,529 19s 11d.




When our man because editor of the newly-founded Huddersfield College Magazine, he invited John Watkinson to write a chess column in the new magazine.  Although John Watkinson was the chess editor of the Huddersfield Magazine, the idea of that column, which led in due course to the founding of the British Chess Magazine, is perhaps attributable to William John Clarke Miller.


As a chess-player in Huddersfield he was known as “W. J. Miller” (as in the above-mentioned directory entry), without his third initial, “C”.


Examples of him playing for Huddersfield are the second 1864 Huddersfield v Bradford match, the 1865 Huddersfield-Bradford match, and the 1865 Huddersfield v Sheffield Athenaeum match.  He was an onlooker at the 1867 W Riding v N Riding match.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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

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