Yorkshire Chess History



William Hugh Alexander Mundell











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1846, St Pancras, London




July, 1917, Paddington Infirmary


01/08/1917, Old Brompton Cemetery


Non-Chess Life


The father of William Hugh Alexander Mundell was barrister William Adam Mundell (born 29/09/1815, Leatherhead, Surrey; bap. 23/10/1815, Leatherhead; died 15/07/1875, London), who was 5th son (10th child) of solicitor Alexander Mundell (born 03/02/1768, Musselburgh, Edinburgh; died 19/03/1837, Westminster) and Susanna Mundell (née Champneys, 19/10/1777; 15/08/1846) who had married in 1797.


William Adam Mundell had at least two children:


Henry E Shelley

born 1840/41, Pimlico

John E Shelley

born 1842/43, St Martin’s

Adolphus C Shelley

born 1845/46, St Martin’s

William Hugh Alexander Shelley/Mundell

born 1846, St Pancras, London

Evelyn Mary Shelley/Mundell

born 13/11/1848, St George, Hanover Square


It rather seems as though the parents of the children were not married, but it becomes evident the mother was one Mary Shelley (born 1820/21, Lisbon, Portugal; a British Subject).


The births of Henry, John and Adolphus appear not to have been formally registered as required in law, under either surname, “Mundell” or “Shelley”.  William’s birth, however, was registered under the name “William Hugh Alexander Mundell”, and that of Evelyn (aka “Eve”) was registered under the name “Evelyn Mary Shelley”.  (There appears to have been a convention, adopted by some, whereby a child born out of wedlock took the surname of the parent of the same gender.)


The 1851 census found Mary Shelley, described as “wife” and “married”, but without a husband to hand, living at 2 Sneade(?) Gardens, in the parish of St. George’s, Westminster.   Living with her she had the above four boys (the first three scholars), each with “ditto” below Mary’s surname “Shelley”, and a 35-year-old Leatherhead-born lodger, a barrister at law, by the name of William A Mundell.  There was also a servant, so money was coming from somewhere.  As far as the 1851 census was concerned, any resemblance in appearance between the boys and the lodger was purely coincidental!  Where Eve was at this time is unclear.


On 12/04/1857, more than eight years after her birth, Eve Mary was baptised as “Eve Mary Mundell” at Saint George’s, Hanover Square.  The parents were named in the baptism register (the source for her date of birth) as William Adam and Mary.


The 1861 census found barrister-at-law William A Mundell living at 3 Hans Place, Chelsea, with son “William H. A. Mundell”, daughter “Eve M. Mundell”, a 40-year-old Portugal-born married female boarder called “Mary Blacklock” (Mary Shelley re-invented, married, but again with no declared husband to hand), another boarder, called “Adolphus C. Shelley”, who was clerk to a barrister (presumably William A Mundell), and a servant.


On 23/07/1866 William Adam Mundell was appointed a Queen’s Councillor.


Eve Mary Mundell married John Robert Aitchison in 1868, in the St George’s, Hanover Square registration district.


This Mundell family is elusive in the 1871 census.


Father William Adam Mundell QC, of the Middle Temple of the City of London, died at the age of 59 on 15/07/1875 at his home, 158 Buckingham Palace Road, London, and was buried on 20/07/1875 at Brompton Cemetery (click here for image of grave on external website).  This address was at the time the home also of William Hugh Alexander Mundell, according to probate records.  This burial was the 3rd interment in that particular grave (plot 80732 on the cemetery plan, no. 78974 in the burial register), posing the question as to who the previous two deceased were.  (Mary, Henry, John?)  Ownership of the plot, previously owned by his father, was transferred to William Hugh Alexander Mundell on 29/09/1875.


William Hugh Alexander Mundell is again elusive in the 1881 census.


The 1891 census found 44-year-old chiropodist William H. A. Mundell living at 135 Holland Road, Kensington.  Living with him were his now-divorced sister “Mary Aitchison”, now without her “Eve(elyn)” first name, and two servants.


The 1901 census found 54-year-old chiropodist William H. A. Mundell, living alone, except for a housekeeper, at 57 New Bond Street, in the parish of St. George’s, Hanover Square.


The 1911 census found “55”-year-old chiropodist William Hugh Alexander Mundell now living not in his own private residence but as one of four boarders in the household of widowed Elizabeth Benson and three of her children, at 51 Thorngate Road, Paddington.




William Hugh Alexander Mundell died in very late July, 1917, at Paddington Infirmary, so must have been taken quite seriously ill, one way or another.  He was buried on 01/08/1917, at Old Brompton Cemetery, by the Rev. H. C. Bender, in the same grave as his father.




““W. H. A. Mundell” commonly featured in reports on London Chess in the late 1880s and in the 1890s.  There are earlier references to ”Mundell”, as early as 1862, and one might wonder whether earlier references to “Mundell” without initials might have been to his father, William Adam Mundell.  However, Adairs Maryport Advertiser of 11/07/1862, and doubtless other newspapers, described how Adolf Anderssen, in a slack period in proceedings at the 1862 British Chess Association Congress in London, had taken on seven players simultaneously, giving each odds of a knight; it named one of the seven opponents as “W. H. A. Mundell”.  W. H. A. Mundell had not yet reached the age of 16.  The book The Chess Congress of 1862 mentions “W. H. Mundell, jnr.” in the same context, and the need to specify “jnr.” perhaps was due to his father being a known if modest player in London chess circles, though it may merely have been that his father was known professionally in the city.  Maybe the son got the chance to play Anderssen due to his father’s influence, as any random 15-year-old off the street would not get that chance..


In the 1870s and 1880s, he played inter-club team chess in London, and engaged in clubs’ internal individual events.


He played in both the North v South of England matches, of 1893 and 1894.





Copyright © 2020 Stephen John Mann

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

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