Yorkshire Chess History
Samuel Newham (junior) was a son of Samuel Newham and Elizabeth Newham of what the Chess Player’s Chronicle called “Walford, Notts.” and was probably Wilford, which is a locality near the Nottingham boundary with West Bridgford, on the bank of the Trent.
Bailey's Western & Midland Directory, 1783-84 (p. 289), listed Samuel Newham, presumably our man’s father, as “manufacturer of hose in general” in the Nottingham section.
A Universal British Directory, 1791-98, listed Newham and Cartwright, hosiers, in the Nottingham section. This Newham sounds like Samuel senior.
Samuel Newham, junior, was born on 24th June 1796, one assumes at Wilford, and was baptised on 21st July 1796, at Independents’ Meeting House on Castlegate, Nottingham. (The original Meeting House seems to have been replaced, and there are now premises dating from 1863, according to the façade.)
Sutton’s Nottingham Directory, 1815, listed Mrs. Newham at Standard Hill, just north of the site of Nottingham castle, but it lists no other Newhams. This may have been our man’s widowed mother, and if so, then our man may have been living with her, thus not being listed in his own right.
Samuel Newham was closely involved with Nottingham’s Subscription Library which was established in 1816 and occupied Bromley House in Angel Row, for over 50 years. He was a subscriber from 28th March 1817 to 6th November 1820, then 2nd January 1826 to, allegedly, April 1876, though he’d be dead by then. (Why there was an apparent lapse of five years is unclear.) He served on the committee from 1829 to 1875. He was appointed secretary on 7th March 1831 after the death of John Pearson, holding the post to 24th October 1853, when, due to the death of the Rev. W. Almond, he was elected president, which post he then held to “early 1875” (presumably to his death). The detailed description of his involvement with the subscription library includes his being on the Spiral Staircase sub-committee of 5th January 1857!
Glover's Nottingham Directory, 1825, listed no Newham, seemingly.
In 1827, Nottingham Chess Club was founded at Bromley House, Nottingham, by Samuel Newham. On 10th anniversary, the club presented him with a silver tray as a mark of their esteem. Inscribed as follows:
Samuel Newham, Esq., from the Members of the Nottingham
Chess Club as a mark of their esteem.
Oct., 18th, 1837.
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Cheshire, Cumberland etc, 1828-29, apparently listed no Newhams in Nottingham.
White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Nottinghamshire, 1832, listed Samuel Newham as secretary of the Subscription Library and News Room. Elsewhere it listed a Samuel Newham as “gent” residing at Mount Vernon (top of Waverley Road). The one attached to the library was our man, but the gentleman at Mount Vernon was probably not.
The subscription library committee decided, at a special meeting held in his absence, on 27th August 1840, to make an award to Samuel Newham in recognition of his nine years’ service a secretary. They gave him a silver inkstand inscribed as follow:
Lascelles & Hagar's Commercial Directory of Nottingham, 1848, listed Samuel Newham as a wine and spirit merchant, with his home at the Park, Nottingham. This latter address confirms that this was our man. It also listed him as still being secretary of the subscription library at Bromley House. It further listed a Samuel Newham at Carlton, perhaps the one earlier at Mount Vernon.
Wright's Nottingham Directory, 1858, listed Samuel Newham, “proprietor”, Ropewalk Street, Park, listing him under “Clergy, Gentry etc” and elsewhere. This would be our man, from the address. He was also listed in the description of the lessons available at the Mechanics’ Institute, under the subject of “Chess”, where he is described as “President”, referring to the fact that he was president of Nottingham Chess Club. It also listed the other Samuel Newham at Carlton.
Nottingham’s Park Estate is a privately owned residential estate occupying what was originally a deer park attached to Nottingham Castle. It was developed significantly for residential purposes by Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne (not Lyme, which is what you’d expect), with whom Samuel Newham was in due course to cross swords in the public interest. The estate has been owned and run since 1985 by a tenants’ association called Nottingham Park Estate Limited.
Samuel Newham had probably lived at Ropewalk Street (presumably what is now called The Ropewalk) back in 1848 and quite likely before, as in about 1849 he wrote a letter (held by Nottingham University) to the then-owner, Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, bewailing the poor condition of the road surface, and asking the Duke to stump up some cash to get it put in good order.
The Post Office Directory of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire, 1855, listed a Samuel Newham among the gentry resident at Carlton-in-Lindrick, as well as S Newham at Carlton, Nottingham (not the same place). Neither was our man.
Wright's Nottingham Directory, 1862, under Bromley House on Angel Row, besides the Subscription Library and other occupants, listed “CHESS CLUB, S Newham, President.” It also listed the Samuel Newham at Carlton.
Other directory references to Nottingham Chess club around this time mentioned not only Samuel Newham as president, but S. R. P. Shilton as secretary. This Shilton was Samuel Richard Parr Shilton, solicitor, St Peter’s Church Side. He was also secretary of Nottingham Horticultural Society.
Samuel Newham was in his day the strongest player in Nottingham and in a wider area of the Midlands generally. He attended the second meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, in November 1841, and the meeting of 1843, where he invited the Yorkshiremen to attend the similar meeting of Nottingham players planned for “December”.
Initially, the YCA seem to have intended to hold their own meeting in 1844, as well as attending the Nottingham meeting, but the Nottingham meeting eventually materialised not in December but in July, so the next YCA meeting was postponed to 1845. Thus the 1844 meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association was in effect held in Nottingham, in that the Yorkshire players attended that meeting instead of having one themselves.
He was a subscriber in 1844 to Robert A. Brown’s book of problems etc.
He attended the YCA meetings of 1847, 1848, and 1850. He himself said that he’d hoped to attend other meetings, but had been unable at the last minute to travel, due to illness.
In 1851 he attended the first chess meeting organised by Arthur Bolland Skipworth, in Caistor, Lincolnshire.
In 1853 he attended the annual soiree of Lincoln chess Club.
In 1862 he attended the meeting of the 1862 British Chess Association.
This is, of course, not a complete list of his chess activities, just a sample.
He died in his home at Park Terrace, Nottingham, on Wednesday 24th March 1875.
The Nottingham and Midland Counties Daily Express of Saturday 27th March 1875, under “Deaths”, reported:
On the 24th instant, at his residence, the Park, Nottingham, after a long illness, age 78, Samuel NEWHAM, Esq., J.P. Friends will please accept this intimation.
The Nottingham Journal of the same day, under “deaths”, said essentially the same thing:
On the 24th inst., at his residence, Nottingham Park, after a long illness, SAMUEL NEWHAM, Esq., J.P., aged 78 years. Friends will please accept this intimation.
He was buried on 29th March 1875 at St. Peter’s, Nottingham. His address quoted in the burial register was Park Terrace. St. Peter’s is in the centre of Nottingham, surrounded by shops. Little remains of its burial ground. No headstones remain standing, though a few, laid flat in the ground, are still legible. More are incorporated into the floor of the church itself. Nothing relating to Samuel Newham, however, is evident in the church or its grounds.
The Huddersfield College Magazine carried a brief obituary.
Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann
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