Yorkshire Chess History



Oliver North











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1844/45, Bradford


30/09/1855, St. James’s, Bradford


18/01/1933, Baildon


21/01/1933, St. Paul’s, Shipley


Identity of the Chess-Player


“O. North” was a common enough name in Yorkshire chess results at one time.  Whilst “North” is a common surname, the initial “O” combined with “North” is rare, with only this Oliver North as a viable candidate for the identity of the chess-player.


Non-Chess Life


The parents of Oliver North were John North (born 1819/20, Huddersfield) and Selina North (born 1823/24, Bradford), who had at least the following eight children:


Oliver North

born 1844/45

Arthur North

born 1848/49

Herbert North

born 1851/52

Frederick North

born 1855/56

John Victor North

born 1858/59

Francis Philip North

born 1861/62

Selina Kate North

born 1864/65


The 1851 census found the parents and first two of the above children living at 152 Manchester Road, Horton, Bradford.  With them were also living John’s widowed mother, Hannah Harling (born 1884/85, Bury, Lancs. – presumably married twice), John’s 28-year-old Huddersfield-born unmarried sister, Martha North, and John’s 1-year-old Bradford-born niece, Emily North, who one can only suppose was Martha’s daughter.  Father John was a tailor.  Oliver was a scholar.


Entry 360 in the baptism register of St. James’s, Bradford, records the baptism on 30/09/1855, by H. J. Bayfield(?), of Oliver North, son of John North, tailor, and Selina North, of Horton, Bradford.  Unfortunately, the baptism register didn’t record the date of birth.


The 1861 census found parents John and Selina living with the first five of the above children at 276 Manchester Road, Horton, Bradford.  Father John was now a master tailor.  16-year-old Oliver was a stuff and cotton warehouse boy.  Arthur was an errand boy in a sharebroker’s office.


The 1871 census found parents and first seven children living at 3 St. James Square, Horton, Bradford.  Father John was still a master tailor.  Oliver was now a stuff warehouseman.  Arthur was bookkeeper to a machine maker.  Herbert was a general clerk to a solicitor.  The other five children were scholars.


The marriage of Oliver North to Jessie France (daughter of Samuel and Isabella France, baptised 29/01/1868) was registered in the second quarter of 1871, at Bradford.  The couple had the following three children;


Isabelle Selina North

born 1872/73

Philip North

born 1874/75


The death of Jessie North, at the age of 25, was registered in the first quarter of 1876, at Bradford, perhaps in childbirth.


The 1881 census found Oliver’s parents, all seven offspring, and Oliver’s daughter Isabelle (where was Philip?), living still at 3 St. James Square, Horton, Bradford.  Father John was still a tailor.  36-year-old Oliver was a stuff merchant’s clerk.  Herbert was a colliery clerk.  Frederick was a stuff merchant’s clerk.  John Victor was a banker’s clerk.  Francis and Selina junior were pupil teachers.  Isabelle was a scholar.


The marriage of Oliver North to Margaret Julia Milligan, his second wife, was registered in the third quarter of 1887, at Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield.  The couple went on to have at least the following six children:


John North

born 1888/89, Bradford

Jessie North

born 1889/90, Upper Holloway

Margaret North

born 1892/93, Bradford

Marian North

born 1893/94, Bradford

Roger North

born 1895/96, Bradford

Geoffrey North

born 1898/99, Baildon


The birthplaces of the children suggest the couple may have spent a short while in Holloway, but they settled in Bradford.


The 1891 census found Oliver and Margaret living at 19 Cunliffe Terrace, Manningham, Bradford, with children John and Jesse, Oliver’s unmarried sister, Isabelle, Oliver’s son by his first wife, Philip, and Margaret’s unmarried sister, Phoebe Milligan.  Oliver was a merchant’s clerk.  Isabel was a pupil teacher at a board school.  Philip was a student teacher at a grammar school.  Phoebe was living on her own means.


In 1897, give or take a year or two, the family moved out of Bradford to Baildon.  The 1901 census found the parents and all six children living in Kirklands Road, Baildon.  Oliver was now a stuff merchant in his own right.


The death of John North, Oliver’s father, aged 78, was registered in the second quarter of 1901, at Bradford.


Oliver’s mother, Selina North, of 39 Woodview, Manningham, widow, died on 30/04/1910.  Administration was granted to Selina Kate North, spinster.  The effects totalled £953 15s.


The 1911 census found the parents and six children had removed to The Close, Low Baildon, Baildon.  Oliver was still a stuff merchant.  Jessie and Margaret were assistant teachers.  Roger and Geoffrey were scholars.


Oliver’s wife, Margaret Julia North, of The Close, Low Baildon, near Shipley, died on 23/03/1921.  Probate was granted to Oliver North, retired stuff merchant.  She left effects of £1,705 13s 4d.




Oliver North, of The Close, Baildon, died aged 87, on 18/01/1933.


Oliver North, of The Close, Low Baildon, Baildon, was buried on 21/01/1933, at St. Paul’s, Shipley, by the Rev. P. Anderson, vicar of Baildon.


Probate was granted to John North, clerk, and Jessie North, spinster.  He left £2,980 12s 5d.




The “Mr. North” playing for Bradford in the 1877 Leeds-Bradford match was presumably our man.


He played for the Over-35s in the 1883 Under-35s v Over-35s match.


He played on board 80 of the 1883 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.


He played for Bradford in the Woodhouse Cup match between Bradford and Leeds in 1886 and in the Sheffield-Bradford 1886 Woodhouse Cup match.


He played in the Class B section of the 1st annual meeting of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, in 1886.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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