Yorkshire Chess History



Rutherfords of Liverpool











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


William Watson Rutherford


Charles Henry Rutherford


Arthur Rutherford


1852/53, Liverpool



29/12/1858, Waterloo



04/01/1866, Waterloo


17/04/1853, St. John the Baptist, Toxteth



23/02/1859, St. Peter, Liverpool





03/12/1927, Kensington, Middlesex



17/02/1930, Liverpool



1958, Surrey










Non-Chess Life, and Death


Timber merchant William Rutherford (born 1826/27, Liverpool) and his wife Jane Rutherford had at least the following children, of whom at least the above three were chess-players:


William Watson Rutherford

born 1852/53, Liverpool


Ellen Margaret Rutherford

born 1854/55, Waterloo


Robert Rutherford

born 1856/57, Waterloo


Charles Henry Rutherford

born 29/12/1858, Waterloo


John Rutherford

born 1860, Waterloo


Alfred Rutherford

born 26/08/1862, Waterloo


Emma Rutherford

born 1864, Waterloo


Arthur Rutherford

born 04/01/1866, Waterloo


Edith Jane Rutherford

born 1868, Waterloo


Alice Maud Rutherford

born 1869, Waterloo


* Robert Rutherford died early, apparently in 1865.  Ellen Margaret Rutherford died aged 13 in 1868.


“Dr. V H Rutherford” who played in the 1st Class Open section at the 1927 Kent County Chess Association Easter Congress at Tunbridge Wells in April 1927 was no tangible relation, being Vickerman Henzell Rutherford (born 1860, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; son of John Hunter Rutherford of N-on-T; married 1893 Bromley; died 1934, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, when his residence was at 23 Cumberland Terrace, Regents Park, London) who was a physician and dermatologist.


William Watson Rutherford


The date of birth of William Watson Rutherford is usually quoted (and re-quoted) as 1853, perhaps based in the registration of the birth occurring in the first quarter of 1853, which could, however, easily relate to a birth in the later part of December 1852.  His ages stated in censuses and his given age at death imply he was born at some time from 04/12/1852 to 02/04/1853.


Within the family he appears to have been known as “Will”, presumably as distinct from “William”, who would be his father.  This idea is based on the 1871 census wherein he is “Will Rutherford”.  Outside the family he seems to have been known as “Watson” rather than William, as evidenced by the grave inscription for his daughter Prudence Hero Rutherford and daughter Enid Rutherford, “eldest daughter of W. Watson and Elspeth R. Rutherford”.


The 1861 census found him and his family living at 12 Adelaide Terrace, Great Crosby.


In the 1871 census he was an articled solicitor’s clerk, living with his parents and seven siblings, at Fern Villa, Victoria Terrace, Great Crosby.


In 1879 the banns of marriage between William Watson Rutherford and Peru-born Elspeth Rose Strachan (a British subject, died 11/09/1914) were read on 16th, 23rd and 30th of March 1879, at St. Helen, Sefton, Great Crosby, and soon after, presumably in April, the two were married, and had the following children:


Enid Rutherford

born 1879/80, Great Crosby; died (as Enid Hay) 13/06/1911

John Hughes Rutherford

born 31/10/1887, Liverpool

Elspeth M Rutherford

born 1889, Liverpool

Freda Janet Rutherford

born 1892, Liverpool

Prudence Hero Rutherford

born 1895/96, Liverpool; died 21/03/1908


The middle name of the eldest son was “Hughes” in the birth registration index, and “Hughes” is what William Watson Rutherford himself put in his 1911 census return.  However, “Hughes” got changed to “Hugo” in 1928.  The Westminster Gazette of 25/01/1928 carried a notice saying John Hughes Rutherford had changed his name to John Hugo Rutherford.  John Hughes Rutherford named a daughter “Prudence Hero Rutherford”, presumably in memory of his short-lived little sister.


The 1881 census found William and Elspeth living at Mayfield, Rossett Road, Great Crosby.  William was now a solicitor.


William is elusive in the 1891 census.


William was


The 1901 census found William and family living at Heathfield, Brereton Avenue, Wavertree.


By the time of the 1911 census, William had lost two daughters and his wife, all buried in Liverpool in the same grave as that to which he in time would be committed.  The 1911 census thus found widowed William living at 37 St. Stephen’s Mansions, Westminster, with son John Hughes Rutherford, the two both being solicitors.


In public life, outside being a solicitor, he was a member of Liverpool city council from 1895 to 1912; Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1902-03 (with a gap after he resigned to stand for parliament, being soon after re-elected.); he was a Conservative MP, for Liverpool’s West Derby constituency from 1903 to 1918, and for Liverpool’s Edge Hill constituency from 1919 to 1923.  He was knighted in the 1918 New Year’s Honours List, and created a baronet on 24/07/1923.


Sir William Watson Rutherford, Baronet, of 43 Castle Street, Liverpool, and 48 Cannon Street, London, died on 03/12/1927, at 49 Stanhope Gardens, Kensington, Middlesex.  His effects, after being re-sworn twice, totalled £20,615 11s 3d.  At his death, son John Hugo Rutherford succeeded to the baronetcy.  Probate was granted to Sir John Hugo Rutherford, 2nd Baronet (originally John Hughes Rutherford) on 03/03/1928.


Charles Henry Rutherford


Charles Henry Rutherford’s date of birth, 29/12/1858, was conveniently recorded in the margin of the baptism register, by the record of his baptism.


The 1861 census found him and his family living at 12 Adelaide Terrace, Great Crosby


In the 1871 census he was a scholar, living with his parents and seven siblings, at Fern Villa, Victoria Terrace, Great Crosby.


The 1881 census found him still a scholar, living with his parents and some siblings at Fern Villa, Victoria Terrace, Great Crosby.


In 1893, in Rochdale, Charles married Ada Jane Watson (born 1860/61, Rochdale).  Ada’s surname hints at a connection with William Watson Rutherford’s middle name.  The couple had the following children:


Gladys Rutherford

born 1894, Toxteth Park, Liverpool

Ethel Beatrice Rutherford

born 1896, Toxteth Park, Liverpool

Kathleen Jane Rutherford

born Apr/May 1900, Toxteth Park, Liverpool

Ellen Joyce Rutherford

born Apr/May 1900, Toxteth Park, Liverpool


A fifth child who died young is indicated by the 1911 census (5 children, 4 living, 1 deceased).  This was probably Robert Rutherford (born 1895, Toxteth Park).  If so, then he must have been named in memory of his short-lived uncle Robert.  Uncertainty of identity stems from lack of a matching registration of a death.


The 1891 census found him living with parents and some siblings at 24 Victoria Road, Great Crosby.  He was now an attorney at law.


The 1901 census found Charles and family living at 2 Bentley Road, Toxteth Park.  He was now described as a solicitor.


The 1911 census found solititor Charles and family living at Parkfield House, 2 Parkfield Road, Liverpool.


Charles Henry Rutherford, of 2 Parkfield Road, Liverpool, and 43 Castle Street, Liverpool, died on 17/02/1930, at 2 Parkfield Road, Liverpool.


Arthur Rutherford


Arthur’s date of birth was given as 04/01/1866 in the 1939 Register.


In the 1871 census he was a scholar, living with his parents and seven siblings, at Fern Villa, Victoria Terrace, Great Crosby.


The 1881 census found him still a scholar, living with his parents and some siblings still at Fern Villa, Victoria Terrace, Great Crosby.


Arthur seems to have been the only member of the family it go to “Oxbridge”, though John went to London University.  Arthur went to Worcester College Oxford, where he matriculated on 19/10/1882, at the early age of 16, was a scholar at Brasenose College from 1883-85, an exhibitioner in 1885, finally getting a B.A. in 1886.  (An on-line version of Alumni Oxonienses incorrectly says he was 5th son of father William, whereas he was the 6th, though he was the 5th then still living.)


The 1891 census found him living with parents and some siblings at 24 Victoria Road, Great Crosby.  He was now a barrister at law.


In 1898, in West Derby, Arthur married Ada Emily Quiggin (born 1860, Liverpool).  The couple had the following children:


Margaret Esther Rutherford

born 1899, Great Crosby

Elisabeth (with “s”) Rutherford

born 1901, Great Crosby


The 1901 census found solicitor Arthur, wife Ada, the two children (the second as yet unnamed), and Ada’s widowed Manx-born mother living at 181 Moor Lane, Great Crosby.


By 1911, Arthur had jumped county to Cheshire, and the 1911 census found his family living at Hadfield, Drummond Road, Hoylake.  Arthur was still a solicitor.


The 1939 Register found widowed retired solicitor Arthur living at 40 Amberley Gardens, Stoneleigh (near Epsom, Surrey).


Arthur Rutherford died in the Mid and East Surrey registration district in 1958.




Initial chess references are to “Mr. Rutherford”, who to the mid-1880s can be assumed to mean W W Rutherford.  Thus we find “Mr. Rutherford” playing for Liverpool versus Manchester (an annual match) on 16/03/1878 at Manchester, and on 09/12/1882 at Liverpool.


W W Rutherford occupied various official posts within Liverpool Chess Club, at various times, such as librarian, vice-president and then president for the first time in 1884.


In 1884 he presented the Rutherford Cup”, valued at 10 guineas, for competition in the Liverpool Chess Club individual championship.  In the first year of the competition, round 1 (17th to 29th March 1884) the saw all three brothers in action, being differentiated as “W W Rutherford”, “T Ruthford” (presumably meaning C Rutherford) and “A Rutherford”.  Of the three, only Arthur made to round 2.


In 1885, Arthur started representing Oxford University, both in the annual Oxford v Cambridge matches and in matches against other clubs, his first such match perhaps being an Oxford University v 4th Class of the City of London Chess Club on 07/11/1885.


On 05/12/1885, Arthur played for his university against Southampton, scoring a win and a draw.


“Mr. Rutherford” was still being recorded in chess results in 1885, and can be assumed to have been William, as he was evidently the strongest player of the three, and so would be the one representing Liverpool in inter-club matches.


On 20/02/1886 “Rutherford” (presumably William) was one of the Liverpool players involved in one of two consultation games played by telephone between Liverpool and Manchester.


Arthur made his debut for Oxford University against Cambridge on 01/04/1886, when he won his single game on board 5.  (Some boards managed 2 games.)  This looks like his only appearance in such an intervarsity match.


On 07/07/1888, Liverpool Chess Club visited Glasgow Chess Club at Glasgow Athenaeum Club, and their team included “W W Rutherford” and “A Rutherford”.  This match seemingly turned into an annual one.


On 27/08/1888, the Liverpool team which travelled to play Manchester included “W W Rutherford” and “A Rutherford”.


When on 02/11/1889 Glasgow Chess Club visited Liverpool Chess Club, the Liverpool team once again included “W W Rutherford” and “A Rutherford”.


On 18/01/1890, “C H Rutherford” represented Liverpool 2nd team in a drawn match against the Cheshire County Chess Association, losing to W Dod.


In 1891, Arthur played a match with Dr. Blomberg of Southport (about 15 miles north of Liverpool), at Liverpool Chess Club, probably in January and February, resulted in a win for Dr. Blomberg by 5½-3½.


William and Arthur both played in the 1893 North v South match.


Arthur won the Liverpool CC championship in 1895 (and possibly other years as well).


When Glasgow travelled to Liverpool for the annual match on 14/03/1903, the Liverpool team included both “W W Rutherford, M.P. (Lord Mayor)” and “A Rutherford”, but it is interesting to note that Arthur was now playing 4 boards higher than William, whereas in earlier years he had been typically two boards or so lower.  Besides William in his civic and chess capacities, and wife Elspeth as Lady Mayoress, also recorded as present at the post-match luncheon were “C H Rutherford” and “Miss Rutherford”, the latter probably being William and Elspeth’s eldest daughter Enid.


Work as an MP, and simply age, are likely to have made William drop off the chess radar.  Arthur, on the other hand, was younger and also longer-lived.  The Chess Club at Nantwich in Cheshire was formed in November 1947 with “A Rutherford” as president, who was still president in 1949 and quite possibly for a while after that.  Whether this was the above Arthur Rutherford is not clear, though his previous residence in Hoylake, Cheshire, suggests it might have been he.






Copyright © 2020 Stephen John Mann

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

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