Yorkshire Chess History



Samuel Benjamin Slack











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1859/60, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hants.



29/01/1955, (Dawlish?), Devon



Non-Chess Life


Samuel Benjamin Slack’s parents were Benjamin Slack (born 1825/26, Basford, Notts.) and Martha Slack (born 1819/20, Chilwell, Notts).  Father Benjamin was in the Royal Navy.  The couple had at least the following two children, both born at Southsea, Hampshire:


Thomas Slack

born 1857/58

Samuel Benjamin Slack

born 1859/60


The birth of Samuel Benjamin Slack was registered in the first quarter of 1860, at Portsea Island, Hants., meaning he was probably born in 1860, but possibly in late 1859.


The 1861 census found parents Benjamin and Martha, with their two sons, living at Alma Terrace, Portsea, Portsmouth, Hants.  Father Benjamin was appears to have been a pay sergeant in the Royal Marine Artillery.


At some time in the next ten years father Benjamin made a career change to being an attendant at an asylum.


The 1871 census found the family of four now living along with Benjamin’s widowed aunt, 79-year-old Childswell-born Martha Baggs, at Brownedge, Sutton, St. Helens, Lancashire.  13-year-old Thomas and 11-year-old Samuel were scholars.


Around 1869, young Samuel got a place at Oxford University.  Also in the period 1871 to 1881, father Benjamin died.


The 1881 census found 61-year-old widowed Martha Slack, an annuitant, and Samuel B. Slack, an Oxford University undergraduate, visiting the Metcalfe household at Holgate Head, Scosthrop [Moor], 5 or 6 miles SE of Settle, North Yorkshire.  (Not “Scosthorp”, which is how Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of Britain, First Edition incorrectly spelt it.)


Samuel presumably graduated from Oxford.  He became a schoolmaster.  An apparent chess reference to him suggests he was living in the Leeds-Bradford area of West Yorkshire in 1883.


The 1891 census found 31-year-old schoolmaster Samuel B. Slack and his mother 71-year-old widowed Martha Slack living at 110 Upperthorpe, Sheffield.


Samuel Benjamin Slack’s residence in Sheffield seems to have stretched at least from 1885 to 1890.  He seems not to be listed in White's Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham, 1901.


He may well have moved to Liverpool, as his marriage to Lillie Ann Levo was registered in the third quarter of 1925, at Liverpool.


He appears to have moved for the final phase of his life to the south coast of Devon.


There was a Canadian farmer of the same name and almost the same age as our man.  There are a number of trips made by a Samuel Benjamin Slack by sea between England and the US; these seem to relate to the Canadian farmer.




Samuel Benjamin Slack of 17 Barton Crescent, Dawlish, Devon, died on 29/01/1955.  The death was registered at Newton Abbot, Devon.  Probate was granted to Lillie Ann Slack.  He left £3,246 4s 1d.




“S. B. Slack” was listed as playing in the 1883 Under-35s v Over-35s at Bradford, suggesting he had taken up his first teaching post in the Leds-Bradford area, and hadn’t at that stage moved to Sheffield.  This “S. B. Slack” could of course have been a different player of the same name.


He played for Sheffield in the Woodhouse Cup in 1885-86, and probably later as well.


He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1886 and 1889.


He played for Yorkshire in the 1889 Lancashire-Yorkshire match, and the 1890 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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