Yorkshire Chess History



Dacre Herbert Smyth











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



from 1865 to 1871, Calcutta, India


1938, Don Valley


Non-Chess Life


Next to nothing is immediately evident regarding the early life of Dacre Herbert Smith.  The 1891 census says he was born in Calcutta, India.  In the 1911 census he himself confirmed he was born in India, but said he didn’t know in which state or province.  This suggests he was born to a British soldier in India.  His year of birth, as implied by his age stated in various documents, is somewhat variable:

in 1891 the census gave age as 25 (so born 1865/66),

in 1901 the census gave 31 (so born 1869/70),

in 1911 the census gave 40 (so born 1870/71), and

in 1938 the age at death was given as 72 (so born 1865/66).

Taking 31 as perhaps a rounding up to an imminent 31st birthday in 1891, and the 40 in 1911 as accurate, we can guess he was born in April 1870. Another viewpoint is that in 1891 he didn’t feel a need to understate his age, and that in old age people got proud of their advanced age, so maybe 1865/66 is a better estimate, taking the 1901 and 1911 ages as cosmetic understatements.


It may be that he was sent to school in England, and then sought to make his way on his own.


Records show that from 1890 to 1893, he was occupying a 2nd-floor furnished room in Mrs. Farmer’s house at 1 Rillington Place, Kensington, London, at a rent of 5/- per week.


The 1891 census corroborated this, showing him as one of four people lodging with widowed Jane farmer and her son at the said address.  Dacre was a shorthand clerk.


The 1901 census tells us nothing of his place of residence as Dacre Herbert Smyth was visiting the household of solicitor Alfred M Sharp, at Queen Street, Epworth, Lincs.  One son, Alfred P Sharp was also a solicitor.  Dacre was now more specifically a solicitor’s clerk, wherein doubtless lay the reason for the visit to Epworth.  Was he applying for a position as a trainee?


The 1911 census found Dacre living on his own at 14 Helena Street, Mexborough.  He was now a solicitor.




D C Smyth played for Sheffield in the Woodhouse Cup at least over the period 1905 to 1908.  He also played for Yorkshire in the 1908 match against Lancashire.




Dacre Herbert Smyth died in 1938, the death being registered during the third quarter in the Don Valley district, which includes Mexborough and other places between Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley.  His age was given as 72 (implying his year of birth was 1865/66).







Copyright © 2018 Stephen John Mann

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

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