Yorkshire Chess History



Arthur Geoffrey Sunderland











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



23/02/1918, Leeds




first half of 1984, Leeds




Identity of the Chess-Player


“Geoff” Sunderland, as he was known to chess-players, was Yorkshire Chess Association secretary for some years up to 1982 or 1983.  His address as secretary was occupied by members of his family for about 85 years, and serves along with the company name “Bastow and Sunderland” to securely tie together different pieces of “Sunderland” information.


Non-Chess Life


Geoff Sunderland’s grandfather was James Smith Sunderland born late 1844, in Holbeck, Leeds.  Jas. S. Sunderland married Jane (born 1839/40, Beverley, maiden name?) in Leeds in 1870.  Herbert Sunderland was born to them in Leeds on 25/12/1877 (Christmas day).


In 1881, James, wife Jane, and their 3-year-old son Herbert lived at 5 Warwick Place, Leeds.  Jas. Smith Sunderland was a warehouseman, but presumably in a managerial capacity as the household included a domestic servant.


In 1901, family lived at 4 Lyddon Terrace, Leeds.  James was now a boarding house keeper (but the boarding house was not at that address).  23-year-old Herbert was a draper’s clerk.  They had a domestic servant.


In 1904, a “Herbert Sunderland” married Emma Jane Bailey in Leeds, but this was seemingly a different Leeds-born Herbert Sunderland.  In 1910 Emma Jane Sunderland died at Tadcaster, age 32.


The Sunderlands are elusive in the 1911 census.


In Kelly’s Leeds directory dated 1912, a Herbert Sunderland, engineer, crops up at 2 Abbey Lane, Kirkstall, but this appears not to be Geoff Sunderland’s father, but was perhaps he who married Emma Jane Bailey.  “Our” Herbert was possibly still at Lyddon Terrace, with his parents.


Kelly’s Leeds Directory dated 1913 listed Herbert Sunderland, to-be father of Geoff Sunderland, now 36 years old, at Manston Gardens, Crossgates, Leeds.  (It also still listed the other Herbert Sunderland, in Kirkstall: one reason they are assumed to be two distinct people.)


It seems the houses at Manston Gardens, Leeds, were built around 1912, as that road is not listed in Kelly’s Leeds directory dated 1912, but it crops up in directories dated 1913 onwards.  The houses were unnumbered in the directories until about 1921, at which point the Sunderland home became number 23 Manston Gardens.  This house was to remain in the Sunderland family until 1997 – about 85 years in all.


In the latter part of 1915, in Leeds, Herbert Sunderland married Hilda Broadley Wilson (born 24/04/1886).


Arthur Geoffrey Sunderland was born to Herbert and Hilda on 23/02/1918, Leeds, quite possibly at (23) Manston Gardens.


At this time, Mike Haygarth’s grandfather, Rhodes Haygarth, lived and practised medicine at 15 Austhorpe Road, Crossgates, Leeds, within about half a mile of the Sunderland home, hence he may have been their doctor (if they had one in those pre-NHS days).


Around 1921, Herbert Sunderland evidently entered into partnership with a Lionel Holdsworth, trading as Sunderland and Holdsworth, coal and coke merchants, at 21 Great Wilson Street, Leeds.  Kelly’s Leeds directory of 1920 listed Lionel Holdsworth trading on his own at that address, though it’s possible Herbert was employed by him at that stage.  The subsequent 1921 directory listed the business as “Sunderland and Holdsworth”, Herbert Sunderland of 23 Manston Gardens being linked to the firm in his personal entry.


For some reason Herbert Sunderland switched his line of business, as the 1925 directory recorded him as a partner in Bastow and Sunderland, woollen merchants, across the road at 26 Great Wilson Street.  Thus Herbert was back in the drapery/woollen business.  The identity of “Bastow” isn’t too clear.


The 1927 directory revealed that Bastow and Sunderland had moved to 169a Briggate, Leeds (tel. Leeds 21078).


It seems (Arthur) Geoffrey Sunderland joined his father’s firm.  Accordingly the 1939 Register records the family at 23 Manston Gardens consisting of Herbert (now age 61), a woollen merchant, Hilda, his wife, and “Arthur G. Sunderland” (now age 21), a woollen warehouse manager.  The register seems to imply that Geoff had filed an application for a temporary commission (in the army, presumably).  Herbert would be too old for military service.  What happened to Geoff Sunderland during the war is unclear, but he obviously survived.


That the business of Bastow and Sunderland continued through the Second World War as in March 1942 is evidenced by adverts for packers during that period, in the Yorkshire Evening Post: “STRONG Lad required for woollen warehouse; wages 20s. Bastow and Sunderland, 169 a, Brlggate, near Railway Bridge” (October 1941); “PACKER. Woollen Warehouse, strong Youth or Girl might suit; commence 20/-. Bastow and Sunderland. 169 a, Briggate (near Railway Bridge)” (March 1942), which latter shows perhaps that male labour was getting more difficult to obtain.


Arthur Geoffrey Sunderland married Mary Wilson (born 1921) in 1947, in Leeds.  It looks as though Geoff and his wife set up a home of their own at Littlecroft, Pine Tree Avenue, Boston Spa.  Certainly, Geoff was resident there by 1952.


Herbert Sunderland evidently died in late 1948, as the Yorkshire Post of 04/12/1948 (page 4 near top of col. 3) carried a notice relating to the disposal of his estate.


Meanwhile, Kelly’s directory dated 1950, and then that of 1953, listed Mrs. H. B. Sunderland living at 23 Manston Gardens.


It seems Geoff may have lacked his father’s business skills, as the woollen/cloth merchant business seems to have entered into financial difficulties; there appeared in the Yorkshire Post of 24/07/1953 a notice of a “Deed of Arrangement” between Arthur Geoffrey Sunderland of Littlecroft, Pine Tree Avenue, Boston Spa, and his creditors.  Arthur Geoffrey Sunderland was described as formerly trading as Bastow and Sunderland, at 169a Briggate, Leeds, as a cloth merchant, thus showing this is our man.  The Deed was drawn up in accordance with the Deeds of Arrangement Act 1914 by Leslie Archibald Pearl, Chartered accountant.


Whether Geoff moved back to Manston Gardens around now or perhaps not until after his mother’s death is unclear.


Mother Hilda Sunderland died in 1971, in Leeds.


23 Manston Gardens, Leeds LS15 8EY had been Geoff Sunderland’s address back in the late 1970s, and presumably since 1971, if not before.  It was the one given as his address as YCA secretary in the 1981-82 YCA Diary.  It is a semi-detached house now in council tax band E.





Arthur Geoffrey Sunderland died in 1984 (around March to June), in Leeds.  His name was still listed in the phone book in 1990, his wife presumably not having changed the name, as often happened.


Wife Mary Sunderland died in Leeds in 1997, when the house was sold for £55,000.





Geoff Sunderland was YCA Hon. Sec. up to and including 1981-82 for certain, and possibly also 1882-83.  (D H Milton was Hon. Sec. in 1983-84.)


Geoff Sunderland as secretary, with Dr. Addingley as President, made a contrasting pair at YCA AGMs.  The latter would beam genially, while the former would have a sterner expression.


As an administrator he came across as efficient, but he was of the “old school” in various matters, and seemed to have been none too welcoming to junior players of independent attitudes.


On one occasion, Steven L. Green (b. Leeds, 1953) opened his game as Black with 1 … Na6 (or maybe he was White and it was 1. Nh3, it doesn’t really matter quite which eccentric move it was), and was told by Geoff Sunderland in no uncertain terms that Steven wouldn’t remain in the team if he did that again.


On another occasion, Neil L Solden (b. Leeds, 1954) once turned up for a Woodhouse Cup match, around bottom board, wearing a leather jacket, which was doubtless fashionable at the time, and Geoff Sunderland said, rather abrasively, “I suppose you call that mob gear.”


He played for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup, seems to have been Leeds Woodhouse Cup captain in those days.  His playing strength was nothing special, but was quite adequate for “club” chess, it seems.  Others will remember what positions he held, if any, in Leeds Chess Club.


At the 1978 AGM, when it was evident that there was to be an extra (fourth) division in the Yorkshire League, Geoff Sunderland undertook to donate a cup for it, and he put to the meeting the question of what the new cup should be called.  Someone from the back of the room suggested “A. G. Sunderland Memorial Cup”, to which Geoff responded acerbically, “At least wait until I’m dead!”






Copyright © 2018 Stephen John Mann

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

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