Yorkshire Chess History



Henry Clement Twist











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1854, Birmingham




28/11/1925, Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield


Non-Chess Life


The birth of Henry Clement Twist was registered in the fourth quarter of 1854, at Birmingham.  Censuses gave his place of birth as Birmingham.  His parents were Thomas Jones Twist (born 1819/20, Birmingham), and Maria Twist (born 1819/20, Worcester).


The 1861 census found parents Thomas and Maria living at Brougham Street, Aston, Warwickshire, with the following four children:


Alice P Twist

born 1844/45, Birmingham

Henry C Twist

born 1854/55, Birmingham

Frederick P/R Twist

born 1856/57, Birmingham

Ellnor (?) S Twist

born 1858/59, Birmingham


Father Thomas was a pencil-case maker, Alice was a pupil teacher, and 6-year-old Henry, the future chess-player, was a scholar.


White’s directory of Sheffield for 1862 didn’t list any members of the Twist family, but that of 1864 listed Thomas Jones Twist, jeweller, at 37 Broomhall Street, and Samuel Twist, jeweller, at 11 Spring Lane.  Samuel was presumably related to Thomas.  Henry Clement Twist was presumably living at 37 Broomhall Street.


White’s directory of Sheffield for 1868 listed Thomas Jones Twist now as a watchmaker, of Crooks & Twist, at 37 Broomhall Street.


16-year-old Henry Clement Twist was elusive in the 1871 census, but White’s General & Commercial Directory of Sheffield, 1871, listed Thomas Jones Twist as a watchmaker and jeweller at 37 Broomhall Street, with his home at 151 Solly Street, where wife Mrs. Maria Twist was listed as a schoolmistress.


The 1876 directory found Thomas Jones Twist, watchmaker, now operated from 47 Broomhall Street, another watchmaker having moved into no. 37.  Also listed was Thomas Twist, jeweller, 144 Martin Street, Sheffield, either representing Thomas Jones Twist’s residence, or perhaps the son of the previously mentioned Samuel Twist.


White’s 1879 directory listed the same details for 47 and 37 Broomhall Street, but now listed Thomas Twist, watchmaker, living at 36 [or 63?] Oxford Street.


The 1881 census found the Twist family living at 63 Oxford Street, Sheffield.  Living with parents Thomas and Maria were Henry C Twist, Frederick P/R. Twist, and Maria’s 65-year-old Worcester-born sister, Mary Ann Cine(?).  Father Thomas had graduated to being a jeweller.  Our man, Henry C. Twist, was a schoolmaster, as was his brother, Frederick P. Twist.


Sheffield directories from 1883 to 1894 continued listing Thomas Twist, jeweller and watchmaker, at 47 Broomhall Street, with his home at 63 Oxford Road.  Henry Clement Twist was presumably also living at 63 oxford Street for most of this period.  From 1900, the Twists ceased to be listed at 63 Oxford Street, seemingly because they were living at 47 Broomhall Street.


36-year-old Henry Clement Twist is again elusive in the 1891 census, but he was presumably still in Sheffield, as the 1901 census found Harry C. Twist living at 47 Broomhall Street, Sheffield.  Somewhat confusingly, his age is given as 66 rather than 46.  Also, rather than being a schoolmaster he was a watchmaker, shape(?) maker and jeweller, working on his own account from home, suggesting he’d taken over his father’s business.


White’s 1902 Sheffield directory listed Henry Clement Twist, watchmaker etc, at 47 Broomhall Street, but our man was absent from the 1903 directory.


It seems the change in occupation didn’t go too well, and the 1911 census rather surprisingly found 56-year-old single Birmingham-born Henry Clement Twist, previously a schoolteacher, now resident at St. Pancras Workhouse, 4 King’s Road, Camden Town, N.W.


The story of the founding light and first secretary of the Sheffield and District Chess Association fizzles out here, except that he must have returned to Sheffield as he died in the West Riding (Lunatic) Asylum, Wadsley, Sheffield (previously known as the South Yorkshire Asylum, and later Middlewood Hospital).




Henry Clement Twist died in November 1925, aged 71, at the West Riding Asylum.  He was buried in Sheffield’s Burngreave cemetery on 28/11/1925.




Henry Clement Twist was a member of Arundel Chess Club, and played for them in inter-club matches.  Kelly’s directory and other sources tell us H. C. Twist was secretary of Arundel Chess Club in 1883.  Bird described him as the primary originator of the scheme leading to the formation of the Sheffield & District Chess Association.  He was thus perhaps the first important chess organiser in Sheffield outside the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club.


He did not play in the 1883 Sheffield Athenaeum v Rest of S&DCA match, rather devoted himself to administrative matters.


He handled the background organisation relating to H. E. Bird’s visit to Sheffield in 1883.


He was the Sheffield representative at the meeting, on 05/09/1885, which formally established the Yorkshire County Chess Club, which was an important intermediate step in the direction of the re-emergence of an organisation called the “Yorkshire Chess Association” (the one we have today).





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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