Yorkshire Chess History



Colonel Thomas Edward Vickers











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



09/071833, Sheffield



19/10/1915, London



Non-Chess Life


Colonel Thomas (“Tom”) Edward Vickers was born in Sheffield on 09/071833, the elder son of Edward Vickers, a steel miller, and Ann, daughter of George Naylor, a partner in the steelmaking firm of Naylor & Sanderson.


In 1851 the family lived at Firs Hill, Pitsmoor, Sheffield, and consisted of:


Edward Vickers

born 1803/04

Ann Vickers (wife)

born 1803/04

Thomas Edward Vickers

born 09/07/1833

Sarah Ann Vickers

born 1836/37

Albert Vickers

born 16/09/1838

Frederick Vickers

born 1840/41

Gertrude L Vickers

born 1844/45

Isabel Vickers

born 1846/47


Father Edward was an alderman, borough magistrate, merchant, and steel manufacturer.  He’d been Mayor of Sheffield in 1847.


Tom and Albert apparently went to school in Neuweidd-on-Rhine, Germany.


In 1856, control of the family firm passed from father Edward to eldest son Tom, who then ran the firm with his brother Albert.


In 1860, Thomas Edward Vickers married Frances Mary Douglas, at St. George’s, Hanover Square, London.


By 1861, the family had moved to Tapton Hall, Fulwood, Sheffield.  Sara Ann had by then married John Macnamara, “gentleman”.  The family members at Tapton Hall were thus as follows:


Edward Vickers

borough magistrate, steel mfr, merchant

Ann Vickers


Thomas Edward Vickers

steel manufacturer and merchant

Frances Mary Vickers

born 1841/42, in London, Thomas’s wife

John Macnamara

born 1828/29, Sarah Ann’s husband

Sarah Ann Macnamara


Frederick Vickers


Gertrude L Vickers


Isabel Vickers



Thomas Edward Vickers and wife Frances Mary Vickers in due course set up home on their own and started a family.  In 1871 they were living at Bolsover Hill, Ecclesfield, now part of Sheffield.  The family then consisted of the following:


Thomas Edward Vickers

now managing director of the steel firm

Frances Mary Vickers


Douglas Vickers

born 1861/62, at Sheffield

Mabel F Vickers

born 1862/63, at Sheffield

Clara Mildred Vickers

born 1865/66, at Sheffield

Florence Evelyn Vickers

born 1866/67, at Sheffield

Ronald Vickers

born 1869/70, at Barlborough

Bertha Vickers

born Sep/Oct 1870, at Ecclesfield

Emma Douglas

Thomas’s 52‑year‑old widowed mother‑in‑law


In 1881, the family was still living at Bolsover Hill, Ecclesfield.  Clara and Ronald seem to have left home by that time, though the others remained at home, and the mother-in-law was still with them.  This family of seven, incidentally, had nine live-in servants at this time.


Tom served in the 3rd West Yorkshire Militia, which later became part of the York and Lancaster Regiment in 1883.  In 1871 he was a Major in the Hallamshire Rifle Volunteers; in 1881 he was a Lieutenant-Colonel; he finally reached the rank of Honorary Colonel.


Census records for 1891 and 1901 are elusive.


Father Edward Vickers died in 1897.


At some stage the family moved to London, and in 1901 was living at 26 Queen’s Gate Gardens, Kensington.  Emma Douglas was no longer with them.  Youngest daughter Bertha was still at home.  Clara Mildred Vickers had at some stage, presumably from 1871 to 1881, married, acquiring the surname Parry.  Since then she’d become widowed and was living with her parents again.


The first Degree Day at Sheffield University was on 1st July 1908, and a degree was conferred on “Colonel Vickers”, presumably an honorary one.


The Vickers family business took various forms, assuming different names, at different times, with the acquisition of various other firms to form various companies with “Vickers” in the name.


Naylor, Hutchinson, Vickers & Company (1823 or 1829)

Vickers, Sons & Company Limited (1867)

Vickers, Sons & Maxim

Vickers Limited (1911)

Vickers-Armstrong Limited (1927)

and so on.


The businesses were involved in the manufacture of a range of products ranging from ships and armaments to church bells, besides the development of steels for different purposes.




Thomas Edward Vickers CB, died on 19/10/1915, at which time was resident at 12 Stanhope Place, Hyde Park, London.  Probate was granted to sons Douglas and Ronald, his effects being £117,347 13s 3d.


His brother Albert died in 1919.




He played against Joseph Henry Blackburne in the blindfold display the latter gave in Sheffield in 1896.


Col. T. E. Vickers was president of Sheffield Chess Club from its taking control of Sheffield chess in 1908 to his death in October 1915.







Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated