Yorkshire Chess History



Edward Johnson Walker











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site







26/05/1817, Halifax


1847, Halifax


20/07/1817, St. John the Baptist, Halifax


28/09/1847, St. John the Baptist, Halifax


20/08/1880, Halifax


29/11/1942, Halifax


24/08/1880, All Saints, Salterhebble


03/12/1942, All Saints, Salterhebble


Identity of the Chess-Player


A number of reports of matches refer to “Walker” of Halifax.  This is no real help to identifying the player.  A few references, however, more explicitly give “E. J. Walker”.  Such a name in Halifax, at the time in question, could refer only to one or other of a father and son pair each called Edward Johnson Walker.  Dates of the chess-playing references make it impossible to infer which one was the chess-player.


Edward Johnson Walker, senior, was the more notable personage in the community, being editor of the Halifax Guardian, whereas his son of the same name was employed as an accountant within some commercial organisation.  Absence of any “senior” or “junior” qualification probably weighs in favour of the chess-player being the father, but until a reference incorporating such a qualification comes to light, the identity of “E. J. Walker” of Halifax will remain unclear.


Non-Chess Life


Edward Johnson Walker, senior, was born in Halifax, to Thomas Walker and Ellen Walker, on 26/05/1817, and was baptised by Thomas Steele, at St. John the Baptist, Halifax, on 20/07/1817.  Father Thomas was a printer in Halifax.


In 1838, Edward Johnson Walker became editor of the Halifax Guardian, taking over from chess-player Frederick William Cronhelm.


Edward is difficulty to locate in the census of 1841, when he’d be 23 years old – perhaps due to his middle name being omitted.


On 02/05/1842, Edward Johnson Walker, editor of Halifax, was married by Charles Musgrave, vicar, to Mary Hannah Ibbetson (born 1818/19, Halifax), daughter of Thomas Ibbetson, gentleman of Halifax.  The couple had at least the following seven children, all born in Halifax:


Thomas Ibbetson Walker

born 1842

Charles John Walker

born 1844

Edward Johnson Walker

born 1847

Alice Amelia Gertude Walker

born October 1850

Walter James Walker

born 1852

Mary Ibbotson Walker

born 1856

Katharine Annie Walker

born 1859


Edward Johnson Walker junior was baptised on 28/09/1847, at St. John the Baptist, Halifax.


The 1851 census found the parents and first four children living, with one servant, at 32 Brunswick Street, Halifax.  Edward senior was a newspaper editor and reporter.


At some time around the late 1850s, Edward Johnson Walker junior was sent to school in Harewood, near Leeds.


The 1861 census found Edward Johnson Walker senior, his wife, and all seven children except Edward Johnson Walker junior, at 1 Savile Mount, Halifax.  Young Edward was listed as a 13-year-old boarder and scholar living in the household of schoolmaster John Jones, at Harewood.


The 1871 census found Edward junior living with his parents and his four younger siblings at 2 Savile Mount, Halifax, the family apparently having moved from number 1.  Edward senior was still a newspaper editor, while Edward junior was a commercial clerk with a worsted manufacturer.  Walter was a commercial clerk with a paper manufacturer.  Katharine was a scholar.


On 24 Aug 1871, bookkeeper Edward Johnson Walker (junior), son of editor Edward Johnson Walker (senior), was married by James Hope, to Eliza Edwards Haigh, daughter of Joseph Crossland Haigh, butcher of Halifax, at St John the Baptist, Halifax.  The couple had six children, all born in Halifax, one of whom died.  The five surviving children were:


Henry Haigh Walker

born 1873

Joseph Ibbetson Walker

born 1874/75

Mary Hannah Walker

born 1876

Arthur Johnson Walker

born 1877/78

Francis William Walker

born 1881


At the time of the death of Edward Johnson Walker senior, Edward Johnson Walker junior was resident at 14 Clare Road, Halifax.


The 1881 census found Edward (junior) and wife Eliza living at 14 Clare Road, Halifax, with four children, who were all scholars.  Edward was a merchant’s clerk.


The 1891 census found the family, now numbering five in all, living at Clare Hall, Clare Road, Halifax.  Edward was a cashier.


The 1901 census found Edward, Eliza, Joseph, Mary and Francis, living at 43 Clare Road, Halifax.  Edward was company accountant.


The 1911 census found Edward, Eliza, Mary and Francis living at Hope Hall, 43 Clare Road, Halifax.  Edward was an accountant.




Edward Johnson Walker senior, newspaper editor, died at Halifax on 20/08/1880, and was buried on 24/08/1880, at All Saints, Salterhebble, by John Trower, curate of Halifax parish church.


Edward Johnson Walker junior died aged 94 on 29/11/1942, while still resident at Hope Hall, 43 Clare Road, Halifax.  He was buried at All Saints, Salterhebble, on 03/12/1942.




“Walker” played for Halifax in the 1872 Bradford v Halifax match.


“E. J. Walker” was widely reported as playing for Halifax in the 1873 Bradford v Halifax match, though the Westminster Papers omitted the “E.”


“E. J. Walker” of Halifax is recorded as attending the 1876 West Yorkshire Chess Association Meeting in Halifax.


“Walker” plated for Halifax in the 1877 Halifax v Bradford match.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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

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