Yorkshire Chess History



James Samuel West











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



21/11/1851, Fareham, Hampshire



21/01/1937, Portsmouth



Non-Chess Life


James Samuel West’s parents were John West, a mariner, and Mary Ann Draper who had at least the following five children:


James Samuel West

born 21/11/1851, Fareham

George John West

born 1854/55, Fareham

William H West

born 1863/64, Fareham

Martha E West

born 1865/66, Alverstoke

Alfred C West

born 1868/69, Alverstoke


The birth of James Samuel West was registered in the fourth quarter of 1851, at Fareham.  His date of birth given in a family-record website is 21/11/1851, which though unsubstantiated nevertheless is consistent with the birth index entry.  The same source gives the mother’s full name as Mary Ann Powell Draper.


The 1861 census found James and Samuel living at the home of their maternal grandmother, 59-year-old Sarah Draper, and the latter’s 23-year-old son, carpenter James Stephen Draper, at 6 Prospect Place, Fareham, Hants.  Quite why the boys were living with their grandmother is unclear.  There is an apparent hiatus in the series of births in the West family.  It could be that Mary Ann West had a miscarriage and was recuperating, and the boys were consequently packed off to their grandmother for a while.  The explanation could relate to father John West being a mariner.


The dates and places of birth of the children rather imply the family moved from Fareham to Alverstoke in 1864/65.


The 1871 census found James back with his mother, along with the three youngest children, at Bedford Street, Alverstoke, Hants.  Mother Mary Ann West was described as a mariner’s wife.  John West was presumably at sea.  George had presumably left home or was away at school.  19-year-old James S. West was described as “engineer student”.


The marriage of James Samuel West to Rhoda Mundy was registered in the fourth quarter of 1873, at Alverstoke.  The couple had at least the following four children:


Amy Fanny West

born 1874/75, Ripon

Dora Mary West

born 1875/76, Pimlico, London

James Newton  West

born 1877/78, Surrey

Walter P. F. West

born 1882/83, Derbyshire


Despite having been an engineering student, James Samuel West joined the civil service, more specifically the Inland Revenue.


The 1881 census found parents James and Rhoda, the first three children, Rhoda’s father, James Munday, and Rhoda’s sister, Elizabeth Munday, at Mount Pleasant, Belper, Derbyshire.  James worked in the excise branch or the Inland Revenue.  Father-in-law James was a retired lessee of tolls.  The three children were all scholars.


The death of James’s wife, Rhoda West, was registered in the first quarter of 1884, at Belper.


At some time from 1884 (when Rhoda died) to 1887 (when James was playing chess as a Leeds player) the family moved to Leeds.


James took a second wife, Lavinia Wise Lockley.  Their marriage was registered in the fourth quarter of 1889 at Leeds.  They had at least the following four children:


Arthur Eustace Lockley West

born 1892/93, Leeds

Edward Draper West

born 1898/99, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland

John Roberts West

born 1900/01, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Horace James Pasteur West

born 1902/03, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland


The 1891 census found James and Lavinia living with James’s first four children at 31 Edgbaston Terrace, Headingley , Leeds.


At some time from 1896 (when he was still playing chess in Leeds) to 1899 the family had moved to Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland.  James was presumably taken there with his job.  The family stayed in Westport until at least 1902, and so missed the 1901 England census.  The family was back in England by 1911.


The 1911 census parents James and Lavinia living with six of the eight children at 1 Ashley Villas, London Road, Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, a town adjoining Cheltenham to the east.  James and Walter had seemingly left home.


By 1937, James was living in Portsmouth




James Samuel West of 13 Firgrove Crescent, Hilsea, Portsmouth, died on 21/01/1937, aged 85.  Probate was granted to James Newton West, bank manager, and Edward Draper West, bank clerk.  He left £1,118 4s 6d.




As late as 1883, and possibly later, “J. S. West” was playing for Derbyshire Chess Club, as when he played for them on board 2 against Nottingham Mechanics Chess Club on 17/10/1883.


“J. S. West” of Leeds attended to West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1887 1888 and 1889.


He played in the 1887 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.


He finished 3rd to 5th equal in the British Amateur Championship at the 1888 British Chess Association congress in Bradford, but fared less well in the Ruskin Tournament (which was abandoned) and the Yorkshire Individual championship (in which he was mated on move 35 by C. G. Bennett in round 1) at the same congress.


He played in the 1889 Lancashire-Yorkshire match.


He played in the 1896 Yorkshire-Cheshire match.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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