Edward Gordon Marks
1946 – 2022
The death at age 76 occurred on 04/05/2022 of Harrogate Chess Club’s Edward Gordon Marks, known by his middle name “Gordon”, after a relapse in apparent response to treatment for cancer. He had been active as a chess-player/organiser in Harrogate since the mid/late-1960s as the writer remembers. He had been employed for some time at the British Library in Boston Spa, and in later times as a postman.
As an chess organiser he was (at least around 2002/2003) controller of the enigmatic Harrogate Translation Services League to which the following were affiliated: Archbishops, Crown Jewels, Harrogate, Ilkley, Knaresborough, Lambton Worms, Otley, and The Knights of the Square Table.
Besides his interest in chess, he was a key member of the humorously named “Harrogate Lunar Society” (for “Lunar” read “Looney”!) devoted to light-hearted offbeat inquiry into things mainly scientific, and doubtless named after the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a more highbrow learned society of the later 1700s and early 1800s. (https://sites.google.com/view/harrogatelunarsoc)
Andrew Zigmond has posted an obituary on the English Chess Forum at https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=12723.
Gordon Mark’s parents, Edward Newton Marks (born 04/08/1919) and Anne (“Annie”) Georgina Bradley Gaskin (born 07/09/1916), were married in 1945 during military service in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Father Edward had served in the Royal Regiment of Artillery.
Prior to the war, in 1939, Edward Newton Marks had evidently been a medical student living with his family in Liverpool, where the Marks family had been resident for decades. After the war Edward and Annie came to live in the Cardiff area, where in early 1946 identical twin brothers Edward Gordon Marks and John Angus Marks were born. (Possibly Annie’s parents were from South Wales.) Gordon was presumably born first as he was given his father’s name “Edward”, meaning he was known as “Gordon” to differentiate; his brother was known as “John”. The boys reportedly grew up on South Wales. Sister Isobel Jennifer A Marks was born the Wirral area in 1947. (It is thus unclear whether Gordon spent his early years in South Wales as reported, or in the Liverpool area.) Gordon presumably moved to Harrogate in his 20s in connection with work, his or his father’s. Either way, father Edward moved at some stage to Harrogate and died there on 04/10/2009, wife Annie having died there earlier in 1996. Though hardly relevant here (unless you are a drug addict), the career of brother John is of interest.
John Angus Marks became a psychiatrist with “Dr” before his name and “FRCPsych, FRANZCP” after it, and while in practice in Widnes hit on the idea that the problems of drug addiction could be better treated by prescribing the drugs to patients, which he started doing in 1982 as an experiment run from the Widnes Drug Dependency clinic. This led to better overall health of patients, a massive reduction of drug-related crime and so on. However, in 1994 he prescribed heroin and cocaine to a visiting male American “star” which attracted condemnation from the US government and led to the UK government clamping down on the practice in 1995. The Halton Hospital Trust had supported Dr Marks’s actions. This resulted in John emigrating to New Zealand, where he became a Consultant Psychiatrist at Gisborne Hospital. By 2015 he was living in Vienna, and by 2016 had retired from practice but was still writing in the Lancet.
Dr John Marks’s approach has since been adopted in various parts of the world.