Yorkshire Chess History
2nd Annual Meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association
Corn Exchange Rooms, Upper Westgate, Wakefield
The second meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association was held at Corn Exchange Rooms, Wakefield, on Monday 8th November 1841.
The Corn Exchange was on Upper Westgate, on the right as you face uphill.
The Wakefield Journal rather implied the number gathered exceeded that of the previous meeting. It referred to “the party” consisting of forty-four, fewer than attended the previous meeting, but that figure of forty-four may have been those sitting to dinner, which may have not been all those attending the meeting. . The Leeds Mercury listed 47 names, so that list must have been nearly complete if not actually complete. There were two guests from Liverpool Chess Club, but the others were drawn mainly from the membership of the Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield and Halifax Chess Clubs. There were also players from Bradford and Sheffield, though there seem not to have been clubs in existence in those towns at that time.
The meeting was presided over by the Rev. Edwin Colman Tyson, M.A., of Wakefield.
The two main guests were Frenchman Mons. Alexandre, and Samuel Newham (founder and president of Nottingham Chess Club). Other guests included Noyes and Maix of Nottingham.
The premises opened for play at 10 o’clock in the morning. Medley tells us thirty-six players “entered the lists”, the others presumably being merely spectators. Samuel Newham, owing to ill health and the prohibition of his physician, did not play.
Play continued to 6 o’clock, when the party went for dinner at the Bull Inn, where “a most sumptuous repast was provided by Mrs. Bywater, to whom it is but justice to say, that the great profusion and excellence of the viands, the quality of the wines, and the upmost attention paid to the comforts of her guests, gave universal satisfaction.” (Eloquent praise for the refreshment became a standard feature of write-ups of such meetings.)
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks, Leics &c, 1841, listed Sarah Bywater as proprietress of the Great Black Bull on Westgate. White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, records Sarah Bywater as proprietress of the Great Bull on Westgate.
The following are the attenders listed by the Wakefield Journal, along with the writer’s opinion as to the identity of those so listed.
* or possibly Samuel Maw
Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann