Yorkshire Chess History



Joseph Greening











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



Claughton (near Garstang), Lancs.


17/02/1799, St Mary’s RC Church, Garstang


29/08/1868, Sheffield



Joseph Greening was a founder member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, serving as a committee member from the formation of the club to his death, sometimes filling higher posts.




He was born at Claughton (the one near Garstang), Lancashire, and was the second son of Thomas and Maria Greening (née Shuttleworth) of Claughton Hall.  He was baptised on 17th February 1799, at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Garstang, Lancashire.


Joseph’s elder brother, George Shuttleworth Greening, was also born at Claughton, but settled in Sheffield, becoming collector, and later secretary, to the Sheffield Water Works Company whose offices were in Division Street.  (The present “old” waterworks office building was built later, in about 1867, to an ornate design by Flockton and Abbott.)


Career in Sheffield


Quite when Joseph moved to Sheffield isn’t clear.  The 1841 census places Joseph Greening living with 25-year-old woollen draper John Hepworth and his family on Sheffield High Street, as an assistant, though giving his age as 35 rather than 42.  He was a founder member of Sheffield Athenaeum club at its formation on 22nd November 1847.  In 1849 White’s directory was listing him as a “shopman” living at 29 High Street, Sheffield, which was the Sheffield premises of John Hepworth, woollen draper and manufacturer.  The censuses of 1851 and 1861 continued to list him at High Street.  In 1861 he had 20-year-old nephew Thomas Greening living with him as an apprentice.  In both 1851 and 1861 he is listed as having two live-in domestic servants.


The premises at 29 High Street changed hands a number of times.  William Saxton, bookseller, binder, and stationer, was listed at 29 High Street in 1833.  By 1841, John Hepworth & Co occupied the property, and stayed there at least to 1849.  Robert Morris & Co was listed there from 1852 to 1859.  Indeed, in 1852 the property was called “Leeds House”, a name possibly introduced by John Hepworth & Co.  D Farrar & Co was listed there in 1864.  Later, in 1876, James Barton & Co was listed there.


[The Hepworth business in Leeds was established in 1820, and carried on after the death of the founding Hepworth by brothers Matthew and John, with branches in Leeds (39 Vicar Lane), Sheffield (29 High Street), Manchester, Nottingham, Bradford etc.]


Directories record that Joseph Greening was resident at 29 High Street both in 1849, when John Hepworth & Co were at that address, and 1852, when Robert Morris & Co was at that address, so he seems to have been employed by John Hepworth & Co, and then continued to work there under Robert Morris & Co, apparently acting as a live-in shop manager.  In 1852, White described him as “draper’s manager”.


By 1864 he was resident at 289 Glossop Road, where he lived until his death.  It is likely that he retired at roughly the same time as the draper’s business was taken over by D. Farrar & Co.


There is a record of a Joseph Greening getting married in the second quarter of 1867, but this appears not to be the chess-player.




The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent of Monday 31st August 1868 reported his death on page three as follows:

GREENING – Aug 29, Mr Joseph Greening, Glossop Road, second son of Mr. Greening of Claughton Lodge, Lancashire, and brother of Mr. Greening of Highfield.


A committee meeting of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, held apparently on Tuesday 1st September, with the president, G. S. Taylor, in the chair, unanimously resolved on the proposal of Mr. G. B. Cocking that the following be minuted:

Mr. Greening’s connection with the club commenced with its establishment, Nov. 22, 1847, his name being the first that appears in the minute-book.  He was elected a member of the first council, and was re-elected to each succeeding one, without intermission, up to the time of his death.  On several occasions he was elected president of vice-president, which offices he sustained creditably to himself and advantageously to the club, until failing health necessitated his absence.  He was one of the most regular attendants at the meetings of the club, and on such occasions his amiability and geniality of disposition were manifest, justifying the admiration of his associates.  The strongest player ever found him a worthy antagonist, and the novice a courteous instructor.  His absence will be noted by casual visitors, and lamented by those who knew him best; he will be missed from his accustomed seat, and long will it be ere his loss is forgotten.


This minute was reproduced by Chess Weekly of 1868 (volume IV) on page 304.


His will, regarding effects “less than £4,000” was proved at Wakefield on 15th September 1868 on the oaths of Richard Booth and John Bower Brown junior.


Joseph was survived by his elder brother, George Shuttleworth Greening.  George married Sarah and had at least four children, including George Shuttleworth Pierson Greening, and William Henry Greening who was a chemist at Attercliffe.  George and family lived at 155 Brook Hill for a number of years.  George Shuttleworth Pierson Greening married Louisa, with whom he had children including another George Shuttleworth Greening junior.  GSP Greening died at some time between 1861 and 1871, while his father was still alive.  By 1871, George Shuttleworth Greening senior and his wife Sarah were living at 199 Cemetery Road with GSP Greening’s widow and her children.  George Shuttleworth Greening senior eventually died at 199 Cemetery Road on 19/08/1872.




Joseph Greening was a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club from its formation in 1847 to his death in 1868, and was a member of the club’s council for all that time.  He was the club’s vice-president in 1866, and may well have held such offices at other times.


He represented his club in the match against Huddersfield in 1865.  He does not evidently appear to have got involved in activities of the Yorkshire Chess Association or the West Yorkshire Chess Association, except in 1863, when the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting was in Sheffield.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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