Yorkshire Chess History



Owen David Griffiths











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



09/10/1881, Ffestiniog district, Merionethshire


1963, Wakefield


Non-Chess Life


Nothing is immediately evident regarding the parents or early days of Owen David Griffiths, chess-player of Wakefield.  The 1939 Register gives his date of birth as 09/10/1881, enabling pinpointing of a birth registration, and gives his wife’s name and date of birth, enabling pinpointing of his marriage.


The year of birth pinpoints the birth as one registered in the Ffestiniog district (which did not include Portmadoc) in the fourth quarter of 1881.


The censuses of 1891 and 1901 ought to contain a reference to him, but they are not immediately evidemt, and if his middle name or initial wasn’t given then finding them would take time.


The 1911 census found an unmarried Owen David Griffiths living in Kendal, Westmorland.  He was a schoolmaster, which means he may have been moving round from job to job.  His stated age of 29 ties in with the Wakefield chess-player, but his place of birth was given as Portmadoc, which is at the coastal end of the Ffestiniog narrow-gauge railway, which carried slate from the Blaenau Ffestiog area down to the sea.  It’s possible he was brought up in Portmadoc from an early age and thought he’d been born there.  Otherwise the schoolmaster may have been a different Owen David Griffiths.


In 1922, in Wakefield, Owen David Griffith married Hilda Margaret Fitton (born 15/11/1894, Dewsbury).  The couple appear to have had the following two children:


Brian D

born 1926, Wakefield

Sheila M

born 1929, Wakefield


The 1939 register found Owen and Hilda living at The Gables, Horbury.  Owen’s occupation was given as company director and salesman (making it sound pretty much a one-man company he was “directing”).  This contrast with the occupation of schoolmaster in the 1911 census causes some caution as to whether they should be thought to be the same person.




O D Griffiths played for Wakefield in the Woodhouse Cup at least in the seasons 1933-34, 1934-35 and 1935-36.  He also represented Yorkshire at correspondence chess, at least in 1934-35 and 1937-38.




Owen D Griffith died in Wakefield in 1963, at the age of 81.  Wife Hilda died in the Lower Agbrigg area of Wakefield in 1967, at the age of 73.







Copyright © 2018 Stephen John Mann

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

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