Yorkshire Chess History



Thomas Holliday











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1840, Huddersfield



01/03/1898, Matlock, Derbys.



Non-Chess Life


Entry 49 in the marriage register of St. Peter’s, Leeds, records the marriage on 29/07/1839 of Read Holliday, of full age, bachelor, chemist, resident in Hunslet, son of Abraham Holliday, tinner/turner/currier(?), to Emma Copley, of full age, spinster, also resident in Hunslet, daughter of James Copley, butcher.  Read Holliday was born on 15/09/1809 at Bradford, and Emma had been born 08/07/1817 at Kirkheaton, Huddersfield, Yorks.  The couple went on to have at least eight children, all born in Huddersfield:


Thomas Holliday

born 1839/40

01/03/1898, Matlock, Derbyshire

Charles Holliday

born 21/01/42

died 25/12/1893, Hautot‑sur‑Seine, France

John Holliday

born 02/06/1845,

died 05/09/1894, Brooklyn, USA

Eliza Holliday

born 23/03/1847

died 12/05/1856, Huddersfield

Edgar Holliday

born 23/03/1847

died 16/04/1891, Brooklyn, USA

Betsy Holliday

born 1848/49

Mary Edith Holliday

(Mrs. W H Jarvis)

born 2/09/1850

died 29/06/1908, Leeds

Robert Holliday

born 1855

died 03/04/1901, Huddersfield


The birth of Thomas Holliday was registered in the first quarter of 1840, at Huddersfield.  Thus Thomas was probably born in 1840, but might have been born late in 1839.  That of Charles was registered in the first quarter of 1842.  That of John was registered in the second quarter of 1844.  That of Eliza was registered in the first quarter of 1847.  That of Betsy was registered in the first quarter of 1849.  That of Robert was registered in the first quarter of 1855.


The 1841 census found Read and Emma with one-year-old Thomas, at Aspley, Huddersfield.  Aspley is half a mile or so to the SE of the centre of Huddersfield, across on the other side of the River Colne.  Read Holliday was a manufacturing chemist.


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, listed Read Holliday (ammonia etc), Turn Bridge, Quay Street, Huddersfield, under “Chemists (manufacturing)” in the trade section.


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing Districts, 1847, listed Read Holliday & Co. at Turn Bridge.


The 1851 census found 11-year-old Huddersfield-born Thomas Holliday and 9-year-old Huddersfield-born Charles Holliday as pupils at a boarding school on Wellhouse, Mirfield, seemingly that of the Rev. Peter Cornelius West, who was of the Moravian flavour of non-conformity, though he wasn’t listed at the school in the census return.


The death of Eliza Holliday, aged 9, was recorded in the second quarter of 1856.  This seems to have caused Read Holliday to reflect on the poor environmental conditions in the vicinity of his chemical works, and do something about it.  His solution was not to cut down the pollution is factory created, but was to build a 34-room mansion for his family to live in, on what was then the rural fringe of Huddersfield, at Edgerton.  The mansion was called Lunn Clough Hall.


The 1861 census found Emma Holliday (but not Read), along with 21-year-old Thomas Holliday, 12-year-old Betsy Holliday, 10-year-old Mary Edith Holliday, and three servants, living at Lunn Clough Hall, in the Lindley-cum-Quarmby area to the NW of Huddersfield.  13-year-old Huddersfield-born Edgar Holliday was a pupil at Wellhouse School earlier attended by brothers Thomas and Charles.


The developing family chemical manufacturing business, which expanded into aniline dyes, spread outside Huddersfield to other sites in the North and in London.  In 1864, Thomas and Charles set up a branch of the family firm in Brooklyn, New York State, in the United States.  In time, Edgar became resident in Brooklyn.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield &c, 1866, listed Read Holliday, manufacturing chemist, at Turnbridge, Huddersfield, with his home at Lunn Clough.  Under manufacturing chemists it listed, separately, Charles Holliday, Read Holliday and Thomas Holliday, all at Turndbridge, rather suggesting the business was a family concern, Charles being perhaps a brother of Read.  In the street section, on Turnbridge it listed Read as a chemist, and both Charles and Thomas as colour manufacturers.


White's Directory of Leeds & the West Riding, 1870, listed Read Holliday, Thomas Henry Holliday, and Charles Holliday, all at Lunnclough Hall, Edgerton, Huddersfield.  Under manufacturing chemists it listed Read Holliday and Sons at Turnbridge.


Thomas Holliday was elusive in the 1871 census; presumably he was at Lunnclough Hall.  28-year-old brother Charles Holliday was recorded as living at Turn Bridge, at or near the chemical works.


On 26/08/1871, a certain Albert Chatelain (born 17/04/1846, Neuchâtel, Switzerland) died, and was buried in the Holliday family grave.  He is commemorated by an inscription in French on the base of the right of the monument.  This was presumably an employee.


The marriage of Thomas Holliday to Maria Brook, on 09/03/1876, was registered at Pontefract.  Maria had been born at Ferry Fryston, near Pontefract, in 1854/55, and so was about 15 years younger than Thomas.


The couple had at least the following three children, all born in Huddersfield:


Ethel M. Holliday

born 1877/78

Lionel Brook Holliday

born 1879/80

Florence M. Holliday

born 1881/82


The 1881 census found Thomas, Maria, Ethel, Lionel, and three servants, living at 2 Glenwood, Lindley, Huddersfield.  Thomas was a “chemist manufacturer”.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed Thomas Holliday at Lunnclough Hall, Edgerton, Huddersfield.  Read Holliday and Son, (not “Sons”,) was now listed additioanlyy on the east side of Upperhead Row, opposite the modern bus station.  Elsewhere it listed Read Holliday and Sons (plural again) at Turnbridge, Quay Street, and Upperhead Row.  It also listed Read Holliday living at “Oak Ash”, Beach Grove, Harrogate, presumably in retirement.


Read Holliday died on 03/03/1889, at Harrogate.  The death was registered in the first quarter of 1889, at Knaresborough, which is where Harrogate deaths were registered.  Probate records tell us Read Holliday of the Ainsleys, Queen’s Road, Harrogate, gent, died on 03/03/1889, at the Ainsleys.  His will was proved by sons Thomas Holliday of Huddersfield, Charles Holliday of Huddersfield, Edgar Holliday of Brooklyn, New York State, USA, and Robert Holliday of Huddersfield, executors.


In 1890, the family business of Read Holliday & Sons became a private limited company, “Read Holliday & Sons, Ltd,” preserving the deceased founder’s name.   Thomas Holliday was both chairman and managing director.  The early 1890s saw a number of deaths among Thomas’s siblings.


Edgar died on 16/04/1891 at Brooklyn, USA.


The 1891 census found Thomas, Maria, Ethel, Florence and four servants living at Kaffir Road, Edgerton, Huddersfield.  (What had happened to Lionel?)  Thomas was now described as a chemist and aniline colour manufacturer.


Charles died on 25/12/1893 at Hautot sur Seine, in France.


White's Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1894, listed Read Holliday and Sons Limited (analine) at 12 Dundas Street, Huddersfield; Turnbridge Road, Huddersfield; St. Andrew’s Road, Huddersfield; and Littlewood Building, Upperhead Row, Huddersfield.


John died on 05/09/1894 at Brooklyn, USA.


Brother Robert Holliday took over as chairman of the family firm in 1897.


The arrival of World War I caused Read Holliday & Sons to specialise in producing explosives.  In fact Thomas Holliday’s son, Lionel, serving as a major in the West Riding Regiment, was recalled from France to oversee the production of picric acid for the munitions industry.


The detailed history of the Holliday family chemical business, which in the fullness of timed became a component of Imperial Chemical Industries, is to be found at http://www.colorantshistory.org/HollidayDye.html.




Thomas Holliday of Edgerton, Huddersfield, gent, died on 01/03/1898, at Matlock, Derbyshire.


Entry 16859 in the burial register of Edgerton Cemetery, Huddersfield, records the burial there on 04/03/1898, at age 57, of Thomas Holliday, chemical manufacturer etc. of Lunnclough, Lindley, in the Holliday family grave, in consecrated section 44, plot 101, by H. R. Hunter.

(Click here for images of the family grave.)


Probate was granted to George Henry Crowther, surveyor, Robert Holliday, gent, and Edward Cockshaw, secretary to Read Holliday and Sons Ltd.  He left £108,618 16s 7d.




He was recorded as present at Huddersfield Chess Club meetings as early as 1868.


He attended the annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association of 1869, 1870, 1874, 1878, 1879, 1882 and 1885.


In 1872 he played in the 2nd Class tournament of the 3rd Counties’ Chess Association meeting at Malvern.


He played in the 1883 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.


At the 1st Annual Meeting of the Yorkshire County Chess Club, in 1886, he furnished the prize (a game compendium) for the Class C tournament, while he himself entered the Class A.


He won the Class A tournament of the Yorkshire County Chess Club’s 1887 tournament.  This tournament was in subsequent years regarded as the official Yorkshire Championship, so one could argue he was Yorkshire Champion that year in all but name.


He played in the 1888 West Yorkshire v Tyne & Tees Side match.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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