Yorkshire Chess History



Joshua Gibson Hudson











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1853, Yeadon




1932, Wakefield



Non-Chess Life


Joshua Gibson Hudson’s parents were Joseph Hudson (1817/18, Yeadon) and Isabella Hudson (née Gibson, 1817/18, Yeadon) who had seemingly just one (surviving) child, Joshua Gibson Hudson, born in 1853 at Yeadon.  One imagines the parents would have called their son “Joshua”, but there are a number of pointers to him being known, in adulthood at least, as “Gibson” rather than “Joshua”.


Yeadon is a couple of miles to the NW of Horsforth, which in turn is on the NW periphery of the Leeds built-up area.  Yeadon is about a mile-and-a-half SE of Guiseley.  Horsforth, Yeadon and Guiseley are all situated along the modern A65 running NE-wards out of Leeds.


The 1861 census found the family of three living at Pavement, Yeadon.  Pavement is not on current maps of Yeadon, but it seems to have been near Otley Lane.  Parents Joseph and Isabella were both handloom weavers.  7-year-old Joshua was a scholar.


The 1871 census found the family of three living with Isabella’s unmarried sister, 55-year-old Yeadon-born Mary A Gibson, at Wormald’s Fold, Yeadon, again not listed on current maps.  Times looked bad as Joseph and 17-year-old Joshua were both unemployed woollen weavers, and Isabella was an unemployed burler (to burl was to pick knots and other extraneous material from cloth during the finishing process).  It seems Mary was still in employment as a dress-maker.


Things presumably improved, as Joshua Gibson Hudson got into the position of being able to marry Eliza Whiteley (born 1850/51, Guiseley), which he did in 1875.  The couple had seven children born alive (per 1911 census) of whom only the following five children survived long enough to register in the censuses:


John Wm. Hudson

born 1875/76, Yeadon

Mary Ellen Hudson

born 1878/79, Yeadon

Annie Elizabeth Hudson

born 1880/81, Guiseley

Joseph Gibson Hudson

born 1883/84, Guiseley

Ethel Maud Hudson

born 1886/87, Guiseley


The places of birth of the first two children suggest the young Hudson family initially lived in Yeadon, but in time they moved into Eliza’s parental home.  In any event, the 1881 census found the young couple and the first two of the above children living with Eliza’s father, 68-year-old woollen cloth weaver of unknown place of birth, at “Full Neck” (house or road?), Guiseley.  Joshua Gibson Hudson was named simply as Gibson Hudson, suggesting that his father-in-law, who as head of the household would most probably be supplying information to the census enumerator, new him as “Gibson”.  This “Gibson” was now a tailor.  Young Joseph was a scholar.


The 1891 census found the parents and four children (not John William Hudson) living at Rawnsley Fold, Yeadon.  At another address in Rawnsley Fold, John William Hudson was living with his paternal grandparents, Joseph and Isabella.  Joshua Gibson Hudson’s name was given in full, consistently with (but not proving) that theory that “Gibson” was the forename by which he was generally known.  Our man and his wife were employed as a tailor and tailoress respectively.  The older two girls were scholars.  7-year-old Joseph Gibson Hudson was recorded as “paralysed from childhood.”  Grandfather Joseph Hudson was now a retired woollen weaver.  His eldest grandson John William Hudson, was in a different line of work from the rest of the family, being a grocer’s assistant.


The 1901 census found parents Joshua Gibson Hudson (name again given in full) and Eliza living with Mary, Annie and paralysed Joseph (all with full names given) living at Howarth Lane, Yeadon, perhaps at number 30, as in the 1911 census.  John William Hudson was living nearby on Howarth Lane with his now-widowed grandmother, Isabella Hudson.  Our man was still a tailor, but now working on his own account, from home.  Wife Eliza was no longer listed as a tailoress.  Mary (incorrectly recorded as Mary Helen Hudson”) was a burler in a woollen mill, Annie was employed as a laundress, Joseph was still listed as paralysed, and John was still a grocer’s assistant.


In 1908/09, our man’s eldest daughter, Mary Ellen Hudson, married, becoming Mary Ellen Bull, and was soon delivered of a son, Joseph Gibson Bull.  Her son’s name suggest that maybe the paralysed Joseph Gibson Hudson had b then died, and was so commemorated by the naming g of his nephew.


The 1911 census found our man, his wife, married (not widowed) daughter Mary Ellen Bull, and grandson Joseph Gibson Bull living at 30 Howarth Lane, Yeadon.  Our man, now 57 years old, was still a tailor, and was an employer.  The 1911 census was completed by the householders themselves, so it is significant that our man recorded himself a “J. Gibson Hudson”, and signed himself thus.  The rather sad aspect of the return was that it recorded Gibson and Eliza as having had seven children born alive, of whom only three remained alive.




Joshua Gibson Hudson died, at the age of 79, in 1932, in the Wakefield area.




Joshua Gibson Hudson’s chess results were normally recorded with two initials, in line with the apparent fact that he was known by his second forename, Gibson, though the “G” was sometimes mis-transcribed by the compositor as “E”.


Apparent sightings of our man as a Leeds player at meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association occurred in 1872 (recorded as “J. G. Hudson”), 1873 (recorded as “J. E. Hudson”), and 1886 (recorded as “J. Hudson”). 


The earlier apparent instances of our man playing for Leeds are in reports where initials were omitted.  The following matches featured such a “Hudson” which probably refers to Joshua Gibson Hudson: the 1874 Bradford v Leeds match, the 1876 Bradford v Leeds match, the 1882 Leeds v Bradford match.


“Hudson” of Leeds played in the 1883 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.


An instance of a Leeds player more explicitly named “J G Hudson” is in the 1884 Leeds v Bradford Exchange match.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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

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