Yorkshire Chess History
James Wickstead Perkins
Identity of the Chess-Player
The name J. W. Perkins appears in connection with Bradford Chess Club, but more than one person of that name might in principle be the chess-player. Fortunately, the write-up of Capablanca’s 1919 Bradford simultaneous display mentions J W Perkins of Bradford Chess Club was “of Menston”, which is the clue needed.
The parents of James Wickstead Perkins were American-born Church of England clergyman James Edward Perkins (born 1830/31, New York), and his Irish-born wife Annie Maria Perkins (née Ivie, 1836/37, Waterford, Ireland), who had married in West Ham in 1869, and had at least the following five children:
James Winstead Perkins was born on 05/06/1874, and baptised by his father, at his father’s church of St Michael & All Angels, on 20/09/1874. The family’s address at this time was Whetley Grove, Manningham, Bradford.
The 1881 census found the family living at 2 Farcliffe Road, Bradford, with a nephew (11-year-old Robert E Sheaf) and a niece (19-year-old Annie Ivie) of the father, a lodger and four servants. Mother Annie was elsewhere at the time. The boys were all scholars.
The 1891 census found the family of two parent, five sons, nephew, niece and now three servants still at the same address. Edward was a medical student, Herbert and Ernest were articled clerks, while James and Harold were still scholars.
In 1893, Herbert William Perkins died aged 21 in Bradford.
Mother Annie died aged 59 in 1896, in Bradford.
The 1901 census found 70-year-old widowed father, still a clergyman, living with Ernest, a barrister at law, James and Harold, both solicitors, a different niece, Frances Ivie, and two servants, still at 2 Farcliffe Road.
On 03/08/1901, at St Paul Manningham, James Wickstead Perkins married Jessica Thomas (born 1873, Bradford), of 18 Cunliffe Villas, Bradford, daughter of merchant Enoch Thomas. Father James Edward Perkins officiated.
In 1902, Ernest Wrigley Perkins, barrister, of Bradford, died in Switzerland. His remains were interred in the Scholemoor Cemetery, Bradford, on 07/07/1902.
The business address of James Wickstead Perkins was 20 Charles Street, Bradford, from as early as 1903.
In a legal notice in the London Gazette of 29/09/1903, our man’s name was given as “J. Wickstead Perkins”. Our man was somewhat pretentiously assuming “Wickstead Perkins” as an unhyphenated double-barrelled surname.
On 21/12/1903 James Wickstead Perkins joined the Victoria, Bradford lodge of the Freemasons. His address at that time was 15 Queens Road, Bradford, where he had presumably initially moved on getting married.
The 1911 census found our man and his wife living at Oak Villa, Menston, with one servant.
In July 1911, father James Edward Perkins died in Bradford. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer of 22/07/1911, recorded the names of his three surviving sons as E. S. Perkins, a surgeon, and J. Wickstead Perkins, a solicitor practising in Bradford, and H. W. Perkins, a solicitor practising in London.
Wife Jessica died aged 65, in 1938, in Menston.
The 1939 Register found widowed James Wickstead Perkins now living at the Webton Court Residential Hotel, Leeds.
At the time of his death he was recorded in the burial register as resident at South Lodge, Holbeck, Leeds.
James Wickstead Perkins died, aged 82, in December 1956, and was buried at St. Mary, Burley-in-Wharfedale, on 14/12/1956. (The death registration index gave his age as 81, and the burial register as 83.) Though his abode was apparently then in Leeds, the death was registered in Wharfedale, so he may have died Burley or Menston.
The “J Perkins” who was one of the stewards at the 1903 Yorkshire-Lancashire match was presumably our man.
“J W Perkins” played in the 1909 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.
“J. W. Perkins of Menston” was Capablanca's host during his stay in Bradford for the occasion of the master’s 1919 simultaneous display in Bradford, in which our man lost his game, which went as follows:
Jose Raul Capablanca v James Wickstead Perkins
Simultaneous Display, Bradford, 07/10/1919
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Nc3 f5 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 Bd6 7.Ne5 O-O 8.Bd3 Qe7 9.c5 Bc7 10. h4 Bd7 11.Ng6 hxg6 12.Bxc7 Qf7 13.Bd6 Rd81 4.Ne2 Be8 15.Nf4 Nbd7 16.Nh3 Nh7 17.Ng5 Qf6 18.f4 Ndf8 19.Be5 Qe7 20.g4 Nf6 21.gxf5 exf5 22.Qf3 N8h7 23.O-O-O Nh5 24.Nxh7 Kxh7 25.Rdg1 Qe6 26.Rg5 Rd7 27.Rhg1 b5 28.Bxf5 gxf5 29.Rxh5+ Bxh5 30.Qxh5+ Kg8 31.Rg6 Qe8 32.Qxf5 Rf7 33.Qg5 Qe7 34.Rxc6 Qxg5 35.hxg5 Rd8 36.g6 Rfd7 37.f5 1-0
Copyright © 2019 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information