Yorkshire Chess History



John Russell Robinson











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1835/36, Honley



Q4 1906



John Russell Robinson’s parents were John Robinson (born 1804/05, Honley) and Mary Robinson (born 1801/02, Honley), who appear to have had at least the following four children, all born at Honley:

John Russell Robinson

born 1835/36

Lucy Anna Robinson

born 1837/38

Alfred Robinson

born 1842/43

Edmund Robinson

born 1844/45


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, and White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing Districts, 1847, listed John Robinson as a dyer in the Smithy Place locality near Honley (seemingly near the present Brockholes railway station).  There was also a dyer called James Robinson in the Thurston area.


Ten years later, 15-year-old Honley-born “John R. Robinson” was listed in the 1851 census as one of about 38 pupils (all boys) boarding at a school on New North Road, Huddersfield.  In principle this could be either Huddersfield College (founded by members of assorted religious persuasion), or Huddersfield Collegiate School (founded by members specifically of the established church).  The fact that “Thomas K. Faulls”, described as “teacher (Classics)”, headed the list of residents of the school shows it to be Huddersfield College, of which Thomas King Faulls was a master (according to White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing Districts, 1847).


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford &c, 1854, listed only James Robinson under “dyers” at Honley, and that was at Smithy Place, not Thurston, suggesting he’d taken over there from John Robinson, suggesting in turn they were related.  John Robinson was now listed as a dyer at Bradley Mills (which is one-and-a-half to two miles NE of the centre of Huddersfield), with his home at Westfield (which was off Trinity Street).


White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, also listed John Robinson as a dyer at Bradley Mills, with his home at Westfield.


The 1861 census listed parents John and Mary Robinson with the above four children and 2 servants living at 3 Trinity Street West, Huddersfield.  Father, John Robinson, was described as a dyer, employing 7 men.  Son, John Russell Robinson, was described as a general merchant in oil and wood.  This address is probably that referred to as Westfield.


At some time from 1861 to 1871, John Robinson, the father, died.


Also at some time from 1861 to 1866, father John Robinson, and sons John Russell Robinson and Alfred Robinson, entered into business partnership trading as John Robinson and Sons.  The business seems also to have included Frederick William Robinson, who may have been another brother, or perhaps a son of the James mentioned above.  Accordingly, White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield ..., 1866, listed John Robinson and Sons, woolstaplers and dyers, at 6 Dundas Street and Leeds Road, Huddersfield.  The homes of those involved were separately listed as: Alfred Robinson, New North Road; Frederick William Robinson, New North Road; John Russell Robinson, 69 New North Road.  The father himself seems not to be listed, suggesting he’d already died by 1866.


The 1871 census listed Mary Robinson as a 69-year-old widow living at Mountjoy House (presumably number 69), New North Road, Huddersfield, with three of her above four children, John Russell Robinson, a wool merchant and dyer, Lucy Ann (not Anna) Robinson, and Alfred Robinson, a wool merchant (but not a dyer).


Quite what happened to Edmund is not clear.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed John Robinson and Sons, woollen dyers, Leeds Road North, but the brothers seem no longer to be listed as individuals.


At this point the trail mysteriously dries up.




His death was registered at Huddersfield in the fourth quarter of 1906.




He attended the AGM of Huddersfield Chess Club on 29th March 1856, also those of 1861, 1864 and 1868, and doubtless others as well.  He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association annual meetings of 1856, 1859, 1864 and 1869.  He played in the matches between Huddersfield and Bradford in April 1864, and the return match in the Autumn of 1864.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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