Yorkshire Chess History



Edwin Woodhouse











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



27/10/1834, Stainland, near Halifax




Easter Day, 19/11/1913, Brookleigh, Calverley, nr. Leeds


22/11/1923, Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds


Woodhouse, Edwin.jpg


Edwin Woodhouse was born on 27/10/1834 at Stainland, about six miles south of the centre of Halifax, about 2 miles south-west of Elland, and about two-and-a-half miles east of Ripponden.  His parents were Benjamin Woodhouse, a tailor born at Huddersfield in 1803/04, and Susannah Woodhouse, born at Stainland in 1802/03.  This couple had at least two children:


Mary Ann Woodhouse

born 1829/30, Stainland

Edwin Woodhouse

born 27/10/1834, Stainland


Edwin was baptised on 20/12/1834, by Robert Bell.  His baptismal record was one of those included with an assortment of church records in the possession of Zion Congregational Church, Gawthorpe, Osset, with the permission of higher authorities, by Joseph Booth, pastor, in 1898.  Since the Zion Congregational Chapel was founded in 1857 (per the book itself, and White), then the earlier baptisms, many of which related to Halifax and Stainland, must have related to an earlier Independent Chapel, or a different geographical location altogether.  It’s difficult to see why Edwin would be baptised in the Gawthorp/Osset area.


The 1841 census found the family at an unspecified address in Stainland.  The household consisted of 37-year-old father, Benjamin Woodhouse, 39-year-old mother Susannah Woodhouse, 11-year-old sister Mary Ann Woodhouse, 6-year-old Edwin Woodhouse himself, and two tailor’s apprentices who presumably worked for Benjamin.


The 1851 census found essentially the same people living more specifically at Schole House, Stainland.  This time there was only one apprentice.  Father Benjamin was now described as a tailor and draper, employing one apprentice.  Mother Susannah and sister Mary Ann were straw-bonnet makers.  Edwin was a tailor, presumably working for his father, in effect as a second apprentice.


At some time from 1851 to 1857 Edwin moved to Leeds, as that was his place of residence on his marriage register entry.


On 19/02/1857, at the age of 22, woollen draper Edwin Woodhouse, son of Edwin Woodhouse, tailor and draper, married 21-year-old Charlotte Thompson of Halifax (born c. 1836, York), daughter of John Thompson (deceased), glover.  The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. Peter Duncan at Oxford Place Wesleyan Chapel, Leeds, and the registrar was Thomas Wray.  (Oxford Place and Oxford Row were turn-offs at 174 Park Lane  The chapel was founded in 1836.  White.)


The marriage register gave Edwin’s address as of 43 Briggate, Leeds.  White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed J. Storey and Son, drapers, at 43 Briggate, Leeds, in the street section; it and also John Storey and Son (William), 43 and 44 Briggate, Leeds, in the alphabetical section.  The inference is that Edwin was in the employment of the said John Storey.


The couple had three daughters, all born in Huddersfield:


Emeline Woodhouse

born 1857/58

Clorinda  Woodhouse

born Apr/May 1860

Florence (aka Florrie) Woodhouse

born 1862/63


The 1861 census found Edwin and his wife living at Prospect Place, Huddersfield, with two daughters, 3-year-old Emeline and 11-month-old Clorinda, and one servant.  Edwin was a woollen cloth merchant.  White listed Prospect Place as being in Marsh.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed an Edwin Woodhouse as an employed person living at Marsh, Huddersfield.  This suggest Edwin moved from Leeds to Huddersfield in 1857 or 1858.


In 1864, John Woodhouse and Company was located at 2 Aire Street, Leeds, while the eponymous John lived at Woodlands House, Farsley.  This looks possibly like a relative of Edwin Woodhouse, though any connection (cousin?) is unclear.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield &c, 1866, listed Edwin Woodhouse, woollen merchant, at 28 John-William Street, Huddersfield, with his home at Westhill, which was off West Parade, Huddersfield.


White’s Directory of Leeds & the West Riding, 1870, listed Edwin Woodhouse, woollen merchant, at West Hill, off Trinity Street, Huddersfield.  John Watkinson was also resident at West Hill at this time.


The 1871 census found Edwin, his wife, three daughters and two servants living at Westfield Terrace, Trinity Street, Huddersfield.  Edwin was described as a woollen merchant, while all three daughters were scholars.  Emeline had doubled “m” in her name, but that appears to have been an error.


On 22/01/1874, the three Woodhouse sisters were baptised at St. Margaret’s, Horsforth, by P. R. W. Pearson.  Edwin was described in the baptism register as a woollen merchant.  The family was described as resident at Eastfield House, Horsforth.  Tellingly, Emeline’s name was originally written down with doubled “m”, but the second m had been crossed out.


McCorquodale records Woodhouse at Westhill, Huddersfield, in 1876.  This suggests “Westhill” and “Westfield Terrace” referred to the same place.  It also suggests McCorquodale was out of date.


Around 1876, Edwin Woodhouse & Co., woollen manufacturers, operated from Ellis Court, Aire Street, Leeds.  McCorquodale’s Leeds directory of 1876 gives the premises as 15 Ellis Court on page 360, but on pages 71 and 338 they are given as 8 Ellis Court, with Henry Thackrah of the same trade at 15 Ellis Court.  (Either Thackrah was part of Woodhouse’s “Co.”, or there is an error in the directory.)


The 1881 census found the Woodhouse family of two parents and three daughters, with two servants, living at Stanningley Hall, Calverley.  Edwin was now described as a cloth manufacturer.


Stanningley Hall, which appears to have been on Bradford Road (the B6157), just to the west of a where now is a cul-de-sac called “Stanhall Avenue”.  It appears that it passed into commercial use as Stanningley Hall, 81 Bradford Road, Stanningley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 6AT.  The hall now seems to have been demolished, seemingly having been on the site were the houses of Stanhall Avenue now stand.  Was Stanningley Hall known locally as “Stan Hall” for short, or was “Stanhall Avenue” a whim of someone in the Leeds City street-naming department?


Stanningley Hall had earlier been the residence of the Varley family, a number of whom are interred in the graveyard of St. John’s, Farsley, which is between Old Road and New Street in Farsley, just north of Stanningley.


In 1882, Edwin bought a majority shareholding in Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley.  The original site had been bought by a group of investors back in 1829, for a woollen scribbling and fulling mill then known as The Farsley Club Mill.  Then, in 1850, nearby land at Sunny Bank was purchased and the whole concern became known as Sunny Bank Mills.   Edwin added worsted spinning and weaving to the activities, adding additional buildings as time went on.  Under Edwin’s control the firm became known as Edwin Woodhouse and Co.


Edwin Woodhouse had become a councillor and in due course an alderman.  He was Mayor of Leeds in 1882 and 1883, then again in 1905, by which time he had become a J.P.


The Woodhouse family was still at Stanningley Hall in 1883, according to The Court Guide, Gazette and County Blue Book of Yorkshire, 1883 [Huddersfield Local Studies Library], but in time they moved to Armley.  By 1887, the Gaunt family had evidently moved into Stanningley Hall, as baptismal records for St. John’s, Farlsey, show three Gaunt babies living at Stanningley Hall being baptised in the period 1887 to 1891.  The Woodhouses thus moved from Stanningley Hall to Armley at some time from 1883 to 1887.


Armley Grange House was built in the early 1800s.  On 05/08/1976 it became a Grade II listed building, and is now occupied by the Leeds branch of the Alzheimer’s Society.


Telephones were just becoming “the thing”.  Many of the bigger commercial concerns had them, but not so many private households.  Woodhouse obviously thought the telephone was a good idea as he had them installed at Edwin Woodhouse and Co’s premises at 4 King Street, Leeds (Leeds 42) and at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley (Leeds 2026), and at his home at Armley Grange, Armley, Leeds (Leeds 2027).  [National Telephone Company Ltd directory (1883?) in Huddersfield Local Studies Library.]


On 17th April 1884, as Mayor of Leeds, Alderman Edwin Woodhouse opened the new Leeds Municipal Offices on Calverley Street.  This building was constructed over the period 1878 to 1884.  It is now a Grade II listed building, and houses Leeds Central Library.


On 02/12/1885 at Christchurch Armley, at the age of 25, the eldest Woodhouse daughter, Emeline, married Henry James Fletcher of 6 Easby Drive, Ilkley, 25-year-old son of James Pearson Fletcher, a colliery proprietor.  Edwin was described in the marriage register as a cloth manufacturer resident at The Grange, Armley.  Edwin and second daughter Clorinda signed the marriage register as witnesses, as did E. C. Fletcher.  The ceremony was conducted by Ernest K(?). Wilks(?? - illegible), vicar of St. James in an illegible location.  The groom was described as a surgeon on the medical staff of Her Majesty’s army.  Marriage into the army took Emeline to such diversely exotic and dangerous locations as Lucknow, India, and Burnley, Lancashire.  This couple had at least two children:


Florence M. Fletcher OR

Marjorie F. Fletcher

born 1889/90, Lucknow,India

Joan E. Fletcher

born 1894/95, Burnley, Lancashire


In an 1889 directory Edwin Woodhouse & Co. had premises at 15 Wellington Street, Leeds, while the family home was at Armley Grange, Stanningley Road, Armley.


On 19/02/1890 at the parish church, Upper Armley, youngest Woodhouse daughter, Florence, married Arthur Rimington Atkinson, an engineer from Halifax, son of John William Atkinson, solicitor.  Edwin was described in the marriage register simply as a manufacturer.  Edwin and Clorinda were witnesses in the marriage register.  The ceremony was conducted by Edwin T. Lister.


Florence’s husband’s work appears to have taken him abroad, as he died 27/05/1890 at Iquique, Chile, leaving Florence a widow after only three months and eight days of marriage.  His will was proved by his brother John Cecil Atkinson of 6 Butts Court, Leeds


The 1891 census shows the Woodhouse household had moved a couple of miles north, to Brookleigh, Calverley.  Edwin and Charlotte now had living with them unmarried daughter Clorinda Woodhouse, widowed daughter Florence Atkinson, married daughter Emeline Fletcher and first grandchild, named as Florence M. Fletcher, though the 1901 census named her as Marjorie F. Fletcher.  The grandchild’s father may have been on military service somewhere.  The household also included four servants.


Reading between the lines, Emeline and her husband set up home in Burnley, Lancashire, as that is where they had their second daughter was born.


The 1901 census found Edwin, a woollen cloth manufacturer, unmarried daughter Clorinda, married daughter Emeline Fletcher and her two daughters.  The Burnley-born younger of Emeline’s daughters was now listed as Marjorie F. Fletcher rather than Florence M. Fletcher.  Widowed Florence was no longer listed as living with her parents.  An omission was Edwin’s wife Charlotte, who must have been away from home at the time of the census.  There were three servants.


Full details of the Woodhouse household from the 1911 census are elusive, but the summary book shows it still at Brookleigh, Calverley, with 1 male and five females.


In 1912, Edwin sold his holding in the mills at Farsley to James Ives & Co of Yeadon.


Edwin’s wife, Charlotte, died at Brookleigh on 23rd March 1913, which was Easter Day, and was buried on 26th March 1913, in Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds, in the consecrated part of section C.


Edwin resided for the rest of his life at Brookleigh, Calverley, where he was a member of Farsley Chess Club.




Edwin Woodhouse appears to have had at least nine places of residence throughout his life, which are listed below, with approximate dates of commencement of occupancy:





27/10/1834 (birth)


(possibly Schole House)

some time from 1841 to 1851


Schole House

some time from 1851 to 1857


43 Briggate

1857 or 1858


Marsh (possibly ProspectPlace)

some time from 1858 to 1861


Prospect Place, Marsh

some time from 1861 to 1870


West Hill, off Trinity Street

1870 or 1871


Westfield Terrace, off Trinity St.

some time from 1871 to 1874


Eastfield House

some time from 1874 to 1881


Stanningley Hall

some time from 1883 to 1885


The Grange

some time from 1889 to 1891




Westfield Terrace may conceivably have been on West Hill, so those two addresses may have referred to the same place.


Stanningley Hall and Armley Grange seem to have been close to each other, and not very far from Brookleigh, and all near to Sunny Bank Mills at Farsley.




Edwin Woodhouse died at Brookleigh, Calverley, on 19th November 1923, at the age of 89, and was buried in the same grave as his wife, at Lawnswood Cemetery, on 22nd November 1923.  An obituary appeared in the Pudsey & Stanningley News in December 1923.  (Click here for images of the grave.)


Probate was granted at Wakefield on 01/02/1924 to Clorinda Woodhouse, spinster, Philip Austyn Barran, wholesale clothing manufacturer, and Harry Pemberton, bank accountant.  He left effects of £162,117 13s.


Daughter Clorinda remained unmarried and lived to the age of 92, dying on 7th July 1952, and being buried in the same grave as her parents.


The front of the Woodhouse grave memorial reads:


“At Rest.”


In Memory of



the beloved wife of Edwin Woodhouse, D.L.,

of this City,

who died on Easter day, March 23rd 1913.


Also the above Edwin Woodhouse,

who died Nov. 19th 1923 in his 90th year.

“Summer follows hard on winter,

And after night returns the day,

And, after storm, great calm.”


R.I. P.


The right side of the memorial reads:




their second daughter,

in her 93rd year,

July 7th 1952.


After Death


In 1917, Sunny Bank Mills was bought by W. C. Gaunt, who had numerous such interests.  His was the family which had followed the Woodhouse family into Stanningley Hall.  Despite expansion during the Great War, the later depression led to the mills passing into the control of the Inland Revenue and banks, until creditors could be paid off in full.  Nevertheless, in 1843, after the death of W. C. Gaunt, his son, Alfred Gaunt, secured an arrangement whereby the Gaunt family regained control of the business, which experienced renewed success and expansion for a couple of decades.  However, in 1990 the Gulf War damaged business in the company’s most important export area, without a full recovery, and in 2008, production at Sunny Bank Mills ceased and in time was transferred to Huddersfield.  (See Telegraph and Argus article.)


That, however, was not the end of Edwin Woodhouse’s Sunny Bank Mills (modern postal address: 83-85 Town Street, Pudsey, W. Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ).  A property-letting concern, with two of the above-mentioned Gaunt family as directors, trading under the name of Edwin Woodhouse & Co. Limited (and related company names), started in 2010 a regeneration programme to convert Sunny Bank Mills to provide newly-modernised rentable business space.  (See http://www.sunnybankmills.co.uk/ for photos of Sunny Bank Mills as it is now.)


In July 2012, a Pudsey Civic Society red commemorative plaque was unveiled by former Edwin Woodhouse & Co director David Gaunt at Sunny Bank Mills, the text reading as follows:



1828 – 2008


Founded as

Farsley Club Mill


Trading as Edwin Woodhouse and Co

Became one of the premier worsted

mills in the area.  For nearly 180

years produced some of the finest

worsted cloth in the world






The main contribution to chess of Alderman Edwin Woodhouse JP was that in 1885 he presented to the West Yorkshire Chess Association a large solid-silver cup for the new competition between chess teams representing the towns of Yorkshire’s West Riding, the Edwin Woodhouse Challenge Cup.  After the first season it was thrown open to all Yorkshire chess clubs.  This was won outright by Leeds in 1913, so the alderman donated a second, significantly less ornate solid-silver cup.  This second cup was in turn won outright by Sheffield in 1926, whereupon Leeds re-donated the original cup to the Yorkshire Chess Association, leaving the second cup still in the possession of the Sheffield & District Chess Association.


In later he was a member of Farsley Chess Club.  His involvement in the annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association started in 1884, when he offered to provide the trophy for the new competition, continuing to attend regularly thereafter, though he seems to have missed the 1888 meeting.


He appears to have been a keen player and follower of the game, though of modest playing ability.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated