Yorkshire Chess News





A Curious “Humberside” Myth


The imminent consideration of admittance of Greater Manchester as a county into membership of the NCCU caused much ill-informed and hence speculative debate around the topic on the English Chess Forum, much by people discussing events which took place (or didn’t) before they themselves were even born!  This sort of thing makes it difficult for casual readers to distinguish between fact and fiction.


Since the admittance of Greater Manchester to the NCCU, on 08/10/2022, the speculative mythologising on the Forum has nevertheless continued, and one can now read of an alleged attempt by Humberside to form its own county association independent of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire back in the last century.  Was that the year of the first British manned moon-landing, when Maggie Thatcher personally planted the Union Flag in the middle of the Sea of Tranquillity?


Confusion may have arisen from something which occurred during the years when the then YCA Secretary for Junior Chess refused for a period to enter Yorkshire teams in the NCCU junior events, because of some historic non-payment by somebody of a sum of money he held had been due in connection with a cost equalisation scheme.  In the context of the YCA Secretary for Junior Chess being a law unto himself, the NCCU contacted the then YCA secretary, the late Dave Milton, who then lived in Hull, inviting him instead to enter a team for 1986-87 from his own more-local area of Yorkshire, in view of the control exercised by the ever-contrary Sec. for Jun. Chess.  The NCCU, apparently, somewhat imprecisely used the geographical label “Humberside”, presumably thinking this “correct” since “East Yorkshire/Riding” was no longer correct local government terminology, and perhaps overlooking that the simple term “Humberside” included territory south of the Humber.  “North Humberside” would have been more appropriate, and “East Yorkshire”, as per Dave Milton’s preferred terminology for his postal address, would have made more sense.  This was nothing to do with anybody trying to set up a Humberside CA!


The post-1974 Humberside County did of course straddle the Humber and combined most of the former East Riding (but for instance losing Filey to the new North Yorkshire) with a significant part of northern Lincolnshire, most importantly, in terms of population numbers, both Scunthorpe and Grimsby which latter of course includes Cleethorpes.  The NCCU was not addressing any existing or planned chess organisation with the name “Humberside”, and was not envisaging Dave Milton raising a team from the whole of Humberside County.  The idea that people in Hull were attempting to launch a Humberside CA would actually be hilariously funny.


As a local government county, Humberside did not sit well with much of its population, something which will have contributed to its abolition (alongside that of Cleveland) on 01/04/1996.  YCA Secretary Dave Milton always quoted his Hull postal address with “Hull, East Yorkshire”, very definitely not “Hull, Humberside”, the latter being the official form of his postal address.  “Hull” as a competitor in YCA competitions means Hull Chess Club, but sometimes both Hull CC and also Hull & District CA as such have competed.  However, even in seasons when Hull & DCA as such was not competing, it did for a while (at least when the writer was YCA secretary) submit an unnecessary annual affiliation fee as a gesture to affirm that Hull & District was in Yorkshire not Humberside!


It is of course possible the idea of a Humberside CA was in fact promoted from south of the Humber, though that seems highly unlikely.  A Humberside CA could hardly make sense without the support of its largest (only!) city, Hull, and I never heard of it as an affected player and organiser at the time.  The main chess-playing locality in the relevant area was Scunthorpe, where the senior organiser was Leeds-born George Henry Simmons (born 06/09/1902, Leeds; died 14/01/1979, Scunthorpe), a former BCF Secretary and organiser of the Scunthorpe Chess Congress, of which the present manifestation bears his name in his memory.  Would a former BCF secretary advocate the break-up of Lincolnshire?  Another prominent organiser was Peter Turner of Bottesford, the father of Matthew Turner who is now a GM living in Scotland.  Would he have advocated the break-up of Lincolnshire?


This Humberside idea seems probable nonsense.



Steve Mann