Yorkshire Chess History



William James Woolhouse Day











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



11/08/1861, Masbrough, Rotherham


01/09/1861, St. Bede’s Roman Catholic Church, Masbrough


05/04/1929, Rotherham


Moorgate Cemetery, Rotherham


Non-Chess Life


William James Woolhouse Day was one of at least four children born to John Day (born 1842/43, Ireland) and Mary Ann Day (née Woolhouse, 1845, Ecclesfield) who had married in 1860/61, in Rotherham.  The children were:


William James Woolhouse Day

born 11/08/1861, Masbrough

Ann Day

born 1864, Sheffield

Sarah Day

born 1870/71, Masbrough

Frank Day

born 1876/77, Masbrough


The 1871 census found the family of parents and first three children living at 81 Wilton Gardens, Masbrough.  Father John was a roller, presumably at a forge.


It was in 1871 when, at the age of 10, William Day became completely blind, according to the 1911 census notes on disabilities.


At some time from 1871 to 1881, father John Day died.  There was a John Day died in 1871 at Rotherham at the age of 28, but that would not be consistent with Frank being born in 1876/77.


The 1881 census found widowed Mary Ann Day living with William, Ann, Frank and two lodgers at 54 Frederick Street, Rotherham.  Mother Ann was a shopkeeper.  Eldest son William was named in the census as “Walter”; 20-year-old Masbrough-born “Walter J. Day” was specified as being blind, and as being by occupation a basket maker.


The 1891 census found widowed Mary Ann Day as a shopkeeper living William, Annie, Frank and two lodgers at 63 Midland Road.  William was now employed as a basket maker.


William married Clara Simmonite (born 1868, Parkgate, Rotherham) in 1894, in Rotherham.  Clara was herself blind, and yet William and Clara somehow went on to raise a family, consisting of the following.


Maurice Ewert Day

born 1895, Rotherham

Christine Annetta Day

born 1896/97, Rotherham

Lottie Elizabeth Day

born 1897/98, Rotherham


Poll books for 1898 and 1900 found William James Day, presumably our man, at 53 Frederick Street, Rotherham.  This was presumably the above family’s home, as White’s Sheffield & Rotherham 1901 directory listed William’s mother, Mrs. Mary A. Day, as a shopkeeper, still at 63 Midland Road, Masbrough.


The 1901 census found William and Clara, both recorded as blind, with 4-year-old Christine and 3-year-old Lottie, living at 129 Eastwood Lane, Rotherham.  Maurice was not mentioned.  William was now a metal broker; how he did this while blind is unclear.  Poll books record William at this address in 1901, 1902 and 1903.


From 1904 Poll books record William at 154 Nottingham Street, where he lived for the rest of his life.


White’s Sheffield & Rotherham 1905 directory listed William J. Day as a metal broker at 154 Nottingham Street, Rotherham.  A certain Robert White, fruiterer, was listed as residing at 152 Nottingham Street.  As William seems to move into 152 Nottingham Street, and adds being a fruiterer to his business, it seems the William at some time in the next 6 years bought up the fruiter business next door.


Mother Mary A Day died aged 61 in 1907, in Rotherham.


White’s Sheffield & Rotherham 1911 directory listed William J. Day as a metal broker at 152 [sic] Nottingham Street, Rotherham.


The 1911 census found William (married not widowed), and the three children, living at 152 Nottingham Street, making it look as though William maybe lived a 152 and had a yard for his business at 154.  William was now a metal broker and fruit dealer, while Maurice was a brass finisher, Christine was a domestic servant (presumably in a different household) and Lottie was still at school.  Wife Clara was not mentioned.




William James Woolhouse Day died, aged 67, on 05/04/1929, in Rotherham, when resident at Nottingham Street, Rotherham.  He was buried in Moorgate Cemetery.




He played in the 1922 Capablanca simultaneous display in Rotherham, losing, of course.


He played in the 1922 Kostich simultaneous display in Rotherham, securing a draw.


He lost to F D Yates at the latter’s 1928 simultaneous display in Rotherham.





Copyright © 2019 Stephen John Mann

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

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