SHEFFIELD Chess History



Sheffield Chess Club (2)

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The following notice appeared in the Sheffield & Rotherham Independent of 26/12/1857.


N  E  W     C  H  E  S  S     C  L  U  B.


At a meeting held on TUESDAY last, Mr. EDMD. THOROLD in the chair,

It was Resolved, -

1st. That an independent Chess Club be now established, to be called “THE SHEFFIELD CHESS CLUB.

2nd. That the terms of Membership be – Entrance, 5s. ;
Annual Subscription, 5s.

3rd. That the place and days of Meeting, the General Rules, &c., be left to the decision of a subsequent meeting.


A considerable number of those present put down their names as Members of the new club, and the following Gentlemen will be glad to receive the Names of any Chess Players desirous of joining.

EDMD. THOROLD, Mount Villa.

EDMD. O. GILPIN, King Street.

CHAS. BIRCHALL, East Parade.



The joint signatories were Edmund Thorold, Edmund Octavius Gilpin, and Charles Birchall.


The same notice appeared a number of times in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph in late December 1857 (the first apparently on 24/12/1857), but the Telegraph consistently put “EDWD.” For “EDMD.” throughout.


The new chess club lasted at least into its second season, as the Sheffield & Rotherham Independent of 18/09/1858 reported as follows:


SHEFFIELD CHESS CLUB. – The members of the Sheffield Chess Club have resumed their weekly meetings for play at the Council Hall, Norfolk street, every Tuesday evening.  The president of the club for the year is Thomas Marshall, Esq.; and the honorary secretary, Edmund Thorold Esq..; from either of whom information may be obtained relative to the club, by gentlemen wishing to become members.  The stimulus recently given to chess by the Birmingham meeting, as well as by the visit of the American champion, Mr. Morphy, will serve, it is hoped, to advance the interest of the game throughout the country, and to induce many person to give greater attention to this most intellectual of all recreations.


The Thomas Marshall mentioned was presumably the Thomas Marshall who had been a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club in 1848 and 1849.  It was presumably the same Thomas Marshall who was honorary secretary to the Sheffield Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute Chess Club in September 1849.  He was probably also the Thomas Marshall who was a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club for 25 years or more from 1859 onwards.


The club may have folded after its second season, as co-founders Thorold, Gilpin and Birchall were all members of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club by 1859, and further reference to this chess club are at best elusive.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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