SHEFFIELD Chess History



Francis Jack Baxter

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16/07/1905, Kettering, Northants.


02/07/1984, Sheffield


Non-Chess Life


Francis Jack Baxter was familiarly known as “Jack” Baxter.  His parents were Francis Freeman Baxter (born 1875, Kettering) and Gertrude Mary Baxter (née Quincey, 16/07/1880, Kettering), who married in 1903 in Kettering, and had at least the following children:


Richard Edward Baxter

born 30/05/1904, Kettering

Francis Jack Baxter

born 16/07/1905, Kettering


Francis Freeman Baxter’s father (David R Baxter, born 1842/43, Easton, Lincs) had been a cabinet maker, who in 1881 was employing 3 men and 2 boys.  Francis Freeman Baxter became a furniture salesman, which was his occupation in 1911 when the census found the family of parents and two boys living at 79 St Peter’s Avenue, Kettering.  Jack Baxter was at this point a 5-year-old schoolboy.


At what point Jack Baxter came to live in Sheffield is unclear.  It is possible he went to Sheffield University, which he would have left in 1926, and stayed on in Sheffield.  He was, however, definitely resident on Sheffield by 1934.


In 1934, Jack married Muriel Turton (born 15/09/1906, Sheffield), in Sheffield.  The couple seem to have had one child:


David E Baxter

born 1938, Sheffield


The newly-weds set up home at 154 Ridgeway Road, Sheffield, where Jack was listed in directories dated from 1935 to 1944 under the name “Fras. J. Baxer”, and recorded as being a schoolteacher.  His place of residence is not readily evident in Sheffield directories prior to 1935.  (Was he in Kettering before that?)


The 1939 Register found the family at 154 Ridgeway Road, with Jack described as an elementary school teacher.


What Jack got up to during the war is not evident, but he was in a reserved occupation, so presumably remained in Sheffield.  Nevertheless, Jack is not evident in the Sheffield directory dated 1944, neither at 154 Ridgeway Road nor at his subsequent address at 9 Vernon Delph, and he doesn’t appear in the alphabetical section.


By 1951 Jack was living at 9 Vernon Delph, Sheffield, where he remained to his death.  He was listed there in directories dated from 1951 onwards.


Father Francis Freeman Baxter died in 1952, in Kettering.  Mother Gertude Mary Baxter died in 1973, in Sheffield, suggesting that at some time from 1952 to 1973 she had come to live with Jack and his wife at Vernon Delph.  Brother Richard Edward Baxter died in 1981 in Bedford.




Francis Jack Baxter died in 1984, in Sheffield.  His wife, Muriel, died in 1987, in Sheffield.




As a player, Jack Baxter was probably never very strong, even by “club chess” standards.


He won the Holroyd Trophy for Class “C” of the Sheffield Championships in 1964.  At this time, and probably to his death, he was a member of the (Sheffield) YMCA Chess Club.


He doubtless held a number of administrative posts in clubs and in the Sheffield & District Chess Association, some before the span of the writer’s memory.


He was S&DCA General Secretary for a period including 1971.  He presumably went on to be S&DCA President, though memory would need reinforcing with written evidence to be sure.


He is believed by some to have been the anonymous donor of the Sheffield Junior League trophy, which sadly has long been unused and lost.





Copyright © 2018 Stephen John Mann

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