SHEFFIELD Chess History



Arnold Wistow Jenkinson

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Made in Sheffield




Jun/Jul 1897, Sheffield




24/08/1959, Sheffield




Identity of the Chess Player


An “A. W. Jenkinson” played chess for the GPO and for Woodseats Friends.  When we find Kelly’s directories of the day consistently listing “Jenkinson, Arnold Wiston” as a postman in Sheffield, it is evident the two persons are one and the same.  However, his father’s handwriting on his 1911 census return allows no other interpretation than that a younger child’s first name was “Wistow”, with a final “w” rather than “n”, and our man’s own handwriting on his army enlistment form makes it clear his middle name was “Wistow”.  Some official documents give “Wistow”, though there is a tendency for it to be represented as “Wiston” (as in Kelly’s) or even “Weston”.


Quite how the name “Wistow” got into this Jenkinson family isn’t immediately clear, though there was a Wistow family in Sheffield with which these Jenkinsons were perhaps connected.


Non-Chess Life


Arnold Wistow Jenkinson was born in 1897, in Sheffield, to John Arthur Jenkinson (born 1872/73, Sheffield) and Fanny Jenkinson (nee Arnold, 1871/72, Sheffield).  Thus our man’s first name was in fact his mother’s maiden surname.  The family expanded in time with at least the following three:


Arnold Wistow Jenkinson

born Jun/Jul 1897, Sheffield

Vernon Jenkinson

born 1900/01, Sheffield

Wistow Jenkinson

born 1908/09, Sheffield


The apparent timing of his parents’ marriage suggests Arnold was already on his way at the time, or he was at least two months premature.  His age given on his army enrolment form, and the date thereof, place the date of birth of Arnold Wistow Jenkinson in the range 09/06/1897 to 08/07/1897.


The 1901 census found 3-year-old Arnold W. Jenkinson, his parents, and a boarder called Willie Arnold (presumably a relative of Fanny Jenkinson) living at 17 Holdsworth Street, Sheffield.  Father John was an insurance agent.


The 1911 census found the two parents, three sons, Fanny Jenkinson’s 72-year-old Lincoln-born widowed mother, Annie Jenkinson, and Fanny’s 9-year-old Sheffield-born niece, Jessie Arnold, living at 142 Bramall Lane, Sheffield.  Father John was now a tramway conductor with Sheffield Corporation Tramway.  13-year-old Arnold was still at school but was also worked as a “lather boy” for a barber, perhaps on Saturdays.


Arnold enlisted in the army in Sheffield on 08/12/1915, at which time he was 18 years and 5 months old, unmarried, and resident at 18 Colver Road, Highfields, Sheffield.  Interestingly, he gave his “Trade of Calling” as that of chemist.  Had he perhaps been working for a pharmacist?


Most of the questions addressed to the enlistée on the enlistment paper required a “Yes” or “No” answer.  In Arnold’s case he answered most such questions with an exclamation mark: “Yes!” or “No!”  This somehow seems to suggest an attitude of mind which boded well for his potential as a chess-player.


In what capacity Arnold served in the First Word War is not immediately evident, but he survived, and seems to have kept his exclamation-mark approach to life.


In 1921, in Sheffield, Arnold W. Jenkinson married Grace Watkinson.


Prior to 1922 Arnold had not been evident in the directories, but he was listed in Kelly’s directory of Sheffield & Rotherham, for 1922, as “Jenkinson, Arnold Wiston,” postman, residing at 50 Asline Road, Sheffield, where he continued to be listed annually in the directories for 1923 to 1926.  Asline Road runs between London Road and Bramall Lane, and so was handily placed for catching the bus to Woodseats Friends Chess Club.


A subsequent move of home took him a very short distance away, to 29 Colver Road, Sheffield, where he was listed in Kelly’s from 1928 onwards.  Colver Road then traversed Asline Road, though part of it has now been decommissioned as a road, leaving the remainder in two unjoined parts.


By 1959, Arnold and wife Grace lived at 76 Meadowhead Avenue.




Arnold Wistow Jenkinson died on 24/08/1959, aged 62.




Bill Batley wrote a biographical snapshot of A. W. Jenkinson’s chess career to date, in the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 21/04/1934, on the occasion of his winning the Sheffield & District Works Sports Association chess section’s individual championship in 1934, though he mentioned neither his forenames nor his family origins.


A. W. Jenkinson became prominent in Sheffield chess around 1925 or 1926.  He was the founder and top board of the GPO Chess Club which participated in the league.  He was also a member of Woodseats Friends Chess Club, a manifestation of the original Woodseats Chess Club, becoming its secretary, and remaining so for a number of years up to 1932.  The stimulus he imparted to Woodseats Friends will have contributed to that club winning the Davy Trophy for the six seasons 1927-28 to 1932-33.


Individual successes were as follows:

1925: won S&DCA Class C tournament

1927: won S&DCA Class B tournament

He never won the Sheffield Championship proper (Class A), reaching the semi-final only once.

1927: won S&D Works SA Chess Section Individual Championship

1927: won Sheffield Social Clubs Chess League Individual Championship

1929: won S&D Works SA Chess Section Individual Championship

1929: won Sheffield Social Clubs Chess League Individual Championship

1930: won S&D Works SA Chess Section Individual Championship

1934: won S&D Works SA Chess Section Individual Championship


By 1934 he had won the Woodseats Friends club championship four time, and he won that club’s “openings tournament” for the Crabb Shield in both 1928 and 1932.


He did well also at correspondence chess, winning the British Correspondence Chess Association’s C Divisional Championship in 1930, won its B Divisional Championship in 1931, and won its Silver Rook Knock-out Championship in 1932.


He played for Woodseats Friends up to and including the 1935-36 season, but not thereafter, seemingly.  He played for the GPO in the Works league up to and including the 1936-37 season, but seems after that to have disappeared from the Sheffield chess scene completely.


He seems not to have played for Sheffield in Yorkshire Chess Association team competitions, perhaps because working as a postman didn’t fit in with playing for Sheffield in the Woodhouse Cup or I. M. Brown Shield.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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