Yorkshire Chess History



J Carr Smith











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


Re: Joseph C.Smith:


1847/48, Woolwich, Kent






Identity of the Chess-Player


“J Carr Smith” or merely “Carr Smith” appears in match records of the 1880s as the name of a member of Sheffield’s Arundel Chess Club.


The identity of “J Carr Smith” is far from clear.  There is the question of whether the surname is “Smith” or “Carr Smith”.  Either way, the usual birth, marriage, death, census and directory sources fail to throw up a “J Carr Smith” anywhere near Sheffield during the relevant period.


The person who most resembles the chess-player is a Joseph C. Smith who was born in Woolwich, Kent, worked as a railway clerk, and lived in Sheffield during the period of J Carr Smith’s chess activity.  Nowhere does there seem to be evidence of what the “C.” stood for.


If that “C.” stood for “Carr”, then we’d have Joseph Carr Smith, known for day-to-day purposes as Joseph C. Smith, but perhaps using “J. Carr Smith” as a nom d’echecs.


Non-Chess Life and Death of Joseph C. Smith

(which may have nothing to do with J. Carr Smith)


The 1861 census found four siblings living together at 48 Fitzroy Terrace, Plumstead, Kent, all born in Woolwich:


Sarah Smith

born 1839/40

John Smith

born 1830/31

Mary Smith

born 1843/44

Joseph Smith

born 1847/48


Sarah was listed as head of the household.  Sarah and Mary were mangle women, John was a labourer, 13-year-old Joseph had no stated occupation.


The 1871 census found 23-year-old Woolwich-born Joseph C. Smith lodging at 11 Bloomsbury Street, Aston, Birmingham.  By occupation he was “Inspector of Rail Comp Sacks”, whatever that meant.  The key point is that he worked on the railways.


The 1881 census found 33-year-old Woolwich-born Joseph C. Smith boarding at 75 Winter Street, Sheffield.  By occupation he was a railway clerk.


By the time of the 1891 census Joseph C. Smith, railway clerk, had married, probably around 1890, though a record of the marriage is hard to trace.  The couple had at least the following two children, both born in Sheffield:


Stella H. Smith

born 1891/92

Charles D. Smith

born 1892/93


The 1891 census found 43-year-old Woolwich-born railway clerk Joseph C. Smith living with his wife, Louise H. Smith (born 1856/57, Sheffield), at 41 Bower Street, Sheffield, as yet with no children.


At some stage from 1891 to 1901, Joseph C. Smith died, though a record of the death is hard to trace.  Accordingly, the 1901 census found widowed Louise H. Smith living with the two children at 205 Crookes Valley Road, Sheffield.  Louise was a millinery shop keeper.  A drapery assistant lived in the Smith household.


Chess life of J. Carr Smith


“Carr Smith” of Arundel Chess Club played on board one for “The Rest” in the 1883 match Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club v. The Rest of the Sheffield & District Chess Association, losing one game and drawing the other.


“Carr Smith” of Sheffield played for Yorkshire in the 1883 Yorkshire-Lancashire match, losing both his games.


“J Carr Smith” of Sheffield played for Yorkshire in the 1884 Lancashire-Yorkshire match, losing both his games.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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