SHEFFIELD Chess History
Thomas William Ward
Thomas William Ward, who gave his name to the large firm of Thos. W. Ward Ltd, and was often referred to familiarly as “Tommy” Ward”, was born in 1853, to Thomas William Ward senior (born 1825/26, Ecclesfield) and Harriet Ward (born 1827, Bradfield/Loxley).
The 1841 census listed a 16-year-old William Ward and 15-year-old William Ward, seemingly brothers, living at Wadsley Bridge, then in Ecclesfield township, both being apprentice forgemen. The first of these looks like Thomas William Ward, senior.
In about 1847, Thomas William Ward (senior) married Harriet. Their eldest son Herbert’s place of birth suggests the couple lived at first in the Ecclesfield or Wadsley Bridge area. The couple had at least the following children:
By 1851, the couple had moved to Sheffield. The 1851 census found 25-year-old Wadsley Bridge-born Thomas William Ward (senior) and his wife, 23-year-old Harriet Ward, and their first child, 2-year-old Herbert, living at “13 ct.” Granville Street, Heeley, Sheffield. The father was a steel forger.
By 1856 the Wards had moved to Bradfield, to the North-West of Sheffied. The 1861 census found the family expanded by the addition of our man, Thomas William Ward (junior), Edwin Ward, and Harriet Octavia Ward. Three apprentice forgemen lived with the family. Their address was now Woodland View, Bradfield.
In 1868, Thomas William Ward, junior, started his working life at the age of 15, seemingly with Moss and Gamble.
The 1871 census found the family further expanded by the addition of Millicent Ward, Joseph Ward, and Arthur John Ward. The children’s paternal grandmother, widowed 70-year-old Sarah Ward (born 1800/01, Bolton-on-Dearne) was now living with the family, but Edwin Ward was not mentioned in the household. Father was now a steel manager, and the family’s address was Wadsley Bridge Steel Works, so presumably accommodation went with the job. An apprentice forgeman and a domestic servant completed the household.
Both Herbert Ward and our man, Thomas William Ward junior, were described in the census as steel forgemen, the son following in the father’s footsteps, apparently still with Moss and Gamble. Harriet, Millicent and Joseph were described as scholars.
Around 1876 Thomas William Ward junior went into business with his father, until the latter’s death, which was registered in the third quarter of 1878.
In 1877 or 1878, at the age of 24 or 25, our man started his own firm as a coal merchant, with his younger brothers Joseph and Arthur. He could have concentrated on building up a coal merchant’s and haulier’s business, but instead set about building up a diversified group of concerns.
The 1881 census found the widowed Harriet Ward still with all her surviving children, except Herbert, still living with her at Hillsborough, a little further into Sheffield from Wadsley Bridge. Thomas William Ward junior, the oldest son still living at home, was described as a coal and railway wagon agent. Oldest sister Harriet Octavia Ward was an assistant mistress at a secondary school, Joseph was a coal office clerk (perhaps working with Thomas William), while Arthur John was a scholar. Millicent and Ada had no specified occupation.
One of the first businesses our man added to the portfolio, in 1881, was one which made horn and ivory handles for the local cutlery industry. This was not where the big money lay.
Later in 1881, he made a more important step by moving into the scrap metal business. This was at a time when the demand for steel was increasing, so scrap metal was a growing business.
Scrap often requires somebody to demolish or break up the source of the scrap. There’s business sense in doing that yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it and so increasing the cost of the scrap. So, in 1885, he branched out into factory demolition, then in 1887 into machinery break-up.
His marriage to Mary Sophia Bassett in 1890/91 was registered in the first quarter of 1891. Mary Sophia Bassett was eldest daughter of Joseph Bassett, a wholesale outfitter born 1828/29 at Ashover, Derbyshire, and Eliza Bassett, born 1833/34, at Grantham, Lincolnshire. The Bassetts were recorded in the 1871 census as living at 95 Park Bank, Sheffield. The 1881 census recorded them at 95 Norfolk Road, which was in fact the same address. (Retired miller James Crossland similarly was recorded next door at 97 Park Bank, then 97 Norfolk Road.)
The couple had at least the following children:
The 1891 census found the newly-weds living at “The Grove”, Millhouses Lane, Sheffield. Our man was described as a coke and iron merchant.
In 1894 he entered into ship-breaking, for scrap and to some extent recycling more generally.
The 1901 census found our man and his wife living at 36 Millhouses Lane, Sheffield. This was possibly “The Grove”. The household included 7-year-old Ethel M. B. Ward, 5-year-old Gertrude M. Ward, and two domestic servants. 4-year-old Alan Bassett Ward and 1-year-old Frank J. Ward were at this time with their 73-year-old widowed grandmother Harriet Ward, and 42-year-old spinster aunt Harriet Octavia Ward, at 79 Glencoe Road, Sheffield. Our man was now described as an iron and machinery merchant.
He was a member of Sheffield’s Chamber of Commerce. In 1909 he went as a delegate to the Empire Congress of Chambers of Commerce in Australia.
The 1911 census found our man at what proved to be his final residence, Endcliffe Vale Road, Sheffield. His wife, and sons Alan and Frank were living with him, along with four servants. He was described as an iron and steel merchant and manufacturer. Daughters Ethel and Gertrude weren’t included, though Gertrude was still alive, as she attended her father’s funeral, and there was a married daughter at the funeral also.
On 7th February 1912, Tommy Ward was elected president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. He was at this time a Junior Warden of the Sheffield Cutlers’ Company. He was then elected for a second term as Sheffield Chamber of Commerce president. While he was SCC president he was made a Justice of the Peace. Then, on 20th October 1913, by a unanimous vote, he was elected Sheffield’s Master Cutler, a position regarded by many as more prestigious than that of Lord Mayor.
Older daughter, Ethel, got married in 1916 to Henry B. Gallimore.
The First World War benefited many companies which happened to be in the right business at the right time, and Ward’s became important to the war effort supplying scrap metal to the steel makers. The eldest Ward son, P/T Leonard Ward, joined up as a private, rising to the rank of captain in September 1917.
No potted history of T W Ward’s is complete without mention of Ward’s most famous and best-loved employee, Lizzie. During the First World War, horses were requisitioned for the war effort. Also, circuses were mothballed, and the animals disposed of as best they could be. These two circumstances resulted in Lizzie the circus elephant being taken on by Tommy Ward’s in 1916 as a draught animal, becoming a familiar sight in Sheffield’s streets until her retirement, which is said to have been caused by cobbles in the streets damaging her feet.
In May 1919, when the King and Queen visited Sheffield, he was presented to their majesties.
His two hobbies were chess and golf.
Tommy Ward died on 03/02/1926. His death was announced, with an obituary, in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star of the evening of Wednesday 03/02/1926, on page 2. An account of the funeral (cremation) service appeared on page 8 of the Y.T. & S. of 06/02/1926. He had been a Wesleyan by religious persuasion, and his funeral service was held at the Wesley Church, Fulwood Road, Sheffield. His cremated remains were buried in a private ceremony in Crookes Cemetery on 08/02/1926. (Click here for images of the grave.)
Thos. W. Ward Ltd continued its success after its founder’s death. It got involved in even more diverse activities: quarrying, cement (Ketton Portland Cement Co. Ltd, 1928), cars (Triumph, 1939).
The Thos. Ward Group was bought by Rio Tinto Zinc.
Older daughter Ethel’s husband, Henry B Gallimore, presumably died (perhaps in WWI), as, in 1937, she married Gerald Graham Haythornthwaite (b. 24/07/1912, d. 04/01/1995). Ethel died on 11/04/1986. Both Ethel and her second husband were interred in the Ward grave at Crookes Cemetery.
Younger daughter, Gertrude, remained unmarried, died on 04/08/1989, and was also interred in the Ward grave at Crookes.
As a player, Tommy Ward seems not to have been particularly prominent.
At some time from 1913 to 1916, Tommy Ward became a vice-president of the Sheffield Chess Club, which at the time ran the affairs of the Sheffield & District Chess Association. This was at a time when Col. T. E. Vickers, another notable Sheffield industrialist, was president. It was probably round about this time that Tommy Ward presented the T. W. Ward trophy as trophy for the Sheffield individual championship.
Copyright © 2012, 2014 Stephen John Mann