We are currently trying to gather together the history of the club. I have discovered that over the years the club has played in a number of venues around South Shields. In the 1960s and 70s it was based in the Marine and Tech College, later moving to Mortimer Comprehensive School and currently resides at the New Ship. We have the original notes of the Annual General Meetings showing that the club was reformed in 1944 , my feeling that probably originally started much earlier than that. I also read that the club played a match against against Wuppertal Chess players during their visit to South Shields during a twin town visit , not sure of the Score. I recently uncovered a PHD thesis carried out by John Richard Hind , then of Durham University. It was written in 1997 and is entItled Churches, Chapels and Communities, Comparative Studies 1870 to 1914. It can be read online by following this link but the interesting thing I found was he wrote about a Young Mens Institute formed in 1868 based at St Hilda’s Church in South Shields and that they held a Chess Tournament in 1881, could this be the origins of the South Shields Chess Club? It seems that Draughts was probably a more popular game at the time, because he makes specific mention that the Draughts players were to be given their own room and that from that point on the Reading room was a place of quiet reading only, no draughts spitting or talking was to be allowed in that room.
I then came across this … written by someone and printed in the Daily Telegraph in 1895…
“Men who have attained a high proficiency in Billiards, Chess or Draughts seldom utilize their skill in direction of mere money making. As a rule they exert it for the honour and glory of achieving a victory that is mentally gratifying but materially unprofitable”
If you have any stories, images or anecdotes about the Club please contact us on Chess@southshieldschessclub.co.uk/, any contribution will be greatly appreciated.