The story so far. A few months ago, the South Shields Historical Society received a donation of documents regarding the Davidson family of South Eldon Street, mostly from WW1 onwards.
However, in amongst family photographs and postcards from the 20th century there is an older photograph of chess players from what appears to be the Victorian era. At recent informal meetings members have been trying to determine if the photograph below is South Shields Chess Club, when it was taken and ultimately identify the members.
South Shields Chess Club had its opening night on 1st October 1866, at the club’s room in the Mechanics Institute, which would eventually become the town’s library and museum. Its President was none other than Alderman John Williamson, twice Mayor of South Shields.
The archive of the Shields Gazette reveals that the club’s Treasurer was John Scott and his brothers Alex Scott and Councillor William Scott are also members. Another brother George Scott (not a member of the club) becomes Mayor of South Shields in 1887.
All four of them were sons of the South Shields marine artist John Scott. Finally, the club’s secretary Thomas Kell was their brother-in-law, since he married their sister Eleanor Scott.
Members of our group are of the opinion that there are a number of siblings present, so could some of the chess players be from the Scott family?
There is more of this story to follow .
Grateful thanks to Jim Mulholland and the members of the South Shields History Group for allowing us to recount this story .