Thursday, November 29, 2012

Every Picture Tells a Story: Happy Birthday Hereford!

Another blog (number 22) in the series to celebrate an historic anniversary. 

200 years ago today, on the 29th November 1812, a small group of pioneering chessers established the Hereford Chess Club, one of the earliest provincial clubs in the country. So Happy Birthday, Hereford!

To mark this auspicious occasion Thomas Leeming's 1815 painting, which commemorated the event three years earlier, and which has been the subject of our sleuthing over the past couple of years or so, has gone on show again in a special display at the Hereford Museum and Gallery. It is accompanied by explanatory material courtesy of this blog.

Thanks to Sarah Skelton and Catherine Willson
Herefordshire Museum Service for their help creating the display.
Pic MS 
But that is not all.

Not surprisingly the present Hereford Chess Club can't trace an unbroken line back 200 years to 1812, there have been fits and starts along the way. But by co-incidence the present incarnation of the club is exactly 50 years old this year. So, here's a second Happy Birthday, Hereford!

The club is planning a series of events to mark both anniversaries, including an internal club tournament played in the Museum under the watchful gaze of Thomas Leeming and other six founder members.

Roger Aris and Steve Katona warm up (with Leeming's painting in the background)
for the Hereford Chess Club 50th Anniversary Tournament.

Pic HCC  
Streatham and Brixton Chess Blog sends best wishes to Alan, David, Steve, Les, and Roger (and all members of HCC) for their tournament and other events.

Collectors of chess memorabilia are even now beating a path to Hereford in the hope of laying their hands on one of these:

We've been waiting for it for 200 years... 
(And thanks again to the Hereford Museum Service for their indulgence)
Pic MS 
All the best to Hereford Chess Club for its next 50 (or 200) years.

The Leeming series sparked a thread (initiated by Ray Collett of the MCCU) on the English Chess Forum about early chess clubs, which in turn prompted Tim Harding to write an article here which puts the significance of the Hereford picture in context. See also Richard Tillet's recent mini-series on another early, and shortlived, chess club at Brasen Nose College in Oxford.      

1 comment:

Richard James said...

Very interesting again, especially as the family I'm researching (Badby) has several connections by marriage with one branch of the Aris/Ariss/Ayriss family. Perhaps I should contact Roger at some point. There's also John Ariss in Devon, who, I think, was born in the Birmingham area, who posts occasionally on the English Chess Forum.