Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Post Reply
John Townsend
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by John Townsend » Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:36 am

Old Bailey Online briefly records the conviction on 16 August 1847 of Thomas Simmonds "for stealing 1 handkerchief, value 1s; the goods of Henry Edward Bird from his person". The defendant was 18 years old, pleaded guilty, and was confined for three months. (Apologies if this is already known; I didn't spot it from the index of Hans' book or Tim's Eminent Victorian Chess Players).

If the victim was the chessplayer (not certain), can any more information be found in a newspaper report? Failing that, I suppose one would have to resort to looking in the records of the police court where he first appeared, but, at this stage, we don't even know which one.

In the 1841 census, there was a 12-year-old Thomas Simmonds living in Whitechapel, an assistant to his father, a dyer.

Kind regards,

John

Tim Harding
Posts: 1925
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:36 pm

That seems to be a discovery indeed. Bird himself, if he was the victim of the pickpocketing, was only just 18 then.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'Steinitz in London,' British Chess Literature to 1914', 'Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

John Townsend
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by John Townsend » Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:52 pm

I'm glad Tim has mentioned Bird's age, which, as he said, would have been 18. In my book, Historical notes on some chess players, page 11, I suggested that the "H. Bird" who joined the London Chess Club in October 1846 was H.E. Bird. In his Bird biography, Hans says this is wrong, arguing that he was too young, inter alia. Instead, he identifies the member as Bird's father, even though his father was not otherwise known to have played chess. I don't think people joined the London Chess Club one year and gave up chess altogether the next; they were usually committed players, and it seems hard to believe that his father was only ever mentioned once as a chess player. No, it was the son who was the chess player. The rules of the club as of 1829 appear in the club's archives, but I don't think it says anything about a minimum age, and it is hard to see why they couldn't have accepted a 17-year-old if they wanted to. The rules do cover the black-balling procedure and I would have thought that as long as he didn't get two black balls he would have been in, as I believe he was. The London Chess Club was not as exclusive as St. George's, which had an aristocratic element. "H. Bird" did not renew his sub, but perhaps that was because, in practice, he found he was spending much time at the Divan in the Strand instead.

Hans Renette
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:59 pm

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by Hans Renette » Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:38 pm

Hi John,

Nice to read this (possible) addition on H.E. Bird's life. I don't recall if I saw this or not, but if I did I'd probably have mentioned it in my book.
About the H. Bird joining the London C.C.: I don't write that you are wrong, I wrote that 'it seems unlikely' to me. It seems that sources are lacking to make a conclusion as sure as you seem to do. I also think that your argument that H. Bird didn't renew his membership is very conclusive - it even supports the idea that it was the father who joined the club and left it because he had other things on his mind, as I demonstrate in my book. He as well could have continued playing chess at the Divan.
I mention in my book that Bird probably didn't learn chess from his father, which supports your point of view, but it doesn't exclude that he could have played chess, or perhaps learned it a little after his son did.

Hans

John Townsend
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:19 pm

I see the National Archives hold papers in a case, Jackson v. Drew, in the Court of Chancery, 1861, which involved Bird and some of his family (National Archives, C 16/29/I/J17). The parties named (from the catalogue) are: Mary Jackson, Edward Drew, Henry Edward Bird and Edward Daniel Pidding Bird, Maria Louisa Bird and Emily Fanny Stopford Bird, infants, and Henry Bird (abroad), Charles Grey Bird, James Pidding Bird. Again, apologies if this has already received attention. If not, does anyone know the gist of the action?

A Henry Edward Bird was involved in an earlier Chancery case in 1853, Dyer v. Dyer, involving these parties: Frederick Swinnerton Dyer, an infant by Henry Edward Bird, his next friend, John Dyer, Henry Bird and John Clutton (National Archives, C 15/22/D31).

Kind regards,

John

Hans Renette
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:59 pm

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by Hans Renette » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:04 pm

Hi John,

I deal with both cases, as well as with a third - Bird v. Drouet, in my book (p. 55-58).

Hans

John Townsend
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:49 pm

Yes, I'm sorry, I overlooked that. You seem to have gone into the cases in some detail.

Tim Harding
Posts: 1925
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Henry Edward Bird robbed, 1847

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:52 pm

Yes, Hans did a very thorough job there.

I had also spent a morning at Kew reading the Jackson v Drew file when I was researching Eminent Victorian Chess Players and I did refer to the case briefly in that book but it wasn't central to the chapter I was writing.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'Steinitz in London,' British Chess Literature to 1914', 'Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Post Reply