Club History

St Albans Chess Club [1, 2] first met on Thursday 28th March 1878 in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall. The President, Hon Secretary and executive committee were appointed. There were 26 players present.

By the Autumn, the club was meeting regularly on Thursday evenings at the Queens Hotel [3] in Chequer Street. Friendly matches were soon arranged against local clubs. The first against Luton, played at the Queens Hotel on 14th November 1878, was won by Luton (9 - 6). The following month St Albans won the return match (9 - 11).

Below is a list of the club's principal officers.

President Year
H.F. Lindley 1878 - 1907
E. Townson 1907 - 1909
E. A. Cumming 1909 - 1914
E.T.A. Wigram 1914 - 1916
E.J. Fairchild 1916 - 1918
E.R. Mitchell 1918 - 1922
President Year
Sir E.T.A. Wigram Bt 1922 - 1930
E.J. Fairchild 1930 - 1954
W.H.M. Phillips 1954 - 1955
H. Green 1955 - 1974
A.W. Torry 1974 - 1982
J.A. Leake 1982 - 2005
President Year
J. Simmons 2005 - 2011
Dr J.N. Fraser-Mitchell 2011 -

Hon. Secretary Year
G.F. Gibbs 1878 - 1885
J. Rogers 1885 - 1893
F.B. Gibson 1893 - 1897
E.R. Mitchell 1897 - 1912
E.C. Harris 1912 - 1919
W.A. Conway 1919 - 1920
L.F. Allengame 1920 - 1929
G.F. Ramsay 1929 - 1932
F.W. Daniel 1933 - 1943
E.J. Palfrey 1943 - 1945
Hon. Secretary Year
A.W. Torry 1946 - 1974
E.S. Judge 1974 - 1977
J.A. Leake 1977 - 1981
R.R. Claret 1981 - 1984
C.A. Turner 1984 - 1985
P.V. Lattimore 1985 - 1986
C.A. Turner 1986 - 2000
Dr J.N. Fraser-Mitchell 2000 - 2005
Dr I. Gooding 2005 - 2007
Dr M.J. Lexton 2007 - 2010
Hon. Secretary Year
P. Hayward 2010 - 2011
I.K. Cross 2011 - 2016
A.B. Ellis 2016 - 2019
R. Collopy 2019 - 2021
C. Pines 2021 -

Treasurer Year
C.A. Andrews 1977- 1987
A. McMahon 1987 - 2012
S. Narbeth 2012 - 2021
J. Gemmell 2021 -

Congress Organiser Year
P.V. Lattimore 1983 - 1984
R.R. Claret 1984 -

Notes

1. Research of the local newspaper archives held at Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies identified reports in the The Herts Advertiser of the chess club's inaugural meeting (1878) and other events.

2. The oldest minute book still in the club's possession is that for 1931-1986, which includes a summary of the club's activities since 1897.

3. The Queens Hotel (1852-circa 1980), 8 - 10 Chequer Street, closed at the time of the Chequer Street Development and creation of the Maltings shopping centre. The building dates from the 1820's when it opened as the Turf Hotel, see: Talking Buildings - Hidden Histories of St Albans