The Corking Spalding Chess Argument Of 1864

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Here's something I came across whilst browsing former newspapers for something precisely different...

From the Lincolnshire Chronicle - Fri xv Jan 1864

(Though, frustratingly, the town where the Mechanics’ Institute referred to inwards the next problem organization human relationship is never explicitly mentioned, the article is component of a larger department of intelligence related to the town of Spalding, Lincolnshire. So I am assuming that this is where it took place. JS)

This is an amusing tale, but maybe also a salutary one, of what tin hand off when chess players to a greater extent than or less accept over a public facility intended for to a greater extent than full general or educational use. Elsewhere inwards the Britain too the earth at large, Mechanics Institutes get got proved a congenial venue for chess playing, notably inwards San Francisco, California, which boasts ane of the oldest chess clubs inwards the world, pre-dating the Spalding intelligence storey past times unopen to 10 years. I believe that the Mechanics' Institute inwards Birmingham, UK, also used to get got a thriving chess gild too may all the same have.

Chess players depicted equally 'spongers': over the years I get got heard many a chess organiser complaining nearly how chess players desire their fun on the cheap, too it would seem that this viewpoint has unopen to historic menses to it. Me? I'm maxim nothing. But bask this costless read...

Hereafter the total text of the intelligence clipping for those who discovery the small-scale impress a combat difficult to brand out...

The Great Chess Controversy.—The large room of the [Spalding] Mechanics’ Institute was crowded on Th eventide [either 7 or xiv Jan 1864] amongst members, it existence the full general annual meeting, too the exciting dependent area of the introduction of chess was to live settled past times vote. Mr. Cartwright was inwards the chair, too several leading inhabitants of the town were present. After the commons routine problem organization had been gone through, Mr. Thos. Sharman said he was an former fellow member of that institution, too worked for it inwards the early on years, too loved it equally an assignation calculated too intended for the role of the humbler members of society, too he strongly objected to their subscriptions existence applied to an entertainment which was non adapted for their institute. He proposed that the game of chess too draughts live discontinued, unless paid for past times those indulging inwards the same. Mr. Barrell seconded, too said nine tenths of those who had indulged inwards this game of chess were good able to pay for their amusement, too he should equally shortly get got idea of their applying for a dorcas ticket [an unfamiliar term to me but I shout back it must get got meant something similar a charitable ticket or costless overstep - JS] equally using the funds of this companionship for their ain gratification. –Mr. Watson; Chess is for those who similar it, but non for those who produce not.—The Rev. Mr. Jones, baptist minister, said he idea chess had its place, but non there. Some mightiness shout back a separate room for religious periodicals desirable. This was non the house for them; they must get got a broad platform, too afford the greatest agency of improvement to the largest number. This was a course of report movement; if carried, it would larn on throughout the county that the political party inwards its favour were “sponging” upon the poorer members' rights, too would gentlemen (using the term ironically) condescend to come across the plebeians. (Confusion.)—Mr. Elstop spoke inwards favour of the game of chess equally an intellectual preparation for the mind, too condemned the musical note of the concluding speaker's remarks. –The Rev. Mr. Jones explained that he was precisely speaking sarcastically, too amongst jocular humour. Mr. Elstop had construed him equally good literally. –Mr. Calthrop spoke inwards a conciliatory manner, too implored the members non to divide, but travail to come across each others’ views.— Mr. Kingston somewhat soothed the troubled waters, too reminded the coming together how much they had magnified this question, too how much it was to live regretted that they could non determine it inwards amend feeling; he feared the exterior earth would express joy at their proceedings. – Mr. Crust too Mr. Donington spoke inwards favour of the proposition. –Mr. Fountain proposed an amendment that chess live continued. —Dr. Ball seconded the amendment.—The votes were taken, when at that topographic point appeared—59 for the amendment, for chess, too 72 for Mr. Sharman’s proposition, against it. The anti-chessmen received this determination amongst tremendous cheering.


Mechanics’ Institute.—Adjourned Meeting —Since the coming together on Th evening, a rigid sail has been made past times the chess too anti-chess members (as they straight off vogue themselves, which names had amend for the practiced of the establishment live discontinued) on behalf of candidates for the shipping service of committeeman. Voting papers were issued on both sides. On Tuesday eventide last, the members met (by adjournment) for the election of officers. The next officers were unanimously too amongst acclamation elected:—Mr. F. A. Cartwright (president), Mr. Stubbs (hon. sec.), Mr. Cunningham (librarian), Mr. Tidswell (auditor), Mr. Wm. Cammack (treasurer), Mr. Spencer too Mr. Atton (assistant librarians). For the vice-presidentship 4 names were proposed, viz.,—Mr. W. Willmott, Mr. Geo. Barrell, Mr. Saml. Kingston, too Mr. Watkinson. The lawsuit of the voting showed that Mr. Kingston too Mr. Willmott were elected. There were hence eighteen parties proposed, out of which viii committee-men were to live elected. The next 7 were elected past times the outset voting paper:– Messrs. Fountain, Ball, Crust, Sharman, Long, Cave, too Squires. The votes existence equal, viz., 51 each, for Messrs. Watson, Woodrow, too Dawson, a minute voting took place, which resulted inwards the election of Mr. Watson.—A vote of thank y'all was given to the president too officers of the past times year, too the coming together terminated.

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