Little Thatch

by Alex Easton

A history of the chess club, published in the 75th League anniversary issue of the Bristol Chesstimes in 1982.

Until recently, Little Thatch was known as Totterdown Y.M.C.A., one of the oldest chess clubs in Bristol, where organised chess is known to have been established in 1901. On formation of the Bristol and District Chess League, the club soon affiliated but folded soon after. The club was revived in 1919 and continued to take part in League competitions until 1934, when the club had to fold once again due to the departure from the district of a number of its stalwart members. However, the club was revived again in 1952 and has continued to take part in League activities since then.

Membership has always been recruited largely from Knowle and Totterdown, and in 1957 had a playing strength of 21.

Totterdown YMCA has at various times run two teams, depending on the size of the membership, with the A team oscillating between Division 1 and Division 2, and the B team, when in existence, occupying a place in one of the bottom two or three divisions.

Four years ago, the club moved its premises and changed its name to Little Thatch by which it is known today. The A team currently is involved in the Division 1 struggle, while the B team is competing in Division 4. The club appears to have an active membership and is consequently thriving. One of its members from earlier times, Ken Hillier, still occupies the Board 6 spot in the A team.

1997 postscript: in Summer 1983, Little Thatch moved to the "Happy Landings" pub and changed its name to Hengrove. Later, they merged with Whitchurch and moved to the Whitchurch Folk House; the name of the new club being South Bristol. - JR